Dallas Cowboys: Gary Brown

Mike Pope had influence on Jason Garrett

February, 23, 2014
Feb 23
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Jason Garrett’s background has played a role on the composition of his Dallas coaching staff.

Of the coaches brought in after he took the job on a full-time basis in 2011, offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Bill Callahan, running backs coach Gary Brown, secondary coach Jerome Henderson, linebackers coach Matt Eberflus and assistant offensive line coach Frank Pollack did not have a previous association with Garrett.

New passing game coordinator Scott Linehan worked with Garrett for a year with the Miami Dolphins. Derek Dooley got to know Garrett when he was an assistant coach at SMU and worked together for a year with the Dolphins. Garrett spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he got to know Rod Marinelli, Monte Kiffin and Rich Bisaccia. Assistant secondary coach Joe Baker was Garrett's teammate at Princeton.

Tight ends coach Mike Pope is the latest assistant in which Garrett dipped into his past.

Garrett was a backup quarterback with the New York Giants when Pope coached their tight ends.

“He’s really as good a coach as I’ve been around in my career,” Garrett said. “I saw him up close and personal with a lot of different guys, established players and young players and he’s a great friend. He’s a great addition to our staff and [Jason Witten] is the kind of guy who’s always trying to get better. Each and every day [Witten] comes in he’s always looking for ways we can help him, how he can help himself become a better football player. That’s why he is the player he is. To add Mike Pope to the mix and having a different perspective on how he gets coaches, I think Witt’s really excited and I know Mike Pope is as well.”

Pope’s main task, however will be to develop Gavin Escobar, but Garrett begs to differ slightly.

“I can go in my office right now and pull out his Saturday night tip sheet for the tight ends for four years with the Giants that I would fall asleep with in my bed that was 25 pages long and in Pope’s handwriting,” Garrett said. “He and I have known each other a long time. He’s a great coach. His track record speaks for itself. He’s worked with different kinds of tight ends, veteran tight ends. He’s worked with young guys, he’s developed guys who were college free agents. The fact that we have an investment in Escobar and have a young guy in James Hanna, we feel those guys will benefit, but Witt’s going to benefit as well.”

Cowboys position breakdown: Coaches

January, 31, 2014
Jan 31
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Cowboys reporters Calvin Watkins and Todd Archer break down the Cowboys, position by position, analyzing what the players did in 2013, what they can do in the future and what the team can do to improve the position in 2014.

Under contract: Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan, Rod Marinelli, Bill Callahan, Monte Kiffin, Wade Wilson, Gary Brown, Derek Dooley, Mike Pope, Frank Pollack, Keith O’Quinn, Matt Eberflus, Jerome Handerson, Leon Lett, Ben Bloom, Joe Baker, Rich Bisaccia.

A look back: For the first time since he arrived as an assistant coach in 2007 Jason Garrett did not call the offensive plays. It wasn’t Garrett’s idea, but he had little choice in the matter. Owner Jerry Jones wanted Bill Callahan to do the job, so that’s how it went.

[+] EnlargeJason Garrett
AP Photo/Tom HauckAfter a third straight 8-8 season, Dallas' Jason Garrett made several key changes within his staff.
The Cowboys averaged 27.4 points per game but had their fewest yards in a season since 2005. For the final six games of the season Garrett asserted himself in the process, relaying the plays from Callahan to the quarterback. Garrett maintained Callahan called the plays throughout the season.

Defensively, it was a disaster for Monte Kiffin. The Cowboys’ move to the 4-3 could not have gone worse. Injuries depleted the defensive line and took their toll on the linebackers by the end of the season. Players counted on to have big seasons – DeMarcus Ware, Brandon Carr, Bruce Carter, Morris Claiborne – didn’t and Kiffin was unable to come up with any answers.

The Cowboys allowed the most yards (by a wide margin) and the second-most points in franchise history. Kiffin's return to the NFL after a run with his son, Lane, at Tennessee and Southern Cal, was a flop.

