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What Does Jon Kitna Bring To This Staff?


MOBILE, Ala. – The Cowboys aren't ready to divulge Jon Kitna's role within their coaching staff, but it's pretty easy to guess at his focus.

These aren't difficult dots to connect. Kitna returns to Dallas, where he spent several years as a player, after a 14-year career as an NFL quarterback. As a member of this coaching staff, he'll have direct contact with a 25-year-old quarterback who figures to be the face of this franchise for quite some time.

"I would say the No. 1 priority is to have somebody who's going to be bringing the best out of Dak," said Cowboys COO Stephen Jones on Tuesday. "Utilize his skills the best, be able to do things that help us improve on the offensive side of the ball."

For clarity's sake, Jones was talking about his offensive coordinator position, and the Cowboys have yet to determine how they'll structure their coaching staff. But if maximizing Prescott's ability is the priority, it makes sense to bring in a coach with more NFL experience than the Cowboys' entire 2018 quarterback room combined.

In addition, the Cowboys have made no secret about their interest in Kitna's experience at the high school level. Following his NFL retirement, Kitna coached three seasons at his alma mater in Tacoma, Wash. Following that, he relocated for a job in Waxahachie, Texas and eventually a prep school gig in Phoenix.

Success at the high school level isn't likely to resonate with those who follow the game's top professional league, but schemes from the younger levels of the game have gradually taken over the NFL in recent years. Jones was sure to point out that Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson and Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy got their starts in high school, while Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones mentioned the trickle up effect from high school and college.

"I think that's a unique way to look at this game, seeing that more and more brought up to the game," Jerry Jones said. "High school is a very interesting place as to how it is impacting the game at the college and certainly at the pro level."

None of that is to say Kitna will go on to become one of the game's most innovative coaches and run his own team. Asked about it Wednesday at the Pro Bowl, Kitna wouldn't even confirm he had joined the staff.

That said, it's evident that the Cowboys want to set Dak Prescott up to succeed. With that in mind, their hiring practices shouldn't come as a surprise.