Dallas Cowboys: Doug Nussmeier to Offensive Coordinator?

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders perform as the Dallas Cowboys take on the Detroit Lions at AT&T Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 30: The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders perform as the Dallas Cowboys take on the Detroit Lions at AT&T Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

While #CowboysNation patiently waits for the Dallas Cowboys to announce they have moved on from Scott Linehan, the rumors have already started that Doug Nussmeier is the OC in waiting.

Ask just about any fan of the Dallas Cowboys and they will tell you that the first thing the team needs to fix is the offensive coordinator. There is little doubt the Cowboys need to move on from Scott Linehan and his antiquated and predictable offensive play-calling. While every fan has, or had, ideas of who the Cowboys should hire, rumors have begun that Doug Nussmeier is the OC in waiting.

As I have talked to many fans this weekend, I found only one that was fine with Linehan staying. Not a lot of support for Scott swirling around CowboysNation. Everyone was abuzz about who the Cowboys would choose to go after. Then Monday happened and Jason Garrett made the mistake on radio to say he didn’t see much, if any, change to the coaching staff. Social media almost melted just as this alone.

Then around 2pm Central Time, Jason Garrett took the podium for a press conference. What a difference a few hours made, and I am sure Stephen Jones and Jerry Jones had something to do with it, Jason performed some world-class backpedaling and said they hadn’t discussed the staff at all and would start talking about it today. First, they were going to focus on coaching the Pro Bowl. So we still may not hear anything for a few weeks, we might, but either way let’s assume it will happen.

Sometime after the game, people started asking insiders like Mike Fisher and Bobby Belt who they thought the next OC would be. The one name that consistently came up was Doug Nussmeier, the tight ends coach. For three days now, Nussmeier is the one constant name that keeps popping up.

A caveat, this isn’t to say Nussmeier is in fact going to be the next OC. The Cowboys would be stupid to not put some feelers out to some of the other names available. Sure, teams are hiring the Munchaks, Kubiaks, and many other names. But there are still names out there, I am sure they will at least send out feelers about. This is not about those names, not yet at least.

So what is it about Doug Nussmeier? Well, look no further than week 17 against the New York Giants. All indications have been Nussmeier was heavily involved in that play-calling and strategy. The Cowboys looked really good in week 17, in fact they looked vastly different from anything they had in any other game this season, including the playoffs. It was a breath of fresh air.

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Keeping Nussmeier makes some sense if you look beyond the surface of him being a part of this offense as it is currently run. If he is the guy who was responsible for week 17, then keeping him would help the Cowboys out. The terminology and concepts wouldn’t change, which of course helps Dak Prescott. The big differences would be how the game is called, planned for, and how open the playbook can actually get, and how fast they can get there.

When Nussmeier was a quarterback at Idaho, Linehan was the offensive coordinator. Heck, Linehan was the Idaho quarterback only six years prior to Nussmeier playing there. They know each other well, and they know the system well. Nussmeier was the QB coach for the Rams under Scott Linehan. For good and bad, Nussmeier’s understanding of the system means the learning curve for Dak Prescott into a new system shrinks exponentially to almost nil.

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However, looking at Nussmeier’s history, you can’t really tell if he really is the guy. Nussmeier first coached Dan Crowley in the CFL. Crowley threw that year 454 times, rushed only 41, he was a pocket passer. Then Nussmeier coached quarterbacks, Jeff Smoker, Drew Stanton, Marc Bulger (under Linehan in St. Louis), Tom Brandstater, Jake Locker, AJ McCarron, Devin Gardner, and a mess at Florida. None of those names were nimble, on the move, quarterback that Dak Prescott is.

Where Nussmeier has excelled with quarterbacks is pocket presence. All of the quarterbacks above usually had better pocket presence after Nussmeier had them for a season. However, none of them were RPO style quarterbacks, and he has never really been in an RPO system.

I am not saying he can’t be that guy, but he hasn’t been that guy.

So while we all wait for what we hope is official work on Linehan being shown the door, we should be looking at who will replace him. That list apparently starts with Doug Nussmeier.

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If week 17 was in fact Nussmeier then there is some hope. If not, then it could be more of the same. We shall find out soon enough, until then Go Cowboys!

  • Published on 01/15/2019 at 18:01 PM
  • Last updated at 01/15/2019 at 15:39 PM