Mike McCarthy and Joe Philbin, reunited at last.
The Dallas Cowboys are expected to hire the former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator and interim head man, who will coach the offensive line and serve as McCarthy’s assistant head coach in Dallas, sources tell Mike Fisher of SI.com.
The move has yet to be confirmed by the team, though incumbent OL coach Marc Colombo’s ousting — his contract ran through 2021 — likely was done with Philbin in mind.
As has become clear, McCarthy values experience in his assistants above all else. And few have more skin in the game, in the trenches, than Philbin.
The 58-year-old’s NFL resume is underscored by multiple stints with the Packers, where he climbed the corporate ladder. He served as Green Bay’s assistant OL coach in 2003 before tight ends coach was added to his title from 2004-05. He was promoted to OL coach in 2006 and offensive coordinator in 2007, a position he held until 2012 when the Miami Dolphins named him head coach.
Philbin compiled a 24-28 record in Miami and was fired during the 2015 campaign. He landed an assistant HC/OL coach gig with the Indianapolis Colts in 2016. Two years later, he returned to Titletown as McCarthy’s de facto OC. Philbin replaced McCarthy when the latter was fired in December 2018; he went 2-2 as the Packers’ interim HC.
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 producing the league’s top-ranked offense in total yards, the second-best passing attack, and fifth-ranked ground game.
Once finalized, Philbin will be the latest addition to a revamped and uber-experienced Cowboys staff that now features former 49ers HC Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator, John Fassel, son of ex-Giants HC Jim Fassel, as special teams coordinator, and former 49ers HC Jim Tomsula as defensive line coach.
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A holdover from the now-defunct Jason Garrett era, Lal had been instructing Cowboys wideouts since 2018, after similar stints with the Oakland Raiders (2009-11), New York Jets (2012-14), Buffalo Bills (2015-16), and Indianapolis Colts (2017).
He’s credited with developing Dallas’ star pass-catchers, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, both of whom eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards this season. Gallup, in particular, took a monster step forward in his sophomore campaign, delivering 66 catches for 1,107 yards (16.8 yards per catch) and six touchdowns. Cooper, who arrived from Oakland in 2018, finished eighth in the NFL in 2019 with 1,189 yards and eight TDs on 79 grabs.
Colombo was a Cowboys tackle from 2005-2010 before spending 2011 with the Miami Dolphins and announcing his retirement in 2012. He transitioned to a coaching career in 2018, when he was hired as Dallas’ assistant OL coach. He was promoted to the full-time job that October when the club fired Paul Alexander.
It’s unclear, as of this writing, who McCarthy is targeting as Lal’s successor.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL