The Dallas Cowboys only had one vacancy on their coaching staff when Bill Callahan left the team to join the Washington crew and Frank Pollack was promoted to take his place as offensive line coach. Instead of making one hire, the Cowboys brought in Steve Loney to be an assistant to Pollack and also kept Marc Colombo, former Cowboys offensive lineman for the team who had been working with the scouting staff, to also work under Pollack.
With most of the league having assembled their staffs by now (the Pittsburgh Steelers still have one vacancy to fill), ESPN put up a list this week of how many coaches compose all 32 of the NFL's staffs (based on each team's website info at the time the article was published). It was interesting to look at from a Cowboys perspective, since one of the beliefs here at BTB is that Jerry Jones, forced to comply with the salary cap in paying for his roster, is willing to spend more on his coaches to try and gain an advantage.
The list shows a few things that surprise. First off, Dallas is not at the top of the list, but closer to the middle of the pack. It actually ties for eleventh with the Arizona Cardinals, the Kansas City Chiefs, and the Tennessee Titans. All have a total of 21 coaches.
Since the thought is that having more coaches should be a way to improve the team by maximizing the performance of the players, logic would make you think that one of the best teams would be at the top of the list. The largest coaching staff in the NFL has 25 members. It belongs to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
So much for logic. The number of coaches seems to have little correlation with team success. The Seattle Seahawks have 23 coaches, but the New England Patriots make do with only 16, the second fewest. The Steelers bring up the rear, and will only have 15 when they fill that final vacancy.
The takeaway here is that numbers are far less important than quality, which should not really surprise anyone. The Cowboys have assembled a staff that, based on the results last season, has a good bit of the latter. Jason Garrett gets a great deal of credit for this since the hiring of Scott Linehan is seen as his move, as well as the demotion and eventual departure of Callahan. The retention of basically everyone else is a sign of the confidence Garrett and Jones have in the staff, and hopefully they are right. As far as how many coaches is the right number, it appears it is pretty much just whatever works for the team - and obviously a lot of teams are still trying to figure out a good number. Or at least they are still trying to find the right ones.
It is not exactly earth shaking information, but it does reinforce the impression that the process is working well in Dallas. That is the bet the Cowboys are making with the continuity they have established.