Jeff Blasko

Latest On Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy’s Job Status

Mike McCarthy‘s second season in Dallas could be his last unless his team is able to put together a playoff run. Adam H. Beasley of ProFootballNetwork.com reports that McCarthy’s Cowboys may need to make it to the NFC Championship Game if the head coach wants to keep his job.

As Beasley explains, Jerry Jones will soon be 79, and the owner is unwilling to show as much patience as he did with former head coach Jason Garrett. The Cowboys’ 6-10 record in 2020 left a lot to be desired, and while that record was obviously impacted by Dak Prescott‘s injury, another disappointing campaign could spell the end of McCarthy’s tenure in Dallas. If the Cowboys do underachieve, Jones may be ready to start over with a new head coach as he pursues that elusive championship.

Further, Beasley notes that some within the organization are “a bit dubious” about McCarthy’s coaching staff hires. The head coach has brought in four former Packers staffers (Joe Philbin, Joe Whitt Jr., Jeff Blasko, and Scott McCurley) since he’s been in Dallas, and the writer implies that some within the organization have been less than thrilled with the additions.

McCarthy has already slightly revamped his coaching staff in anticipation of the 2021 season. This past offseason, the team let go of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and replaced him with former Falcons head coach Dan Quinn. McCarthy will surely be hoping that the coaching change (coupled with Prescott’s return and the team’s offseason acquisitions) will change the team’s fortunes…and help him keep his job.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cowboys Make Staff Changes

In announcing their coaching staff, the Cowboys revealed more new names coming to join Mike McCarthy in his first season.

Although this offseason featured a few ex-Cowboys assistants going to New York to follow Jason Garrett, McCarthy hired former Giants staffer Lunda Wells to be his tight ends coach. Wells joins assistant offensive line coach Jeff Blasko and first-year coach Scott Tolzien as the latest additions to McCarthy’s first Dallas staff.

However, the most notable move may be a holdover changing roles. Doug Nussmeier will move from tight ends coach to leading the Cowboys’ quarterbacks.

This marks a notable promotion for the two-year tight ends coach, but this new position will mark a return to the kind of responsibilities the longtime college assistant enjoyed. Nussmeier served as QBs coach and offensive coordinator at several major college programs — Washington, Alabama, Michigan and Florida among them — from 2009-17. In between, he served as the Rams’ QBs coach under Scott Linehan from 2006-07. Linehan helped bring Nussmeier to Dallas before the 2018 season.

The Cowboys retained Kellen Moore as their OC, and Nussmeier’s role with the franchise grew last year after the team transitioned from Linehan to Moore in that job. Nussmeier was also a candidate to be Dallas’ OC. His rise within the organization continues, with McCarthy tabbing Moore and Nussmeier to be his top voices on the offensive side of the ball. Nussmeier, 49, will replace Jon Kitna as QBs coach.

Set to move into Nussmeier’s previous role, Wells spent the past eight seasons with the Giants — seven of those coaching Big Blue’s offensive line or tight ends. Blasko worked under James Campen in Cleveland last year. Blasko worked with McCarthy in Green Bay.

Given starts with the Packers and Colts, prior to a stay in the Alliance of American Football, Tolzien will transition to coaching. The 32-year-old ex-quarterback spent three seasons with McCarthy in Green Bay before moving to Indianapolis to be one of Andrew Luck‘s backups in 2016.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Redskins, Eagles, Panthers, Pack

No matter the final outcome, the Redskins have mangled the Kirk Cousins negotiations, as Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports and Mike Jones of the Washington Post write in dueling pieces. If Washington applies the franchise tag for a second consecutive year, Cousins will have earned nearly $44MM over the past two years. That total, per Robinson, would have been an acceptable level of guarantees on a long-term Cousins deal that included, say, a $20MM annual average. In his piece, Jones invites former NFL negotiators Joel Corry and Joe Banner to discuss the Cousins situation in a back-and-forth format, making both articles must-reads.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Center Jason Kelce and edge rusher Connor Barwin could learn a bit more about their status with the Eagles this week, as the pair’s respective agents are set to meet with Philadelphia management at the scouting combine, according to Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com, who notes the Birds haven’t made a final decision on either player. Barwin ($7.75MM base salary) and Kelce ($5MM) are both candidates to be released or traded this offseason.
  • The Panthers have “little to lose” by re-signing defensive end Charles Johnson to another short-term contract, while a reunion between Carolina and Julius Peppers would also make sense, opines Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer. Johnson, 30, inked a one-year, $3MM with the Panthers last offseason and responded by posting four sacks, while Peppers, who spent the first eight years of his career in Carolina, is likely done in Green Bay.
  • The Packers have made several additions to their coaching staff, announcing that they’ve hired Jeff Blasko as assistant offensive line coach, Tim McGarigle as defensive quality control coach, and David Raih as offensive perimeter coach. As Jason Wilde of ESPN.com points out (Twitter link), that list of coaches doesn’t include a replacement for former associate head coach/offense Tom Clements, who left Green Bay after his contract expired. The Packers could certainly announce such a hire in the future, or simply go without such a role on staff.