Special-teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia might have had the best season of any assistant coach. The special teams were better across the board in 2013 and he interviewed for the head coaching jobs with the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Browns.

A look ahead: Rod Marinelli has replaced Kiffin as defensive coordinator, although the Cowboys cushioned the demotion by naming Kiffin the assistant head coach/defense. Callahan has been replaced as playcaller by Scott Linehan, who is a Garrett confidante.

The Cowboys have denied teams from speaking with Callahan, which has not pleased Callahan and could lead to ill-will on the staff no matter how much the Cowboys try to put a smiley face on the situation. Callahan will return to coaching the offensive line full-time, which pushes Frank Pollack down the line after he did a good job with the group in 2013.

The Cowboys hope Marinelli can be as effective as a coordinator as he was in his three-year run with the Chicago Bears. He will need more talent, especially on the defensive line. He will need to be more creative than Kiffin as well. Players play hard for him and believe in his coaching, but the confidence of the entire group was shot last year. Having Sean Lee return from injury and players like Ware return to form, will help.

Kiffin will be around but mostly in an advisory role. Tight ends coach Wes Phillips joined the Redskins and was replaced by Mike Pope, a long-time veteran considered one of the best in the NFL. Assistant special-teams coach Chris Boniol also left.

A look out: The Cowboys have set up an interesting situation on the offensive side of the ball by hiring Linehan and demoting Callahan, but Garrett believes the transition will be smooth because the system remains in place.

But how well will Linehan and Callahan work together? Are there too many people involved in the offense with different agendas? It will make for interesting viewing.

On defense, the move to Marinelli should also be easy because the system remains. He should be more adept at handling the current game than Kiffin, who could not come up with ways to slow spread offenses.

But this year will be all about Garrett, who is entering the final year of his deal. The Cowboys gave him the authority to make the changes on the staff, and it’s up to him to make it work. He has been able to keep the players on his side despite three straight 8-8 finishes. They believe in what he says. Now the actions have to back up the words.

Position breakdown:

Quarterbacks
Running backs
Tight ends
Wide receivers
Defensive line
Offensive line
Linebackers
Defensive backs

Dallas Cowboys coaching tracker

January, 29, 2014
Jan 29
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IRVING, Texas -- With changes on the Dallas Cowboys' coaching staff, it’s time to update the tracker.

Rod Marinelli is the defensive coordinator but will continue to work with the defensive line. He'll receive more help from Leon Lett and Ben Bloom.

The changes are in bold.

Head coach: Jason Garrett

Passing game coordinator: Scott Linehan
Offensive coordinator/offensive line coach: Bill Callahan
Defensive coordinator: Rod Marinelli

Assistant head coach/defense: Monte Kiffin

Quarterbacks: Wade Wilson
Running backs: Gary Brown
Wide receivers: Derek Dooley
Tight ends: Mike Pope
Assistant offensive line: Frank Pollack
Offensive quality control/wide receivers: Keith O’Quinn
Offensive assistant: Vacant

Defensive line: Rod Marinelli
Linebackers: Matt Eberflus
Secondary: Jerome Henderson
Defensive assistant/defensive line: Leon Lett
Defensive quality control/defensive line: Ben Bloom
Assistant secondary: Joe Baker

Special teams: Rich Bisaccia
Assistant special teams: Vacant

Strength and conditioning: Mike Woicik
Assistant strength and conditioning: Brett Bech
Assistant strength and conditioning: Kendall Smith

Cowboys' coaching staff tracker

January, 22, 2014
Jan 22
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IRVING, Texas -- Since we parsed Jerry Jones' words Tuesday about the current state of the Dallas Cowboys offensive and defensive coordinators, let's parse what head coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday when it came to Monte Kiffin and Bill Callahan.

Like Jones, Garrett said both are under contract for 2014. Unlike Jones, however, Garrett said roles could change, but he would not elaborate.

What does it mean? Maybe everything. Maybe nothing.

