Mailbag: Which Assistant Coach Needs to Shine?
Which coach do you think really needs to shine for the Cowboys to have the successful season we are all hoping for this year? – Robert Lockhart/Hawkins, TX
Nick: Lots of good answers here, especially with so many offensive coaches being new. But what about John Fassel and the special teams? I’m going with Fassel because I truly believe this is going to be a good football team overall once again. The offense has some needed playmakers and the defense will continue to be one of the best. But it all can go wrong if the special teams has some issues. Fassel not only has to replace some key players in his core group, but also has to help find a kicker they can trust. But this will be a good team, but it can take a blocked punt, or big punt return allowed or a missed field goal that can be the difference in winning and losing. I think the special teams has to be stronger than ever this year.
Kurt:The obvious answer would likely be Mike McCarthy since he’s taking the reins this season as the offensive play-caller. If he and Brian Schottenheimer can’t get Dak Prescott and company rolling then we may all be in for a disappointing ride. But digging a little deeper, one under-the-radar candidate who really does need to shine is new offensive line coach Mike Solari. First off, how will he handle the personnel on hand? You want to tell a potential Hall of Fame tackle that he may have to give way to a second-year player? Or ensure that your All-Rookie stud continues to improve while also making him shuffle between positions? Or inform one of the best run-blocking tackles around that he’s now moving to guard? Or the bench? And then on top of that there is McCarthy bringing in elements of the West Coast offense, which will require some changes to the blocking scheme. So new coach, new positions, new game plan – there’s a lot going on here that needs to get right. If Solari doesn’t have the offensive line doing doing its job, Prescott and his skill-position teammates will undoubtedly have a tough time doing theirs as well.