By Nick Shook
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Fresh off a 13-3 season upon which any franchise would love to build, the Cowboys took it one step further and locked up some important coaches.
Dallas reached agreements on extensions with coordinators Scott Linehan, Rod Marinelli and special teams coach Rich Bisaccia, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per sources informed of their situations. The deals were struck weeks ago, but avoid lame duck status for the coaches, Rapoport added.
Linehan’s masterful job of designing (in tandem with head coach Jason Garrett) an offense in which rookie quarterback Dak Prescott could thrive from kickoff weekend onward is more than deserving of an extension, and Dallas was wise to do so after the season. Linehan’s first run as a head coach wasn’t memorable, and at 53, he could be content with being an offensive coordinator for the rest of his career. But the Cowboys didn’t finish 13-3 because Prescott is the second coming of Sammy Baugh — it’s because Linehan crafted a run-reliant offense that used Prescott’s skills to his advantage when tasked with throwing the ball. The result was a quarterback who grew comfortable as the season progressed and the rest of the team continued to improve.
That development made Linehan one to watch for future coordinator gigs — until the Cowboys secured him in Dallas beyond 2017.
The numbers on Linehan’s offense: 376.7 yards per game (fifth in the NFL), 149.8 rushing yards per game (second), 226.9 passing yards per game (23rd) and 26.3 points per game (fifth).
Marinelli’s bend-but-don’t-break defense worked for much of the season (save for a few shootouts), all the way up until the thrilling NFC divisional round contest against Green Bay that didn’t go the Cowboys‘ way. Dallas saw defensive backs depart in free agency and will need to restock the cupboard on that side of the ball, but continuity is key for any franchise that hopes to maintain success. These extensions again prove why Jerry Jones’ Cowboys are one of the model franchises in the NFL.