Cowboys Announce Hiring of Ex-49ers HC as Defensive Line Coach

Jim Tomsula

Getty Jim Tomsula

When it comes to picking his assistant coaches, Mike McCarthy has a definite type: Experienced.

Counting McCarthy, the Dallas Cowboys now employ three men with head-coaching chops (and another whose father sat in the big seat) following Wednesday’s hiring of Jim Tomsula, likely as defensive line coach, the team announced.

McCarthy nor the Cowboys confirmed the hire in the former’s introductory press conference on Wednesday, though owner Jerry Jones conceded that McCarthy is allowed to choose his own groceries, so to speak.

“We wanted Mike to pick his staff,” Jones said. “We’ve always done that.”

A former coaching journeyman in the now-defunct NFL Europe league, Tomsula’s big break came in 2007, when he was named the San Francisco 49ers’ DL coach, a position he held through 2015. He was selected as the 49ers’ interim HC in 2010, replacing Mike Singletary for the season finale, and elevated to head coach in 2015, succeeding Jim Harbaugh.

Tomsula went one-and-done as San Fran’s head man, fired after the club stumbled to a 5-11 record. He spent the 2016 campaign out of football before resurfacing in 2017 as the Washington Redskins’ DL coach, where he remained until the Cowboys recently called.

In Dallas, he’ll have a wealth of talent at his disposal, including $105 million defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who underachieved this season, posting just five sacks.

Tomsula’s influence also could shape the Cowboys’ offseason plan regarding their numerous free-agent linemen, such as defensive tackle Maliek Collins and ends Tyrone Crawford and Robert Quinn, who led the club with 11.5 sacks across 14 games.

Tomsula, 51, is the latest addition to a Cowboys staff that now features former 49ers HC Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator and John Fassel, son of ex-Giants HC Jim Fassel, as special teams coordinator.

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Moore Likely to Stick at The Star

On the offensive side, a scenario exists in which incumbent coordinator Kellen Moore is retained for 2020. A very plausible scenario. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Monday that McCarthy is “more than open” to keeping the 31-year-old wunderkind, who just completed his first season as an NFL OC.

“McCarthy likes OC Kellen Moore, I’m told. Nothing more firm than that, but it does seem like McCarthy is more than open to keeping him,” were Rapoport’s exact words.

Rapoport doubled down Tuesday — with a caveat. Apparently, Moore is being courted by the University of Washington, closer to home for the Prosser native. As of this writing, he’s deciding between the two opportunities, each with the requisite pros and cons.

The Cowboys’ official website reported Wednesday that Moore is “expected to return.”

McCarthy is expected to shoulder play-calling duties and gameplan installation, same as he did in Green Bay. The Cowboys owned the league’s top offense in yards per game (431.5) and the second-best passing attack (296.6 YPG) in 2019, due in large part to Moore’s creative prowess, which unlocked a career year for quarterback Dak Prescott, who ranked second in the NFL with 4,902 passing yards.

“I’m not really ready to talk about who is on staff let alone who is calling plays,” McCarthy said. “The structure and way we do things will be similar to how I’ve always done it.”


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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL