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Which Cowboys Assistant Coaches Could Leave For A Coordinator Position In 2016?

When an NFL team is successful, other teams quickly try to find out why and how - and then try to emulate that success by hiring away a successful team's assistant coaches. Could that happen to the Cowboys after this season?

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports recently ranked Rod Marinelli as the No. 1 defensive coordinator in the league, calling his work with the Cowboys last year "one of the best coaching jobs in recent history." And Scott Linehan came in at No. 5 in the ranking of offensive coordinators after leading the Cowboys to their second highest scoring total in franchise history.

The Dallas Cowboys are very happy with their current pair of offensive and defensive coordinators. So happy that they signed both Rod Marinelli and Scott Linehan to three-year deals at the beginning of the year, thereby securing two of the top coordinators in the league. Add special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, and the Cowboys look to be set at the coordinator positions for a while.

But with stability at the coordinator positions comes a conundrum: If you can't promote your best assistant coaches to a coordinator position, they are bound to be picked up by other teams.

In principle, the rules for NFL teams allowing their assistant coaches to talk to other teams about jobs are pretty simple. A team can block a coach from interviewing with another team for any position other than head coach, and that includes assistant coaches interviewing for a coordinator position.

Early in 2014, the Cowboys turned down the Cleveland Browns' request to interview Bill Callahan, the Cowboys' offensive coordinator/offensive line coach. Callahan called plays in 2013 but relinquished playcalling duties to Scott Linehan in 2014 and left for Washington when his contract expired after the 2014 season.

In general though, teams usually let a position coach interview for a coordinator position. Teams that regularly block their assistant coaches from accepting promotions with other teams may eventually have difficulty finding good assistants.

Would the Cowboys block one of their assistant coaches from accepting a coordinator position with another team?

Matt Eberflus is entering his fifth year as the linebackers coach for the Cowboys. Eberflus may have had his most impressive year as a coach in 2014 when he lost Sean Lee in OTAs, lost DeVonte Holloman in preseason, and lost weakside linebacker Justin Durant to an injury after Week 8 - but delivered a strong linebacker performance anyway. Eberflus is credited with making the twice-retired Rolando McClain a formidable force in the middle of the defense and molding rookie linebacker Anthony Hitchens into an NFL starter. With the return of Sean Lee, another draft pick, targeted free agent acquisitions, and maybe another good year out of McClain, Eberflus could easily find himself on another team's coaching radar.

Jerome Henderson, like Eberflus, made the switch from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense in Dallas. Now entering his fourth season as the secondary coach, his unit struggled early with the scheme switch and with injuries, before finally turning things around in 2014. The Cowboys added talent, height, and versatility to their secondary, and a strong showing by the secondary could make Henderson attractive to other teams.

Joe Baker is in his third year as the assitant secondary/safeties coach. He has 19 years experience as an NFL coach, but his best chance at a promotion may come if and when Jerome Henderson leaves.

Leon Lett (defensive tackles) and Ben Bloom (defensive ends) share responsibility for the defensive line and will not get any offers for a coordinator job next year, but either of them could be promoted to defensive line coach at some point.

Derek Dooley is entering his third season as the wide receivers coach. He has been coaching since 1997, has spent six years as a college head coach and has prior NFL experience as the TE coach in Miami (2005-06). His success with the wide receiver corps in Dallas, along with his previous coaching experience might him an interesting candidate for some teams.

Wade Wilson made his coaching debut with the Cowboys in 2000 after 19 years as an NFL quarterback. He's been the QB coach in Dallas in 11 of the subsequent years, with a three-year stint in Chicago from 2004-06. His name is inextricably linked to Tony Romo, but I don't get the feeling he'll be on a lot of OC shortlists this year.

Gary Brown is the running backs coach, and has been with the Cowboys since 2013 after previously coaching the Cleveland running backs for four years. Brown coached DeMarco Murray to two successive 1,000+ yard seasons (and a league rushing title), after the Cowboys had last had a 1,000-yard runner in 2006. If he can produce with what many are calling the worst running back corps in the league in 2015, his stock should should skyrocket.

Mike Pope has coached for 45 years, 32 of which were in the NFL and 31 with tight ends. This late in his career, he won't get any OC offers.

Frank Pollack was just promoted to offensive line coach this year, and while he's done a tremendous job with the O-line, it's unlikely he'll get any calls for an OC position. Similarly, offensive assistants Marc Colombo, Kevin Carberry, and Kyle Valero could look at eventual promotions within the Cowboys organization, but they won't get an OC job in the NFL next year.

Over to you: Which assistant coach do you think is most likely to be hired away to a coordinator position in 2016? Let us know your opinion in the poll or in the comments section below.

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