FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys hired Dan Quinn as new defensive coordinator last week, and Thursday the club officially announced a few other reported moves on head coach Mike McCarthy's staff.
The Cowboys named Joe Whitt Jr. secondary/defensive pass game coordinator, Aden Durde defensive line coach and promoted Harold Nash Jr. to strength and conditioning coordinator this week.
Joe Whitt comes to Dallas after serving in the same capacity with the Atlanta Falcons under Quinn last season. Whitt also worked under McCarthy (2008-18) while both were with the Green Bay Packers. Whitt brings with him 14 years of NFL coaching experience and five years at the collegiate level.
After getting his start in the NFL with the Falcons in 2007, Whitt returned to Atlanta in 2020 as the pass game coordinator/secondary coach after spending the 2019 season with the Cleveland Browns in the same capacity. His Cleveland unit ranked in the top-10 against the pass, allowing 216.9 yards-per-game (seventh). The Browns defense totaled 14 interceptions, tied for eighth in the NFL.
Before landing in Cleveland, Whitt was hired on McCarthy's staff to serve as a defensive quality control for the Packers in 2008. After one season in that capacity, Whitt was promoted to secondary/cornerbacks coach, a position he held for nine seasons (2009-17). He then became the team's defensive pass game coordinator for the 2018 season.
Through his tenure in Green Bay, Whitt helped the team win Super Bowl XLV, and he coached the Packers to a league-high 176 interceptions while ranking ninth in opponent passer rating (83.2). In the same span, the Packers ranked seventh in opponent completion percentage (59.8) and touchdown-to-interception ratio (1.34). He also saw cornerbacks Tramon Williams (18) and Sam Shields (15) combine for 33 interceptions from 2010-14, the most in the league during that time between two teammates. Whitt also helped Williams and Shields earn Pro Bowl selections.
In Whitt's first three seasons as cornerbacks coach, the Packers led the NFL in interceptions twice (2009 and 2010), posting 85 total picks. It was the most by the Packers over a three-year period since 1943-45 (95) and the most by an NFL team since the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers each posted 86 from 1986-88.
Whitt made his NFL coaching debut in Atlanta (2007) as the assistant defensive backs coach. He entered the NFL coaching ranks after a five-year stint in college football with The Citadel (wide receivers, 2002) and Louisville (cornerbacks, 2003-06).
Whitt played collegiately at Auburn as a walk-on wide receiver and eventually earned a scholarship. After suffering through injuries, he transitioned into a student assistant coach for his final two years of school and graduated in 2001 with a degree in communications.
Aden Durde joins the Cowboys as the defensive line coach after spending the previous three seasons on the defensive staff with the Atlanta Falcons in multiple roles. Durde was promoted to outside linebackers coach in 2020 after serving two seasons as a defensive assistant on Quinn's staff in Atlanta.
In 2019 Durde worked with a defensive line unit that was anchored by Grady Jarrett and Tyeler Davison. The Falcons defense held opponents to 103.5 rushing yards-per-game over the final eight weeks of the season, which ranked 10th in the NFL. Additionally, the Falcons tallied 21 sacks over the final eight games - tied for the 10th-most in the league during that span.
Durde joined the Falcons after serving as the head of football development at NFLUK, where he helped guide the International Player Pathway Program. Prior to his work with NFLUK, Durde spent training camp with the Falcons as part of the NFL Diversity Coaching Fellowship and worked for the Cowboys at camp in 2014 in the same capacity.
Durde served as the defensive coordinator of the London Warriors for six seasons. Prior to that, he played linebacker in NFL Europe for six years with the Scottish Claymores and Hamburg Sea Devils while also spending time on the practice squads of the Carolina Panthers and Kansas City Chiefs.
Harold Nash has spent 16 seasons in the NFL as a strength and conditioning coach, and after joining the Cowboys in 2020 as an assistant strength and conditioning coach, he will take the lead role as strength and conditioning coordinator in 2021.
In 2019 Nash served as the football performance coordinator for Detroit after working as the Lions head strength & conditioning coach his first three seasons with the team (2016-18). Prior to joining the Lions in 2016, he spent the previous 11 seasons (2005-15) working with the New England Patriots, where he began as the team's assistant strength and conditioning coach (2005-10) before being promoted to head strength and conditioning coach in 2011.
A former defensive back, Nash enjoyed an 11-year career in the Canadian Football League (1994-2004), including stints with the Shreveport Pirates (1994-95), Montreal Alouettes (1996-99), Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1999-2003) and Edmonton Eskimos (2004). He earned CFL All-Star recognition in 1997, 2000 and 2001.
Nash attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana (now Louisiana-Lafayette) and joined the football team as a walk-on, where he played defensive back for four seasons. Following his collegiate career, he signed with the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent and went to training camp with the team in 1993.