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Ex-Rams Coach John Fassel Hired as Cowboys Special Teams Coordinator

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst III

Los Angeles Rams Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel smiles during an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Paul Sancya/Associated Press

The Dallas Cowboys announced Mike McCarthy as their new head coach Tuesday afternoon, and the former Green Bay Packers head coach is already fast at work putting together his new staff after adding former Rams coach John Fassel to the group as special teams coordinator.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero first reported the potential hire on Tuesday.

The 45-year-old has served as the Rams' special teams coordinator since 2012, most notably helping the team reach the Super Bowl last season.

"#Cowboys owner Jerry Jones once said, 'Special teams is a total reflection of coaching,'" NFL Network's Ian Rapoport added. "No more issues there for Dallas."

Keith O'Quinn served as the special teams coordinator in Dallas last season and has been coaching in various roles for the Cowboys since 2010.

Special teams was an issue for the 8-8 Cowboys in 2019. The unit performed especially poorly in a 13-9 loss to the New England Patriots in Week 12, which included a blocked punt and a missed 46-yard field goal. Jones did not hold back on criticism afterward.

"When you've got the ability to get in here and kind of understand that when it's a sloppy day, special teams can rule the day," Jones said, per David Helman of the team's official website. "And they've got a coach that knows how to play this game, they did a good job of that."

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Jones continued:

"I think that every aspect of special teams, when you really look at it, have been problematic for us. There's no question about that.

[...]

"To me, special teams is 100 percent coaching. It's 100 percent coaching. It's strategy, it's having players ready. That's why, today, (New England head coach Bill) Belichick—give him credit. They did a great job on special teams, and that was really, probably the determining difference. But special teams is nothing but coaching."

O'Quinn kept his job, though:

Ed Werder @WerderEdESPN

Source: Despite the intense criticism from owner and GM Jerry Jones, the #Cowboys will make no immediate changes to Jason Garrett’s coaching staff. Jones criticized the special teams specifically. But special teams coordinator Keith O’Quinn will remain in that position.

According to Football Outsiders, the Cowboys' special teams unit ranked 30th in DVOA.

Dallas brass waited until the conclusion of the season—the Cowboys missed the postseason after failing to beat the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 16 that would have clinched them the NFC East—to shake up the coaching staff. Head coach Jason Garrett was fired Sunday after holding that position since 2010.

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