FRISCO, Texas — For much of the past few weeks, Mike McCarthy’s coaching staff has been in the get-to-know-you stage, introducing ideas on both sides of the ball that will ultimately define what the Dallas Cowboys will look like in 2020.
“Coach McCarthy had a motto going back to Green Bay: Conflict is good,” linebackers coach Scott McCurley said. “You’re going to have different people with different people and that’s great. But you get your opinion put out there, you work through it, and at the end of the day, we’re going to find a solution that, hey, it may not be the best for everybody, but that’s what we bought into and we’re going forward.”
McCarthy’s staff includes those with ties to his Packers days, such as McCurley, offensive line coach Joe Philbin, assistant head coach Rob Davis, defensive backs coach Al Harris, assistant offensive line coach Jeff Blasko and coaching assistant Scott Tolzien. McCarthy was Mike Nolan’s offensive coordinator when Nolan was head coach in San Francisco. McCarthy has Pittsburgh ties (the city and school) with defensive line coach Jim Tomsula and running backs coach Skip Peete.
And McCarthy has coaches with no direct ties to him, such as Jason Garrett holdovers Kellen Moore, Doug Nussmeier, Leon Lett and Markus Paul.
Here is a look at the staff:
Head coach Mike McCarthy: He went to the playoffs in nine of 13 seasons in Green Bay and won a Super Bowl. Having that résumé made him the most attractive coach to Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones. McCarthy has a 125-77-2 record, went to the NFC Championship Game four times and won Super Bowl XLV at AT&T Stadium.
Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore: In his first season as a playcaller, the Cowboys were No. 1 in yards and No. 6 in points per game in 2019. McCarthy is keeping Moore as the playcaller, and most of the offense will remain intact.
Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan: He has been in the NFL since the 1980s and can pull from a number of different schemes that will give the Cowboys a much more varied defense than they have had since 2013. He spent the past three years as linebackers coach with the New Orleans Saints.
Special-teams coordinator John Fassel: One of the more imaginative special-teams coaches around, he has an opportunity to turn around a group that ranked near the bottom in 2019.
Special-teams assistant Matt Daniels: He was with Fassel the past two seasons with the Rams and played for Fassel as well.
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Assistant head coach Rob Davis: He does not have an on-field coaching role but will be McCarthy’s right-hand man. He was the Packers’ long-snapper for 11 seasons before becoming the director of player development.
Offensive line coach Joe Philbin: He served as McCarthy’s line coach and offensive coordinator for a time with the Packers before becoming the Miami Dolphins head coach. He inherits one of the strongest groups in the NFL, with three Pro Bowlers.
Offensive line assistant Jeff Blasko: He spent last season working in Cleveland under James Campen, who was McCarthy’s line coach after Philbin.
Receivers coach Adam Henry: He spent last season with Cleveland and has coached Odell Beckham Jr. in three different spots. Henry is viewed as a no-nonsense coach who might not be a yeller but effectively gets his points across.
Tight ends coach Lunda Wells: If Jason Witten does not re-sign, then Wells will have a young group to work with. He helped develop Evan Engram with the New York Giants. Wells spent time with the Cowboys in training camp as an offensive line assistant in 2010.
Running backs coach Skip Peete: He is back for his second tenure with the Cowboys, having helped develop Todd Gurley with the Rams. Peete worked with Marion Barber, Felix Jones and DeMarco Murray in his first run with the Cowboys. He will make sure Ezekiel Elliott pays attention to the fundamentals, like his predecessor, Gary Brown, did.
Quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier: He spent 2018-19 coaching the Cowboys’ tight ends, but he played quarterback in the NFL and was a coordinator at spots such as Alabama, Michigan and Florida. He is a stickler for doing things the right way, and the tight ends improved under him. He has a good rapport with Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.
Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula: He was a head coach in San Francisco and spent the past three seasons in Washington in a 3-4 scheme. Players like playing for Tomsula, who is viewed as tough but fair.
Assistant defensive line coach Leon Lett: He has worked under Rob Ryan and Rod Marinelli and understands different techniques and schemes. His NFL playing days help him relate to the players, and he has worked well with guys such as DeMarcus Lawrence the past few years.
Linebackers coach Scott McCurley: He spent last season with McCarthy in Green Bay studying the league, passing up an opportunity for an analyst job at LSU. He coached inside and outside linebackers with the Packers.
Senior defensive assistant George Edwards: Like Peete, he is back for his second run with the Cowboys. He spent the past six seasons as Minnesota’s defensive coordinator under Mike Zimmer. His role is somewhat undefined, but he is expected to work with linebackers as well as the sub packages.
Defensive backs coach Maurice Linguist: He comes from Texas A&M and can help with so much of the offensive game trickling up from the college level. A native of Mesquite, Texas, Linguist will work with the safeties and slot players.
Defensive backs coach Al Harris: He played under McCarthy for five years in Green Bay. From 2013 through 2018, Harris was with the Kansas City Chiefs as an assistant. With 21 career interceptions, the hope is he can help a secondary that has struggled taking the ball away.
Coaching assistant Scott Tolzien: He spent three seasons as a backup to quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay when McCarthy was coach.