Jason Witten, Al Harris And How Coach McCarthy's Cowboys Staff Is Coming Together

Mike Fisher

FRISCO - We've addressed most of new head coach Mike McCarthy staff changes within the Dallas Cowboys, but two recent standout players came up anew in our conversation with McCarthy here at The Star on Thursday.

Jason Witten remains in play ... in some way.

Al Harris is coming aboard as a secondary coach.

Witten is the toughest call; McCarthy mentioned that should the legendary tight end opt to retire that there could certainly be a lower-level staff spot made available to him.

"I had a great conversation with Jason and he's got a number of things he's thinking about," McCarthy said. "I think that's what he's working through right now."

Harris was a standout player for McCarthy in Green Bay who has moved into coaching (he's been a Kansas City assistant) and he's joining the Dallas staff to help with the secondary along with Maurice "Mo'' Linguist, a Texas native most recently assisting at Texas A&M. 

The other spots:


Offensive coordinator - Kellen Moore is not only keeping his job but is also going to call plays.

"We're still working through that, but my goal is for him to be the play caller,'' McCarthy said.

Offensive line coach - Joe Philbin, a long-time McCarthy guy, comes to Dallas, possibly with the coming title of "assistant head coach.'' His top aid will be Jeff Blasko, formerly of the Green Bay and Browns staffs.

QBs coach - Doug Nussmeier moves from tight ends coach to Dak Prescott's position coach. apparently with the endorsement of the QB and of Moore. McCarthy said he worked quickly to secure Nussmeier.

"That was probably one of my first hires after the coordinator because of the relationship there between Kellen and Doug and the quarterbacks and building off of what's in place here," McCarthy said. 

Running backs coach - Skip Peete is back. He worked in Dallas from 2007-12 and he and McCarthy coached together as young GAs at Pitt 30 years ago.

Tight ends coach - Lunda Wells comes over from the Giants. Can Jason Witten help out here?

Wide receivers coach - Dallas is interviewing Adam Henry, who was in Cleveland last year.


Defensive coordinator - Mike Nolan, a long-time associate of McCarthy, takes over here.

Defensive line coach - Jim Tomsula has previous NFL head coaching experience and has been a D-line coach for 11 NFL seasons. Incumbent Leon Lett may get a chance to stick under him.

Linebackers coach - Scott McCurley comes over from his 13 years in Green Bay.

Secondary coaches - It's the aforementioned Linguist and Harris, with definitions to be determined.


Special teams coordinator - John Fassel, formerly of the Rams, is one of the best in the business.


Dallas is moving away from Mike Woicik and has openings here.