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McCarthy's Staff Figures To Bring Experience


FRISCO, Texas – Officially, Mike McCarthy and the Cowboys aren't ready to talk about the coaching staff he's putting together.

But anyone with common sense, not to mention an Internet connection, can piece together the obvious. And it's not something the Cowboys are shying away from.

"Obviously, he's not going to talk about staff today, but we've been working on the staff for days now," said Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones. "He's rolling up his sleeves right away. He went right home to get packed up, and he's coming back, boots on the ground, ready to go to work."

Indeed, it seems like McCarthy has been working on his coaching staff from the moment the news of his hire first leaked out.

The names have been coming in a steady stream since Monday morning, and that figures to continue in the coming days. Longtime defensive coach Mike Nolan is purported to be the Cowboys' next defensive coordinator, and veteran coach Jim Tomsula is expected to coach the defensive line. In a departure from the last regime, special teams guru John Fassel is signing on as special teams coordinator.

McCarthy wasn't ready to comment on any of these happenings, as not all of them have been made official. But he did allow what he's looking for in an assistant coach, at all levels.

"First and foremost a couple things: the expertise of their position of responsibility, positive energy, the same personality every day," he said.

There's a trend here. Nolan boasts 33 years of NFL experience, while Fassel and Tomsula have 15 and 13 years, respectively. Joe Philbin, who is reportedly expected to take over as offensive line coach, has been coaching in the NFL since 2003.

To spell it out even more clearly: there's a lot of experience coming into the building, one way or another.

That shouldn't be surprising, considering the way this past season developed. This time last year, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones was excited by the youth of his coaching staff. The organization entered Jason Garrett's final year under contract with a multitude of coaches that were either early or just starting out in their coaching careers.

While there were some bright spots – Kellen Moore and Jon Kitna come to mind – it didn't work out the way Jones intended. Following the season finale against Washington, he admitted as much.

"I think that there's no question that our lack of experience -- and I had thought that Jason with his experience could be a great safety net for them," he said at the time. "And there was just too much to catch this season."

That's not to say every member of McCarthy's staff will be an NFL old timer. The expectation is that Moore will return for a second season as offensive coordinator after guiding the NFL's No. 1 offense in 2019.

Jerry Jones made it clear that would be McCarthy's decision, stating clearly that he would be selecting his own staff. That much seems obvious considering how many of these rumored hires have connections to McCarthy's career.

And even if it's not yet final, the Cowboys sounded confident: it'll be an intriguing bunch.

"I think everybody will be real pleased with the staff that he puts together. I think it's going to be a great group of coaches," Stephen Jones said. "Still work to do, but certainly Mike will make great choices there. When he's ready to share the directions we're headed, I know he'll be in front of you guys to share that."