Kiffin, who turns 74 next month, has said repeatedly he is not retiring. Could the Cowboys move him to a consultant role like they did with assistant head coach/wide receivers Jimmy Robinson last year? Robinson was not spotted at one practice in the offseason, during training camp or during the season. He is in Mobile, Ala., at the Senior Bowl looking for a job in 2014.

Given how Jones and Garrett handled the announcement of Callahan as playcaller last year, first with Jones saying it, then Garrett denying it only to come back a day or two later and say, indeed, Callahan would call plays, this is shaping up as an only-with-the-Cowboys situation.

With that in mind, let's look at the current state of the staff:

Head coach: Jason Garrett

Offensive coordinator/offensive line coach: Bill Callahan
Defensive coordinator: Monte Kiffin

Quarterbacks: Wade Wilson
Running backs: Gary Brown
Wide receivers: Derek Dooley
Tight ends: Vacant
Assistant offensive line: Frank Pollack
Offensive quality control/wide receivers: Keith O'Quinn
Offensive assistant: Vacant

Defensive line: Rod Marinelli
Linebackers: Matt Eberflus
Secondary: Jerome Henderson
Defensive assistant/defensive line: Leon Lett
Defensive quality control/linebackers: Ben Bloom
Assistant secondary: Joe Baker

Special teams: Rich Bisaccia
Assistant special teams: Vacant

Strength and conditioning: Mike Woicik
Assistant strength and conditioning: Brett Bech
Assistant strength and conditioning: Kendall Smith

Wes Phillips left the Cowboys to be the Washington Redskins tight ends coach. Offensive assistant Dave Borgonzi left for a defensive assistant's job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mikal Smith also worked with the Cowboys secondary last year but did not have a specific title. He joined his father, Lovie, in Tampa Bay. Assistant special teams coach Chris Boniol and the club agreed to part ways, and the Cowboys will likely give that job to Carlos Polk, although Garrett did not confirm the position at the Senior Bowl. Polk served as an intern with the Cowboys in 2013.

Coaches like Bloom, Baker, O'Quinn and Woicik would need new deals to remain with the team in 2014.
OXNARD, Calif. -- Bill Callahan will be under a lot of scrutiny as the playcaller for the Cowboys this season. Monday’s practice was a good day for him.

He showed some guts.

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With the first-team offense trailing 24-20 and facing fourth down from the 2 with less than 10 seconds to play, Callahan called for a DeMarco Murray run, and he was able to score the winning touchdown. The defense was looking for a pass but the line got a good push off the ball and Murray made a good read to cut back to get into the end zone.

•  Practice was a little shorter than normal. The third-team offense and defense did not get any situational snaps during the regular workout, only the blue period.

•  Tony Romo would like one throw back from the entire day, one on which he was intercepted by LB Caleb McSurdy. With time to throw, Romo attempted to force a pass down the field, but it was not high enough to get over McSurdy. The QB was visibly frustrated by the decision. Romo went 12-for-21 in team and seven-on-seven drills in practice.

•  TE Jason Witten continues to excel in the red zone. He plucked a pass from Romo off Sean Lee’s helmet, pulled it into his body and was able to hang on as he slammed to the ground.

•  LB Bruce Carter had the most athletic play of the day. In one-on-one drills, he was able to leap, spin in midair and reach up for a one-handed interception on a Nick Stephens throw to RB Phillip Tanner. Even his teammates were stunned at the smooth play.

•  You want to see rookies improve. After beating LB Alex Albright out of the backfield, RB Joseph Randle dropped a perfectly floated ball down the middle that caused RB coach Gary Brown to shake his head. On Randle’s next route, he beat LB Ernie Sims on the same route and made the catch.

•  On the second series of situational work after Murray’s touchdown, Sims made sure it was a short drive by forcing a Murray fumble with a solid thump right on the ball. DE DeMarcus Ware recovered the loose ball for the turnover.

•  DE Kyle Wilber blew up RB Lance Dunbar on a toss to the left but was aided by the fact that LT Darrion Weems chose not to block him. As soon as Dunbar took the pitch, Wilber hit him.

