IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys look set to fill their coaching vacancy in the defensive backfield, as they intend to hire Greg Jackson.
Jackson, a 12-year NFL safety and longtime coach, hasn't signed his contract yet, but he's expected to take over coaching duties of the Cowboys' safeties, effectively sharing defensive back coaching duties with fifth-year assistant Joe Baker.
Jackson comes to the Cowboys from the University of Michigan, where he coached defensive backs during the 2015 season. It's no coincidence that he signed on with Jim Harbaugh, as he spent the four previous years as an assistant defensive backs coach on Harbaugh's San Francisco 49ers staff.
In total, the former LSU safety brings 13 years of coaching experience to the table. He has coached defensive backs at three different college stops, not to mention a one-year stint coaching linebackers at Wisconsin in 2010. From 2011-14, he served as the assistant secondary coach for 49ers teams that made three-straight playoff appearances and competed in Super Bowl XLVII.
That 2012 San Francisco team, which lost to Baltimore in the Super Bowl, had the NFL's best pass defense – allowing just 200 passing yards per game.
All of that goes along with a 12-year playing career. After earning All-America honors at LSU, Jackson was drafted by the New York Giants in the third round of the 1989 NFL Draft. He played five seasons in New York before moving to Philadelphia for two years. After a one-year stop in New Orleans, he finished his career with a four-year stay in San Diego.[embeddedad0]
For his career, he racked up 686 tackles and 32 interceptions.
Interceptions are bound to be a focal point as Jackson joins the staff in Dallas. The Cowboys had a woeful time getting takeaways in 2015, and that was highlighted by the fact that their defensive backs accounted for just five interceptions. It took until a Week 15 loss against the New York Jets for a Dallas cornerback to log an interception.
The Cowboys' secondary will likely see some transition in Jackson's first year on the job. Former first-round pick Morris Claiborne is set to enter free agency, while Brandon Car is facing the usual speculation about his contract status.
The safeties are a bit more set, as both Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox are under contract for one more season. Perhaps the biggest question the Cowboys have to answer this year is what to do with versatile second-year defensive back Byron Jones, who started in four different positions as a rookie.