Cowboys Coach Leaves Team for Michigan Coordinator Job: Report

Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy

Getty Cowboys HC Mike McCarthy

Maurice Linguist is moving from Big D to the Big House.

Linguist, the Dallas Cowboys‘ secondary coach in 2020, has accepted an offer to become the Michigan Wolverines‘ co-defensive coordinator, Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel reported Tuesday.

The hire, confirmed by ESPN, comes less than a week after Linguist began “hunting a job” following the arrival of Joe Whitt Jr. as Dallas’ new defensive backs coach. The team is also expected to retain Al Harris to tutor its cornerbacks and safeties, making Linguist expendable.

Linguist, 36, will work in tandem with 33-year-old Mike Macdonald on Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines staff. Macdonald, formerly the Baltimore Ravens’ linebackers coach, was brought on to replace since-dismissed DC Don Brown, who held the position since 2016.

“It is an honor to join Coach Harbaugh’s staff at the University of Michigan,” Macdonald said, via ESPN. “I firmly believe in his vision and am excited to get to work. Our staff will work tirelessly to develop our young men both on and off the field — I cannot wait to meet and develop relationships with our players, staff, and community! [Fiancée] Stephanie and I are excited to join the Michigan family, and we are very thankful for this opportunity — Go Blue!”

Linguist’s departure continues a defensive reshuffling for the Cowboys, who replaced DC Mike Nolan with ex-Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn and fired defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, in addition to landing Whitt.

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2020 Work

A former DB at Baylor who joined Dallas from Texas A&M, hired to replace ex-passing game coordinator Kris Richard, Linguist oversaw an injury-plagued CB unit and a largely ineffectual safety group this past season. The collective contributed to the Cowboys’ 23rd overall ranking in total yards allowed and 28th overall ranking in scoring.

Ironically, the club placed highest against the pass, surrendering 227.6 air yards per game — 11th-best in the league. The biggest bright spot was rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs, who led the club with three interceptions.

But it did not matter much when the 31st-ranked run defense was ceding 158.8 yards per game, lowlighted by Cleveland’s 307-yard rushing effort in Week 4 and Baltimore’s 294-yard performance in Week 13. The Cowboys gave up the most points (473) in franchise history — 29.6 points per game — blowing past the previous record (436) set in 2010.

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Moore Interviews with Eagles: Report

What comes of it remains unclear, but the Philadelphia Eagles are moving forward with Kellen Moore’s head-coaching candidacy, and the Cowboys aren’t objecting.

Per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the recently-extended Cowboys offensive coordinator interviewed for the Eagles’ vacancy on Tuesday, one of 10 known contenders vying to become Doug Pederson’s successor.

It was first reported on Jan. 14 that the Eagles had requested to interview Moore, whom the Dallas Morning News’ David Moore (no relation) confirmed is “drawing a lot of interest this offseason” after nearly landing the Boise State HC job. Moore, 32, signed a three-year contract extension with the Cowboys earlier this month, presumably upon the front-office learning of his alma mater’s interest.

Moore’s interview aligns with Tuesday’s previous news that the Eagles are eyeing Cowboys special teams boss John Fassel for the same position. Under Fassel’s watch, the Cowboys thrived on the third side of the ball, ranking seventh in Football Outsiders DVOA and 11th in Rick Gosselin’s annual review. They also placed sixth in estimated special teams points per game.

READ NEXT: Cowboys Given Solid Odds to Trade for Texans QB Deshaun Watson

Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL

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