According to Steve Reed of the Gaston Gazette, newly named University of North Carolina defensive line coach Brian Baker may have an offer to join the Dallas Cowboys in the same capacity. Baker has only been on the job in Chapel Hill for a month, and is reportedly returning to Carolina to mull things over with his wife.
Sources said the Cowboys first made contact with Baker shortly after his contract expired with the Panthers. Baker called the Panthers out of respect, saying he was considering interviewing with the Cowboys. At that point the Panthers got into the mix, trying to convice Baker to return to join new head coach Ron Rivera’s staff, and some within the organization felt like he would come back in the same capacity.
There's a couple things missing from the article that I'd like to see, like a direct quote from Baker saying that he received an offer, but this smells like it might be good insider knowledge. FWIW, Gaston is a small town about two hours outside Chapel Hill, population under 1,000.
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I've pulled some information on him from an article written by TarheelBlue.cstv.com
A native of Baltimore, Md., Baker played linebacker at Maryland in the early 1980s and coached 11 seasons in the Atlantic Coast Conference at Maryland and Georgia Tech. Baker returns to the college game after spending the last 15 seasons in the NFL with stints at San Diego, Detroit, Minnesota, St. Louis and Carolina.
Baker's enthusiastic and animated style of coaching made an immediate impact during his two seasons with the Panthers in 2009 and 2010. In 2010, Baker coached defensive end Charles Johnson to his best season as a pro. Johnson produced 11.5 sacks, which ranked seventh overall in the NFL and was one more than he had accumulated in his previous three seasons combined. The defensive line accounted for 23.5 of the Panthers' 31 sacks.
The Panthers have yet to remove his bio from their official team page.
Linebacker Maryland 1981-83. College coach: Maryland 1984-85, Army 1986, Georgia Tech 1987-95. Pro coach: San Diego Chargers 1996, Detroit Lions 1997-2000, Minnesota Vikings 2001-05, St. Louis Rams 2006-08, joined Panthers in 2009.
Prior to joining St. Louis, Baker spent five years with the Minnesota Vikings, serving as defensive line coach in 2001 and 2004-05 and linebackers coach from 2002-03. He was instrumental in the development of defensive tackle Kevin Williams, who made the Pro Bowl and earned Associated Press All-Pro honors in 2004. That season, Williams led all NFL defensive tackles with 11.5 sacks and teamed with defensive end Lance Johnstone to give the Vikings the third-most prolific sack tandem in the league with 22.5.
From 1997-2000, Baker tutored the defensive line of the Detroit Lions. Under his direction those four years, the Lions defensive line tallied 120.5 sacks, and two defensive linemen were selected to the Pro Bowl: defensive end Robert Porcher in 1997 and 1999 and defensive tackle Luther Elliss in 1999 and 2000. Baker’s 1998 and 1999 units finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the league in sacks per pass play, and in 1999 Porcher recorded 15 sacks, the fourth-highest total in team history.
Carolina finished in the middle of the pack for the last few seasons under most analysis. One could argue that's a remarkable feat considering the anemic offense it was paired with every Sunday. AdvancedNFLStats.com rated Carolina dead last in offensive passing efficiency, but 15th on the defensive side for 2010. ProFootballFocus.com ranked Carolina 20th overall in defense in 2009, and 19th this year. This past season they were 18th in total yards allowed, despite being tied for 2nd in giveaways with 37. Obviously the defensive line isn't solely responsible for these rankings, but it does bear noting.
So have at it Cowboys Kingdom, what are your thoughts on the potential hire?