•  S Eric Frampton came up with a deflection of a seam throw to TE Gavin Escobar, firing out his left hand across the tight end’s arms to make the play. Later Escobar was able to shake off a similar play from S Matt Johnson to come down with the reception.

•  TE Andre Smith was off to a good start to camp in large part because the blocking tight end was catching every pass thrown his way. It was brought to Jason Garrett’s attention at his news conference, and then Smith dropped two passes in the afternoon session.
IRVING, Texas -- Rookie running back Joseph Randle said he'll get the cast taken off his surgically repaired thumb next Friday. Randle has had two surgeries to repair ligament damage. He will wear a small brace when he's cleared to practice in training camp.

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"I wish it were tomorrow," Randle said. "I'm going to have a little brace on there, but I'm going to be good to go. It's good and it's coming right along. I just tape it up and I'll be ready for camp."

The most Randle has been able to do is get conditioning work during three weeks of organized team activities and the just completed three-day veteran minicamp.

The Cowboys are expecting Randle to become the No. 2 back behind starter DeMarco Murray this season. A major reason Randle was drafted was because of Murray's health. Murray has missed nine games in his career because of injuries and the Cowboys used a fifth-round pick to get a running back they hope will emerge as a quality backup.

Over the next few weeks, Randle will have to make sure he's ready mentally in terms of knowing the playbook.

Running backs coach Gary Brown said when Randle gets the cast off it's time "to perform. Nobody cares if you missed OTAs."

Brown also said Randle is doing well in meetings.

RBs coach Gary Brown misses OTAs

June, 4, 2013
6/04/13
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IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown has missed the last couple of organized team activities because of a medical emergency regarding a family member.

Brown left the team late last week and is expected back soon.

Coach Jason Garrett said the offensive coaching staff has filled in for Brown.

"There is so much thought about his family," Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Tuesday.

The family illness has not been disclosed.
The Dallas Cowboys' running unit finished 31st in the NFL in 2012 and starter DeMarco Murray, who missed six games with a foot injury, rushed for 663 yards.

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Murray's yardage totals ranked 56th on the franchises' single-season list.

Why was the rushing attack so bad?

Offensive line? Running backs? Play calling? Tight ends? Fullback? What was it?

Gary Brown, the new running backs coach, offered his thoughts on what went wrong.

"We just left a lot of yards out there," Brown said. "I think a lot of guys just wanted to hit home runs more than get those yards that may be ugly, so to speak. We left a lot of yards out there, and I think they understand that. I think we're going to try and do a great job of getting those yards they left out there."

The Cowboys didn't sign or draft a blocking tight end or another fullback in the offseason, instead selecting Gavin Escobar, a pass-catching tight end in the second round after using a first-round pick on center Travis Frederick.

Running back Joseph Randle was selected in the fifth round.

Brown said the Cowboys value fullback Lawrence Vickers, who is recovering from back surgery, and another year under offensive line coach Bill Callahan should improve things.

"The reason the run game was the way it was last year is a combination of things," Brown said. "We all didn't do the best we could possibly do. The key is to be the best we can be and get that thing going."

Cowboys coaches getting acquainted

February, 23, 2013
2/23/13
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INDIANAPOLIS – Traditionally on the Saturday night of the NFL scouting combine the Cowboys have their staff dinner at St. Elmo Steakhouse in Indianapolis.

As much as the Cowboys are learning about the draftable players, they are also learning about themselves.

The Cowboys have six new assistant coaches with various ties to Jason Garrett: defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, wide receivers coach Derek Dooley, running backs coach Gary Brown and assistant offensive line coach Frank Pollack. Kiffin, Marinelli and Bisaccia were together for years in Tampa Bay before joining the Cowboys.

“It’s really good just to spend time with them, both in football if football environments but also in these kinds of environments,” Garrett said. “Get to know them more, see interaction among those guys. I got a good feel for those guys myself but you got to make sure everybody else is feeling that chemistry and developing that chemistry that is so important on the staff. We hired really good guys. They are good people. They love football. They love teaching football. We are trying to get on the same page. It has been a fun couple of weeks.”

