June 16, 2024

Broncos look quite different as Mike Shanahan returns to DenverAfter a 24-40 four-year record, the Washington team sacked head coach Mike Shanahan at the end of the 2013 campaign. Nobody could have predicted ten years later that Shanahan’s list of assistants in Washington would like a Who’s Who of NFL coaches:

After a 24-40 four-year record, the Washington team sacked head coach Mike Shanahan at the end of the 2013 campaign. Nobody could have predicted ten years later that Shanahan’s list of assistants in Washington would like a Who’s Who of NFL coaches:

Cowboys supporters may now gloat about something else that happened more than 20 years ago.

However, since then, a startlingly limited number of prospective head coaches have emerged from the Cowboys coaching staff:

Before taking the helm in Chicago, Matt Eberflus (DAL 2011–17) had to establish himself as a head coach in Indianapolis for three years.
Jason Garrett (2005–10) used his relationship with the Joneses to his advantage to land a nine-year position as Dallas’ head coach.
In Denver, Joe DeCamillis (DAL 2009–11) filled in as the interim head coach for a single game in 2016. In Washington, Bill Callahan (DAL 2012–14) filled the same job for eleven games in 2016.

Over the course of 17 seasons, three head coaches—Jason Garrett, Wade Phillips, and Mike McCarthy—have all but failed to advance any of their most valuable lieutenants to the NFL.

However, there are other concerns that should be addressed in addition to the lack of potential head coaches among the assistant coaching ranks. The Cowboys front management is under fire for the utter tragedy that has befallen the former offensive and defensive coordinators since 2010 (even with Dan Quinn’s possible transition to a head coach role).

Let’s examine the defensive coordinators the Cowboys have brought to Dallas, paying particular attention to what transpired once their time there was over.

Phillips, Wade (2007–2010). To quote @dailygoonerraf, Phillips was good for 16 games and may have been the final Cowboys defensive end to complete a 60-minute game in 2009. After being fired as head coach in the midst of the 2010 season, Phillips joined on as a DC with the Houston Astros (2011–2013), spent a year away from the NFL, and then went on to work as a DC with the Broncos (2015–16) and Rams (2017–19).

Pasqualoni, Paul (2010). After Phillips was fired, Pasqualoni took over as DC for a short while and left the NFL right away. He returned to the NFL as a defensive line coach with a number of clubs after three years as a college head coach. He even spent a brief stint back in Washington, DC, with the Lions from 2018 to 2019.

2013–2014: Monte Kiffin. Kiffin lasted just one year before being demoted to assistant head coach for defense (DC) to make room for Rod Marinelli. After leaving the NFL, he joined Jacksonville in 2016.

From 2013 until 2019, Rod Marinelli. After taking over as DC in 2014 and remaining there until 2019, Marinelli left for the Raiders and became the DL coach.

Nolan, Mike (2020). The worst defensive effort in franchise history was produced by McCarthy’s hand-picked DC. After that, he left the NFL, and it wasn’t until last year that he made a comeback as a UFL head coach.

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