INDIANAPOLIS – The Cowboys have a slightly different coaching structure in place as they settle in for their offseason and NFL draft evaluations.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett spoke to reporters Wednesday from the NFL Combine and revealed some slight changes to his coaching staff, starting with last week's decision to hire Greg Jackson to coach safeties and moving Joe Baker into the position vacated by Jerome Henderson last month.
"We made Joe Baker the secondary coach similar to the role that Jerome Henderson had last year, and Greg Jackson is going to be the safeties coach similar to the role that Joe Baker had," Garrett said.
Henderson left the Cowboys to take a position as the Atlanta Falcons' passing game coordinator. On top of adding Jackson to his defensive staff, Garrett also announced that he has created his own passing game coordinator. Linebackers coach Matt Eberflus will handle the role, which was designed to help the cohesion between the Cowboys' front seven and secondary.
"We're going to make Matt Eberflus our passing game coordinator with an effort to really tie the whole backend together," Garrett said. "At different parts, times during the day, the linebackers and the secondary guys will meet. Again, working on the coverage part of our defense and we thought there was some real value to that and the continuity across positions."
The news ties up a month-long process that began following the season. The Cowboys interviewed several candidates before ultimately hiring Jackson, who boasts a dozen years of coaching experience, including a four-year stint with the San Francisco 49ers. Prior to signing on with the Cowboys, Jackson was the defensive backs coach under Jim Harbaugh at the University of Michigan.
"We interviewed a number of different guys, a number of different profile of guys and we had a chance to visit with Greg and talk to Greg and talk to people about Greg and we thought he was going to be a great addition for us, and we like the structure we have in place," Garrett said.
This undoubtedly won't be the last time the Cowboys address Eberflus' new role as passing game coordinator. It's more typical to hear of a football team employing a passing game coordinator on the offensive side of the ball – Scott Linehan held that title during his first season in Dallas. But it seems to be a rising trend to staff a similar position defensively.[embeddedad0]
"I think it is. Over the last four or five years, you see some teams doing that and really just kind of allows you to focus on that area," Garrett said. "Teams do it different ways. We thought having Matt Eberflus being the guy who oversees that backend in regards to the passing game, we thought that would be a good way for our defense to go. It's been good here over the last couple of weeks."
The news means Garrett can look forward to some continuity in working to correct those issues. Jackson is the obvious new face on defense, and Garrett added that Marc Colombo will take over as the Cowboys' assistant offensive line coach under Frank Pollack, allowing Steve Loney to move into an offensive assistant role.
With that taken care of, the Cowboys can turn their attention to their trouble spots from the 2015 season without the issue of too much upheaval.
"I think we have a good blend of veteran coaches and young coaches who are developing," Garrett said. "I think everyone's on the same page in terms of what we're running on offense, defense and the kicking game, the continuity that way is helpful to your team. I think we believe in each other. I think we believe in the process that we go through."