Gary Brown's player résumé is a plus

February, 15, 2013
2/15/13
2:11
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IRVING, Texas – Gary Brown played eight years in the NFL for three different teams and has two 1,000-yard seasons to his credit.

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His résumé as a player should help him as the Cowboys’ new running backs coach.

“Well, I think what happens is it gives you a little bit of reprieve because they know that you’ve played, but then you have to prove you know what you’re talking about,” Brown said. “You have to prove that you’re there for their best interests and make sure they’re the best player, and you try to do that every time you go out there. And hopefully these guys realize that and they go out and have some fun with this.”

Brown was the final assistant added to the Cowboys’ staff after a five-year run in Cleveland in which he had two 1,000-yard rushers (Trent Richardson and Peyton Hillis)

“Basically, I just kind of coach the way I wanted to be coached when I was playing,” Brown said. “I want to be honest. I want to be fair. I want to work hard and just go out and do the best we can. I’m not that type, screamer, yeller type. I just want to teach and get the guys playing the best they can.”

Brown knows enough about DeMarco Murray to realize the Cowboys have to figure out ways to keep the third-year runner healthy. He also knows the Cowboys need to have at least two viable options in the backfield.

“I think anytime you want two guys who can produce, and that’s any team,” Brown said. “That’s Cleveland last year, we wanted to have two. In high school we wanted to have two. In college we wanted to have two. You always want to have two, but you want to have that guy that when it’s third-and-1 you can count on, when it’s time to close the game out you have that guy. We’re looking to make DeMarco that guy, and hopefully we can get a second guy to take a little bit of pressure off.”

Cowboys announce hiring of RB coach

February, 11, 2013
2/11/13
4:20
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The Dallas Cowboys announced the hiring of running backs coach Gary Brown on Monday.

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Brown replaces Skip Peete, who was let go after the 2012 season. Peete was later hired by the Chicago Bears.

Brown spent the last five seasons as the running backs coach of the Cleveland Browns.

Last season under Brown, No. 3 overall pick Trent Richardson rushed for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns, tying a franchise record for a rookie with three 100-yard games.

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Brown takes over a unit that finished 31st in the NFL in rushing with 1,265 yards, the lowest in a 16-game season in franchise history. DeMarco Murray led the Cowboys with 663 rushing yards on 161 carries in 2012. However, he missed six games with a severely sprained foot.

Backup Felix Jones is a free agent and most likely won't return. The Cowboys also have Phillip Tanner and Lance Dunbar on the roster.

Cowboys to hire Gary Brown as RB coach

February, 8, 2013
2/08/13
12:07
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The Dallas Cowboys will hire Gary Brown as their running backs coach, according to a source.

Brown replaces Skip Peete, who was released with a year remaining on his contract.

Brown joins the Cowboys after spending four seasons with the Cleveland Browns. In 2010, Brown coached Peyton Hillis, who became just the third running back in Browns history to rush for 11 or more touchdowns in a season.

Brown's hiring most likely completes Dallas' offensive coaching staff.
Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett left Mobile, Ala., with the rest of his coaching staff Wednesday afternoon after doing some extensive interviews for several vacant positions.

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Garrett needs to hire a running backs coach after the team elected not to retain Skip Peete, who took over the same position for the Chicago Bears.

The Cowboys have expressed interest in several coaches, including Sam Gash, Gary Brown and Tim Spencer.

Gash was the Detroit Lions' running backs coach from 2007-12 and played for five NFL teams.

Brown was in charge of the Cleveland Browns' running backs from 2009-12. Brown played for three NFL teams.

Spencer, who used to play with the San Diego Chargers, led the Chicago Bears running backs since 2004 until he was let go after the 2012 season.

Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said he didn't expect to finalize the coaching staff with Garrett while they were in Mobile, site of the Senior Bowl. Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said the defensive coaching staff is complete. Kiffin added just one coach, Rod Marinelli, to coach the defensive line.

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