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Shots: Picking Up The Pieces With These Shots During This Bit Of Down Time

FRISCO, Texas –Now for that lull in the action.

         The Super Bowl has been played. So have the Pro Bowl and Senior Bowl. Very little going on between now and the start of the NFL Scouting Combine, and that doesn't take place until Feb. 27 in Indianapolis.

         So for the time being, at least out here at The Star, the Cowboys will continue putting the final pieces of their coaching staff together and at some point make all the reported hires official. Still seemingly have to finalize the tight ends assistant. But if push comes to shove, bet Jason Witten could probably handle both jobs, starting tight end and assistant coach. Just not sure that would be kosher with the salary cap folks.

         But never fear, we do have some Shots to fire just the same.

  • Shock Waves: Bet former Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus had some anxious moments when finding out Josh McDaniels, the guy he was following to the Colts to be his defensive coordinator and why he turned down the Cowboys' offer to return, backed out of the Indianapolis agreement to remain with the Patriots. Good for Matt that Colts general manager Chris Ballard confirms on Wednesday that no matter who is hired as head coach, "Flus" will remain as the defensive coordinator. He deserves that chance.
  • Dan The Man? So a lot of names are popping up as new candidates to take over the Colts. One is former Cowboys tight end Dan Campbell, currently the Saints assistant head coach under Sean Payton and tight ends coach. Remember, Campbell, who played his high school ball at Glen Rose and college at Texas A&M, did serve as Miami's interim head coach in 2015 after Joe Philbin was fired. He went 5-7 during those 12 games.
  • Bill Said It: Hope you guys had a chance to catch The Two Bills, ESPN's latest 30 For 30 documentary. Made me think of one of Parcells' favorite sayings while watching Super Bowl LII: Whatever works is right. Philadelphia head coach Doug Pederson is being lauded for his coaching nerve, leading 15-12 with 38 seconds left in the first half and facing a fourth-and-goal at the Patriots 1-yard line by calling "Philly Special," the direct snap to running back Corey Clement, tight end-around pitch to Trey Burton and touchdown toss then to quarterback Nick Foles. Well, twice early in the second quarter Patriots head coach Bill Belichick let his hair down: On third-and-2 at the Eagles 9, the Patriots ran an end-around to wide receiver Brandin Cooks. Problem was, Cooks decided he was going to get the 2 yards by leaping over safety Rodney McLeod. Only gained 1 yard. Worse, a bad snap caused Stephen Gostkowski to then miss the 26-yard field goal. The Patriots also decided on third-and-5 at the Philadelphia 35 to basically run the same play the Eagles did to Foles. Problem was Danny Amendola's pass went off the fingertips of Tom Brady, incomplete, and when Belichick's decision to go for it on fourth down failed, that set up the Eagles' 65-yard touchdown drive. Few probably remember those two plays or his fourth-down gamble, and no one is giving him credit for creativity or his nerve. They didn't work. See what I mean?
  • Sack This: Much is being made of that Eagles defense, especially their pass rush, which, look, was pretty stout. Well, the Eagles finished with 38 sacks this season, tying them for 15th in the NFL with … the Cowboys. That's right, the Cowboys took another step in the right direction defensively, their sack total increasing in each of the past four seasons, from 28 in 2014, to 31 to 36 and now 38. Next step for the Cowboys defense must be takeaways. The Eagles were fourth with 31, behind just Baltimore (34), Jacksonville (33) and Detroit (32). The Cowboys? Well, their modest total of 21 left them in a four-way tie for 16th. The 21 was the Cowboys' most since 31 in 2014.
  • Familiar Names: See where former Cowboys assistant Paul Pasqualoni has been named Detroit's defensive coordinator for new head coach Matt Patricia. Now Patricia, the long-time Patriots D-coordinator, likely will be running his own defense, but went back to his roots for someone he could trust to be his right-hand man. It was Pasqualoni who gave Patricia his coaching start, the former Syracuse head coach bringing him along as his grad assistant at Syracuse in 2001. Pasqualoni was on the Cowboys staff from 2005-07, and became the team's interim defensive coordinator in 2010 after Wade Phillips was fired. Also, Wade's right-hand defensive man in 2007-08, Brian Stewart, also has been hired by Patricia in Detroit as the defensive backs coach.
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