Dallas is now the southern Green Bay.
ESPN’s Todd Archer reports Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy is reuniting with a pair of former Packers assistants, Scott McCurley and Jeff Blasko, as he assembles his new staff. Both men worked under McCarthy in Titletown.
McCurley is expected to have a role coaching the Cowboys’ linebackers, effectively replacing Rod Marinelli, a holdover from the Jason Garrett regime who doubled as the team’s in-title-only defensive coordinator and will not be retained by McCarthy.
McCurley originally joined the Packers as an intern in 2006. He slowly worked his way up the ladder, from coaching administrator to defensive quality control Coach to linebackers coach, a promotion he earned in 2014.
Let go last January, he was instrumental in catalyzing Clay Matthews’ 2015 transition from outside to inside linebacker, after which he made the Pro Bowl. McCurley was also credited with developing former fourth-round pick Blake Martinez into a tackling machine; Martinez finished 2017 as the NFL’s co-leader in stops, and the following year he contributed a career-high five sacks.
In Dallas, McCurley inherits a supremely talented yet inconsistent group of ‘backers led by $64 million star Jaylon Smith, who delivered a team-high 142 combined tackles this season. Smith chipped in 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles and recorded one of the Cowboys’ seven interceptions.
The position group is riddled with question marks surrounding OLBs Leighton Vander Esch, who appeared in only nine games due to a worrisome neck injury, and Sean Lee, who’s entering his age-34 campaign and scheduled to hit free agency.
McCurley and Blasko are the latest additions to a coaching staff that reportedly will feature Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator, John Fassel as special teams coordinator, Jim Tomsula as defensive line coach, and Joe Philbin — McCarthy’s offensive coordinator in Green Bay — as assistant head coach/offensive line coach.
McCarthy, likely to handle offensive play-calling duties, also hopes to keep incumbent coordinator Kellen Moore on staff while heavily courting Texas run game coordinator Stan Drayton, who coached Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott at Ohio State, to serve in a similar capacity.
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Background on Blasko
Like McCurley, Blasko cut his teeth as a coaching administrator in 2016 before moving up the ranks. He was the assistant OL coach for the Packers in 2017 and 2018 then defected to the Cleveland Browns, where he held the same title.
The Browns’ O-line was nothing to write home about, allowing 41 sacks and 66 hits on franchise quarterback Baker Mayfield. The unit did help produce the NFL’s 12th-best rushing attack, which averaged 118.8 yards per game, culminating in a Pro Bowl selection for running back Nick Chubb.
Boasting arguably the best line in the business, Dallas spawned three Pro Bowl blockers this year: left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick, and right guard Zack Martin. The front-five was key to manufacturing the league’s top-ranked offense in total yards, the second-best passing attack, and fifth-ranked ground game.
Blasko should assist Philbin in instructing the Cowboys’ OL after the club chose not to retain Marc Colombo.
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A holdover from the Jason Garrett regime (one of the few who’s retained), Nussmeier had worked with Dallas’ TEs since 2018, after he defected from the University of Florida, where he served as offensive coordinator and QB coach.
Nussmeier, 49, is a former signal-caller himself who played for the New Orleans Saints (1994-97), Indianapolis Colts (1998) and the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League (2000) before transitioning to coaching. The Lions made him QB coach for their 2001 season.
The next year, he held the same position with the Ottawa Renegades, then with Michigan State from 2003-05. He became something of a nomad afterward, coaching passers for the St. Louis Rams (2006-07), Fresno State (2008), Washington (2009-2011), Alabama (2012-13), Michigan (2014), and, finally, UF.
Additionally, Nussmeier doubled as the offensive coordinator during his time with the Bulldogs, Huskies, Crimson Tide, Wolverines and Gators.
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