Brian Baker Hired – Garrett’s staff starting to come together


Building Something
Garrett’s Staff Starting To Come Together

Josh Ellis – Staff Writer

Baker has 15 years of NFL coaching experience, spending the last two with the Panthers.

IRVING, Texas – With Super Bowl XLV out of the way, the Cowboys are back to the full-time business of preparing for next season, with item No. 1 being the finalization of Jason Garrett’s first coaching staff.

On Tuesday the team was closing in on a new defensive line coach, and were expected to announce the hiring of Brian Baker, who had recently been named defensive coordinator of the University of North Carolina, although he won’t see his first season there. Baker was defensive line coach of the Carolina Panthers for the last two years, before being washed out with head coach John Fox at the end of 2010. He has been working with NFL D-line groups for 13 of the last 15 years, save for a stint coaching linebackers in Minnesota from 2002-03.

Baker would be the second defensive assistant hired to work under new Cowboys coordinator Rob Ryan. Last week the team announced linebackers coach Matt Eberflus, who was with Ryan on the Cleveland Browns staff in 2009 and 2010. Baker has no ties to Ryan or Garrett, however.

At the end of the season, the Cowboys defensive coordinator and defensive line positions were filled by the same man, Paul Pasqualoni, who departed to become the head coach at the University of Connecticut.

In addition to Baker, the Cowboys are also soon expected to announce the hiring of a new defensive quality control coach, Ben Bloom, who was with Ryan’s Browns staff as a defensive assistant.

With those defensive positions to apparently be filled soon, the Cowboys only have a few spots remaining on their staff, which they could attempt to fill before the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis at the end of the month. The team must name a wide receivers coach to replace the departed Ray Sherman, and has interviewed two candidates for a new assistant offensive line job, although both Bruce Matthews of the Texans and Dan Campbell of the Dolphins elected to stay with their current teams.

Offensive assistants Wade Wilson, Skip Peete, John Garrett and Hudson Houck will all return, along with special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis and kicking consultant Chris Boniol. Secondary coach Dave Campo is also continuing normally, despite an NFL Network report on Tuesday that stated the team had reached out to Pittsburgh defensive backs coach Ray Horton. The Cowboys also turned down the Texans’ request to interview safeties coach Brett Maxie. Houston hired linebackers coach Reggie Herring away from the Cowboys, reuniting him with Wade Phillips, the Texans’ new defensive coordinator.

Additionally, with strength and conditioning coach Joe Juraszek on a leave of absence, the Cowboys will need to identify a replacement for the interim or longer. Assistant strength coach Tony Ollison took over those duties as the 2010 season wound to a close.

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