In this series, we look at the top 5 questions that are up in the air about the Cowboys offseason. Previously, at #5, we wondered how the Cowboys would navigate free agency and the lack of clarity due to the collective bargaining mess. Then we looked at Tony Romo's return from injury. Now, we discuss the new coaching additions.
3 - How different are things going to be when the new position coaches get their hands on the troops?
Today, the Dallas Cowboys will introduce their coaching staff. Just in the past weeks, we replaced Joe Jurasek with Mike Woicik, Paul Pasqualoni with Brian Baker (as defensive line coach) and Ray Sherman with Jimmy Robinson. Robinson is also Jason Garrett's right hand man, being named assistant head coach. Rob Ryan is now in charge of the defense (taking over the other part of Wade Phillips/Paul Pasqualoni duties from 2011), with Matt Eberflus in charge of the LBs, and Ben Bloom tasked with defensive game tapes and opponent scouting.
John Garrett is now in charge of the passing game as well as the tight end position. We don't yet know if Dave Campo will be replaced, or if Hudson Houck will get an understudy, though this report by David Moore says that Wes Phillips will have increased duties in that area.
Now, I'm an optimist, so my hope in this new blood providing the blueprint for a more successful season is a given. My question is more about the nuts and bolts of it- how will they effect this change?
A lot has been spoken about Rob Ryan's aggressive style, and that Brian Baker is cut from the same cloth. That's a big departure from Wade Phillips' methods. We'll see how well some of these defensive players react to a spirited motivator, some of them have been here since Parcells, so they'll recognize some of the traits. But how will some of the four-year or less players deal with it, when all they've known is Camp Cupcake?
Will all the accolades that Ryan has given Eberflus, what can he do with Sean Lee's awesome set of instincts? Will he be able to take Bradie James, at this stage of his career, from quality starter to Pro Bowl level? Can it be possible to teach DeMarcus Ware new tricks? Can he finally get Anthony Spencer to turn the corner, or will he find the way to prolong Victor Butler's great bursts of talent?
What about Woicik, how does he demand performance in the weight room that differs from Joe Jurasek? O.C.C. linked us to this great piece on the impact Woicik has had. However, I wonder if his methods will work with this bunch of guys that we have on the roster. The strength and conditioning coach has a lot to do with the preparation that goes into the season and the individual games. Therefore, he must be able to interact with all sorts of personalities.
There is talk that Woicik's approach didn't sit well with some players. Sometimes that can be a good thing, and sometimes it can't. Here's hoping his talents won't be wasted by any players unappreciative of his body of work.
What will Jimmy Robinson be able to do with Dez Bryant's immense talents? You'd have to think that the hire of a wide receivers coach was done specifically with Dez in mind. Robinson's track record, listed here on Wikipedia, reads very impressively. You kind of wonder why he hasn't been given the opportunity to climb the coaching ladder any higher than position coach. One thing I noticed, he had some petulant wide receivers on that roll call. Not saying we have any on this team, but that is a very good skill to be able to corral a wild spirit and get them to maximize their potential.