The Dallas Cowboys announced Joe Baker as assistant secondary coach on February 13, 2012, then became the safeties coach in 2014 before being promoted as the secondary coach in 2016.
Baker arrived in Dallas after spending three seasons (2009-11) as an assistant with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has 21 years of NFL coaching experience and three years at the collegiate level.
Baker was aided with the return of a veteran unit in his first year in charge of the entire secondary in 2016. At cornerback, Brandon Carr and rookie Anthony Brown tied for fifth on the team in tackles with 56 apiece, while both Morris Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick battled through injuries to provide valuable coverage. The safety position was once again solidified by Barry Church, who for the fourth consecutive sea- son surpassed the century mark in tackles and finished second on the unit with 109 along with a team-high two interceptions. Second-year player Byron Jones took another step forward as he tallied a career-high 102 stops - good for fourth on the team - and tied Carr with a team-high 10 pass breakups.
In 2015 Baker’s safeties were highlighted by Church who finished second on the defense with 136 stops. Baker was also charged with bringing 2015 first round draft choice Jones up to speed at the position. The rookie from UConn saw action at various positions in the secondary at the beginning of the season before settling into a starting spot at free safety by Week 7. Jones finished fifth on the team with 76 tackles and a team-high 12 pass breakups to become the first rookie to record 75-plus tackles and lead the team in break- ups in franchise history. Jeff Heath, one of the club’s top backups at safety and core special teams player, picked off a career-best two interceptions to lead the team.
Baker’s third season assisting with the Dallas secondary saw him take on a new role in charge of the safeties. The unit was led in tackles for the second consecutive season by Church, who had a team-high 110 tackles. The 2014 season also saw the rise of second-year safety J.J. Wilcox, who finished fourth on the team with 89 tackles and three interceptions - second on the team.
Baker again worked closely with secondary coach Jerome Henderson in 2013 as the defense made the switch back to the 4-3 scheme. The starting defensive back field saw the return of Church, who missed the majority of 2012 with an Achilles tear, as the former rookie free agent safety started all 16 games for the first time in his career and led the defense with a career-best 147 tackles. The season started with third round draft pick Wilcox starting at strong safety ( five games) before rookie free agent Heath took over (nine). In his second year in Dallas, Carr was fourth on the team with 74 tackles and second with three interceptions. Scandrick stepped in to start a career-best 15 games and finished with 70 tackles - a career-high.
In his first season with the Cowboys, Baker helped integrate two new starting corners in first round draft choice Claiborne and veteran free agent Carr. Carr led the team in interceptions with three - returning one for a touchdown - while Claiborne picked off one pass and had a fumble returned for a touchdown.
In 2009 Baker was the defensive backs coach in Tampa Bay, and from 2010-11, he coached Buccaneers linebackers.
Prior to landing with the Buccaneers, Baker spent two seasons (2007-08) with the Denver Broncos, first as the club’s linebackers coach and then as an offensive assistant. In his first season with Denver, Baker worked with a linebacking corps that saw D.J. Williams finish second in the NFL with an AFC-best 141 tackles. Baker crossed over to the offensive side in 2008 as an offensive assistant.
Baker was with the St. Louis Rams in 2006 (defensive quality control/linebackers) where he helped guide St. Louis to 32 takeaways - seventh in the league - with a league-best nine red zone takeaways. Baker spent 2005 with the Green Bay Packers (secondary/safeties) and worked with a defensive back field that led the league in pass defense, allowing 165.7 yards-per-game - the club’s lowest total in 27 seasons.
Baker spent five seasons (2000-04) coaching various defensive positions with the New Orleans Saints. He started with the Saints as an assistant defensive back field/assistant special teams coach (2000-01), then was the team’s secondary assistant (2002) and finally the secondary coach (2003-04).
Baker made his NFL coaching debut in 1995 as the assistant special teams coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars, a position he held through the 1998 season. He first landed with the Jaguars in 1994 as the club’s manager of football operations leading into its inaugural season.
In 1999 Baker returned to coach college ball at the University of Wisconsin as the school’s outside linebackers/special teams coach. He coached running backs and wide receivers at Samford in 1993 after spending one season as the player personnel coordinator for the Birmingham Fire of the World League of American Football. Baker got his start coaching as a graduate assistant/defensive backs at East Stroudsburg University in 1991.
Baker played wide receiver four years (1987-1990) at Princeton University where he caught passes from Cowboys Head Coach Jason Garrett for two years (1987-88). He was part of Princeton’s 1989 Ivy League co-championship squad then earned his degree in his- tory in 1991.
Baker lives in Southlake with his wife, Jill, and two children - Mia and Joey.