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Cowboys' Mike McCarthy OUT; Who is ‘Life Coach’ Rob Davis?

"You can have 'strategy,'' Cowboys assistant head coach Rob Davis says. "But, 'Culture eats strategy for breakfast.''
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FRISCO - A reflection back to January 2020 and a visit with then-new Dallas Cowboys staffer Rob Davis, suddenly this week pushed into the spotlight as Dallas' "assistant head coach'' with head coach Mike McCarthy in COVID protocol and unavailable to be physically present at The Star this week and at New Orleans for Thursday's game. ...

We would be fibbing to say that as we were studying and writing about the weekend revelation that Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy is hiring a man named Rob Davis as his "assistant head coach,'' we wondered if something had been lost in translation.

"Assistant head coach'' as a title for someone, no matter McCarthy's friendship and respect for the long-time Packers employee, who has never coached before? 

Maybe they mean "assistant to the head coach''?

So on Monday here inside The Star we simply asked Davis, who has never actually coached before: What exactly is your job description?

"It's pretty fluid right now,'' Davis told us. "Mike and I have a long history and relationship. I played for him (for a decade as the Green Bay long-snapper), worked with him, volunteer-coached at St. Norbert's College. But I've been a life coach for long time. Most of my post-career has been around the life-coaching space, trying to develop high-performance teams and develop young men into being better men and better players.''

It occurred to us that Davis almost sounds like a McCarthy lieutenant and maybe a liaison into the locker room. And indeed, he told us that he will be connected to the leaders in the Cowboys' player programs department (Bryan Wansley), the executive wing (Todd Williams, COO Stephen Jones' right-hand man) and the scouting department (Will McClay).

"All-encompassing,' Davis said of his role, adding, "The locker room is the most important room in the building. No disrespect to any other offices, but Mike wants to make sure the locker room is operating at a high level.''

In short, while Davis, 53, played in the NFL for a decade and while Davis' title in Green Bay was about "personnel,'' he's not as much a scout as he is a "life coach in charge of culture.''"

You can have 'strategy,'' he said. "But as (legendary business consultant) Peter Drucker once talked about, 'Culture eats strategy for breakfast.'We're looking to bring all the pieces together. (McCarthy) put a great staff together. We know the foundation is here with the players. It's rich in history and tradition. So we''re looking forward to doing the best we can to bring a championship here.''

How can Davis best help Dallas achieve that goal? Maybe with the sort of coaching that doesn't include a clipboard and a whistle.

The Cowboys' preparation for Thursday's game against the New Orleans Saints has been greatly impacted by a COVID-19 outbreak that will eliminate starting right tackle Terence Steele, McCarthy and others. Assistants Joe Philbin, Jeff Blasko, Scott Tolzien, Kendall Smith and Cedric Smith have been dealing with COVID. And now Davis will be called upon to help coordinators Kellen Moore, Dan Quinn (who USA Today reports will be the "point person'' oand John Fassel navigate the week.

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