Cowboys' Coaching Staff Has Garrett's Fingerprints All Over It

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Contrary to some of the headlines making the rounds in the past month or so, the Cowboys coaching staff looks to have Jason Garrett's fingerprints all over it. Ten assistants have a connection to Garrett dating back to before he joined the Cowboys as offensive coordinator, and a new RB coach could make it eleven.

Much virtual ink has been spilled and much hot air has been released in the last couple of weeks about the changes the Cowboys' coaching staff has undergone this offseason. There was wide-spread speculation about how the staff was being put together for Jon Gruden to take over the head coaching job next season. There was a pervasive meme about how Jerry Jones was calling the shots on all the coaching changes and how Jason Garrett had been neutered. In fact, for those of us who like to wear tin foil hats, January was a very rewarding month, made even more rewarding by the ineptitude of the Cowboys PR department to manage any kind of information leaking (better: hemorrhaging) out of Valley Ranch.

Be that as it may, today the only position on the Cowboys' coaching staff left to fill is that of the running backs coach, which gives us an opportunity to take a closer look at what the coaching staff looks like today. The table shows all the members of Jason Garrett's coaching staff and is taken straight from the mothership, with only Jimmy Robinson and Leon Lett added.

Offensive Coaches Defensive Coaches Specialty Coaches
Bill Callahan
Offensive Coord./Offensive Line
Monte Kiffin
Defensive Coordinator
Rich Bisaccia
Special Teams Coordinator
Wade Wilson
Quarterbacks
Rod Marinelli
Defensive Line
Mike Woicik
Strength and Conditioning
Derek Dooley
Wide Receivers
Matt Eberflus
Linebackers
Chris Boniol
Assistant Special Teams/ Kickers
TBD
Running Backs
Jerome Henderson
Secondary
Brett Bech
Asst. Strength and Conditioning
Wes Phillips
Tight Ends
Leon Lett
Assistant Defensive Line
Frank Pollack
Assistant Offensive Line
Ben Bloom
Quality Control/Linebackers
Jimmy Robinson
Consultant
Keith O'Quinn
Off. Quality Control/Wide Receivers
Joe Baker
Assistant Secondary

This coaching staff did not come cheap, as Jerry Jones explained:

"This was a change of commitment," Jones said. "We had to honor the commitments we had in coaches, all of that ultimately ended up, frankly, being pretty expensive. But at the cost of, or the sacrifice, of not being able to improve, that was trite, in my mind."

What is not immediately obvious from the table above are the connections Garrett has with many of these assistants. Two days ago I had a Twitter exchange involving Mike Fisher, Tom Ryle and a guy calling himself Spinks Edward about the number of connections Garrett has with his coaching staff. Turns out, it's a lot. Here's a detailed list of the current assistants Garrett played with, played for or coached with prior to joining the Cowboys as offensive coordinator in 2007:

Jason Garrett Career Stops
Coaches Players
1987-1988
Princeton
Joe Baker (87-88)
1993-1999
Dallas Cowboys
Mike Woicik (93-96)
Wade Wilson (95-97)
Leon Lett (93-99)
Chris Boniol (93-96)
2000-2003
New York Giants
Jimmy Robinson (00-03)

2004
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Monte Kiffin (04)
Rod Marinelli (04)
Rich Bisaccia (04)

2005-2006
Miami Dolphins (QB coach)
Derek Dooley (05-06)

In summary, of the 19 assistants on the Cowboys' coaching staff, ten have a previous connection to Garrett dating back to before Garrett joined the Cowboys as offensive coordinator. Four of these were players Garrett played with; six were on staff at one of Garrett's pre-2007 NFL teams. This staff has Garrett's fingerprints all over it. Funny what a little bit of research can do to some storylines.

And those numbers could increase further. Word around Valley Ranch is that the Cowboys are looking for a running backs coach in the college ranks, and were waiting for the recruiting season to end (National Signing Day was Wednesday this week) before finalizing a contract with their candidate. Here are some of the names out there:

  • Bobby Williams, TE/ST Coach, Alabama: Mike Fisher throws Bobby Williams' name into the ring as a potential RB coach for the Cowboys. Garrett knows Williams well, as Williams was the RB coach in Miami when Garrett was the QB coach there. Like Garrett and WR coach Dooley, Williams is from the Nick Saban coaching tree. Williams would also be the fifth assistant coach (After Callahan, Marinelli, Dooley and Kiffin) with previous head coaching experience.

  • Randy Jordan, RB Coach, North Carolina: No direct connection to Garrett for Jordan, but he has a strong link to Bill Callahan, for whom he played as a running back in Oakland and coached the RB position in Nebraska later on.
  • Burton Burns, RB Coach, Alabama: Again, no direct link to Garrett, but Burns comes from the same Saban coaching tree that Garrett is from. It also doesn't hurt that he is regarded as one of the best RB coaches in college football.

Regardless of who ends up taking the job as RB coach for the Cowboys, overall this is a staff that looks to have been hand-picked by Garrett. And as BTB-member 5Blings remarked the other day, "If you want RKG’s (Right Kind of Guys), they need to be developed by the Right Kind of Coaches (RKC's)."

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