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Cowboys' New OC Hire To Come From Within


MOBILE, Ala. – Officially, the Cowboys have not made any specific determinations about their offensive coaching staff heading into 2019.

But in speaking with team officials Tuesday at the Reese's Senior Bowl, they sure seem to have an idea of what they want to do – and a lot of that will include addressing their vacancies from within.

"I like the guys we've got in house," said Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones, when asked about filling his open offensive coordinator position.

Now, to be fair, that's not the full picture. Jones did confirm one outside addition Tuesday by addressing the report that the Cowboys had hired former quarterback Jon Kitna to join their coaching staff.

"We've got a commitment from Kitna to join us," he said.

Kitna played for the Cowboys, alongside Tony Romo, in four separate seasons, including 2013 – the final stop of a 14-year playing career that saw him throw for 29,745 yards and 165 touchdowns.

Following that, he enjoyed a successful coaching career on the high school level in both Tacoma, Wash., and Waxahachie, Texas. He was preparing to be the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Fleet of the Alliance of American Football when the Cowboys called.

From talking to team executive vice president Stephen Jones, it's clear the Cowboys were intrigued by two aspects of Kitna's resume. Firstly, he has a wealth of NFL experience he can use to help Dak Prescott. On top of that, having coached at the high school level, he has familiarity with some of the newer concepts in offensive football being popularized by the likes of Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson and Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy.

"We had Jon in here, he's outstanding. Tony thought the world of him. He's just a pro's pro," Stephen Jones said. "He's coached high school football. People say 'What does that have to do with it?' I was seeing where Pederson and Nagy, I think Andy Reid found them at the high school levels, and look at what they're doing."

So, Kitna is on board – but that leads to the next bit. As it stands right now, in mid-Janury, the Cowboys haven't figured out exactly how the staff will function. And they aren't currently in a hurry to do so.

"We're not a in a big hurry," Jerry Jones said. "Obviously, we're here and at the Pro Bowl, and so I don't look for any decision imminently to be coming from that."

As has been reported around the league in recent days, it's evident that current quarterbacks coach Kellen Moore will have a hand in the shakeup. Following a three-year stint as the Cowboys' backup quarterback, Moore was brought in as the quarterbacks coach in 2018.

Prescott has spoken highly of Moore from the time he was a player, and it's evident from talking to people around the organization that it's not an uncommon opinion.

"We're very comfortable with him, obviously," Stephen Jones said. "Like I said, we haven't made any final decisions, but obviously we put him right in as quarterbacks coach. I saw another guy that happened to in Jason Garrett. He stepped right in from being a player to a quarterback coach and went on and did great."

There are other options, too. After spending a year with the Cowboys as a tight ends coach, there has also been speculation about what Doug Nussmeier could add to the offense as a former college coordinator.

"Certainly, some of the more veteran staff members – Nussmeier is one that would come to mind – are certainly available to look and see how we can get better," Jerry Jones said.

There's even mention of Garrett himself. With just one year remaining on his current coaching contract, plenty of speculation that Garrett could resume play calling duties in a bid to improve an offense that finished 22nd in the league last year.

That's not an idea Cowboys officials wanted to discuss publicly, but it sure does sound like all options are on the table.

"Those are all things that we'll discuss," Stephen Jones said. "I don't think we're ready to talk about how this thing's going to exactly look just yet. Those are details we'll be working out."

It's a good bet that details will continue to emerge as the offseason moves along. When they're done in Mobile, Cowboys brass will make the short trip over to Orlando, where their coaching staff is prepping to coach in the Pro Bowl.

However they decide to reshuffle the staff, the new titles should be held by familiar names. And knowing that they're working within that framework, the Cowboys can make the call on their own time.

"It's something that we're in no hurry, because we can – at this particular juncture – work within," Jerry Jones said. "As to what each coach will be doing, all of that remains to be worked out."