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Cowboys news: Potential additions to the Cowboys defensive coaching staff

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NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Potential defensive assistants, Smith and Durde, interviewed by Dallas - Asa Henry, CowboysWire

Who will be the names to round out Mike McCarthy’s coaching troupe?

The Dallas Cowboys hired Dan Quinn to be their defensive coordinator, and Joe Whitt Jr. as a defensive backs coach earlier this week, but it appears the club isn’t done adding coaching help on the defensive side of the ball. Dallas interviewed two people for roles in 2021. Ed Werder announced that Giff Smith was in contact with the club and according to a report by Brianna Dix of D210 Sports, Aden Durde was also in the running for a potential role under Quinn.

Smith could be in line for the defensive line coaching role as a potential replacement for Jim Tomsula, who was let go after one season, just as defensive coordinator Mike Nolan was.

The Georgia Southern graduate has been coaching football since the early 1990’s, and has been a defensive line coach in the NFL for a decade now. Smith began his professional career on the Buffalo Bills staff in 2010, where he spent three seasons. Smith would then go on to the same role with the Titans for two years, then his most recent stop, the Chargers, where he oversaw their defensive front from 2016 until the end of this season.

Dallas Cowboys Complete 7-round Mock Draft: Fixing the trenches - Reid Hanson, SportDfw.com

Line play is a central focus according to this mock draft:

Dallas’ interior defensive line was arguably the worst in football. Some of that was due to injury but most of it was just the result of bad players.

On offense, they suffered injuries to both starting tackles La’el Collins and Tyron Smith, and inside to Joe Looney, Tyler Biadasz, and Zack Martin. Questions about the long-term reliability of Smith and Collins are circulating, making OT a legitimate early need and overall depth.

Additionally, Dan Quinn, a defensive line specialist, has joined the coaching staff as the new defensive coordinator. He’s going to put some added weight on the importance of winning the line of scrimmage. Since his defense rarely blitzes and generally relied on pressure created from the front-4, good players will be needed.

Dallas focuses their attention on the big boys in this Dallas Cowboys 7-round mock draft

In this scenario, the Dallas Cowboys trade back significantly. Pittsburgh moves up to fix their long-term QB issue and draft either Trey Lance (if he falls) or Mac Jones (who won’t make it to them at 24). In return for the 10th pick, Dallas gets pick 24, a second and third rounder this season and a 2022 second rounder. It’s not a king’s ransom but it’s good value and allows Dallas to fill a few extra holes with an additional two top-100 picks.

Dallas Cowboys Can’t Afford to Miss on Free Agents Again in 2021 - John Williams, Inside the Star

Free agency is just as important as the draft.

Last year, the Cowboys found value deals on players like Gerald McCoy, Dontari Poe, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Cam Erving, Blake Bell, and Maurice Canady. Unfortunately, the collective impact of that group of players was next to nothing. McCoy (injury), Clinton-Dix (released), and Canady (opt-out) never played a snap for the Cowboys. Poe played but was so underwhelming the Cowboys were willing to part ways with him midway through the season. Erving was arguably the best free-agent signing for the Cowboys, but his injury situation limited him to just six games in 2020.

The Cowboys have an offense that is ready to contend with the best teams in the NFL if they’re fortunate on the injury front this season. However, that is a big if. If there were an offseason to be a little more aggressive, this would be it.

The defense needs some help at defensive tackle, cornerback, and safety. While they can certainly address some of those issues in the draft, they need to get aggressive at one or two of them to make sure they land a guy that can be a game-changer this year. Development happens, but the Cowboys’ window for contention is right now, so they can’t waste years waiting on players to develop at every position.

Former Cowboys Head Coach ‘Ready And Available’ to Return in 2021 - Zack Kelberman, The Heavy

A familiar face wants to relive his glory days:

Some coaches are better cut out to be No. 2s rather than head men, and Phillips falls into this category. He went 34-22 as Dallas’ HC from 2007-2010, winning just one playoff game, and 16-16 as Denver’s HC from 1993-94. His other stints, including brief interim HC gigs, similarly resulted in little postseason success — a career 1-5 record across 12 years.

The days of Phillips leading a club passed him by a while ago, but he’s forgotten more football than most people, including current NFL coaches, will ever learn. He could absolutely serve an organization well in a potential advisory or senior assistant role.

Perhaps old friend Jerry Jones will explore a reunion as the Cowboys retool their defensive staff under new coordinator Dan Quinn.

Dallas Cowboys: Randy Gregory predicted to play LEO role - Steven Mullenax, The Landry Hat

New coaches will bring new positions for certain players:

According to the Boston Globe, the LEO position is a tweener, hybrid position landing somewhere between a defensive end and a linebacker. Hence the “L” for “linebacker” and “E” for “end” in the name.

Playing the LEO role in Quinn’s scheme would have Gregory lining up as the weakside edge in what some call an Elephant front in the 4-3. Either standing up or with his hand on the ground, his responsibility is to come screaming off that edge, literally wreaking havoc in the backfield, and, of course, primarily rushing the passer.

Quinn comes to Dallas to revamp a defense that started showing signs of life at the end of last year. The Cowboys were historically bad through their first 12 games of the 2020 regular season as they forced just 11 total turnovers in that span and allowed an average of 32.7 points per game to opposing offenses.

But over their final four games of the regular season, the Cowboys’ defense would finally show improvement. They’d win three of those four contests and force a total of 12 turnovers while limiting their opponents to an average of only 20.0 points per game.

A closer look at Kellen Moore’s 3-year rise from retired QB to NFL head coaching candidate David Moore, DMN

Hopefully Moore will be staying in Dallas for 2021.

Philadelphia has called the Cowboys to request an interview with Moore for its head coaching vacancy, a source said. Their interest comes weeks after Boise State made a run at the quarterback who forged a 50-3 record during his time at the university.

Establishing Moore as a favorite for the Eagles job is a stretch. But it’s also insulting to dismiss him as a target of corporate espionage, an unwitting victim that Philadelphia will summarily send on his way once it picks his brain for some insight into a division rival.

The Eagles are interested in Moore for the same reason the Cowboys hold him in such high regard. Philadelphia is intrigued by what the young coordinator has to offer the way Mike McCarthy was when he took over for Garrett 13 months ago.

Moore has done more than forge a strong relationship with his starting quarterback. Dak Prescott has evolved noticeably under Moore’s guidance.

Philadelphia is searching for that expertise at the moment, whether it’s helping Carson Wentz recapture his promising career or putting Jalen Hurts in position to have one.

That’s why Moore is on Philadelphia’s list. That’s why he’ll interview for a head coaching job in the NFL six months before he turns 33.

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