FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Kellen Moore is the new quarterbacks coach for the Dallas Cowboys after spending the previous three seasons as the backup to Tony Romo and then Dak Prescott.
Moore’s move is part of a significant overhaul to coach Jason Garrett’s staff. Although offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli are returning, eight new coaches and two promotions were announced Friday.
Sanjay Lal, who has worked with receivers for four NFL teams over the past 11 seasons, is the new receivers coach in what could be a crucial year for 2014 All-Pro Dez Bryant‘s future in Dallas. After spending last season with Indianapolis, Lal replaces Derek Dooley, who left to become offensive coordinator at Missouri.
The other newcomers are Paul Alexander (offensive line), Ken Amato (defensive assistant), Doug Colman (assistant special teams), Doug Nussmeier (tight ends), Markus Paul (assistant strength) and Kris Richard (passing game coordinator/defensive backs).
Ben Bloom was promoted to linebackers coach, and former special teams assistant Keith O’Quinn will take over that unit.
The staff shake-up came after the Cowboys finished 9-7 in a season marred by 2016 All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott‘s six-game suspension a year after Dallas had an NFC-best 13 wins.
The 29-year-old Moore spent six seasons in the NFL, the first three with Detroit as an undrafted free agent out of Boise State. He ended up as the backup in Dallas because of his ties to Linehan with the Lions.
Moore played just three regular-season games in his career, all of them after Romo broke his collarbone for the second time during the 2015 season and the Cowboys had benched both of Romo’s other backups, Brandon Weeden and Matt Cassel.
Moore likely would have started in 2016 when Romo broke his back in a preseason game, but Moore broke an ankle during practice in training camp.
The injury to Moore made Prescott the backup, and the former Mississippi State star went on to have one of the best rookie seasons for a quarterback in NFL history. Moore was Prescott’s trusted confidant as his backup last season.
The Cowboys gave the QB coaching job to Moore after deciding not to bring back Wade Wilson, who held the job for 11 seasons. Linehan also works closely with quarterbacks.
Matt Eberflus also was among the coaches who left the Dallas staff. The former linebackers coach and passing game coordinator agreed to become defensive coordinator for the Colts when they were planning to hire Josh McDaniels.
After McDaniels changed his mind and returned to New England, the Colts said they would honor the deals with the assistants who had agreed to come and hired new coach Frank Reich.
Former Dallas special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia took the same job under Jon Gruden in Oakland. Alexander replaced Frank Pollack, the new offensive line coach in Cincinnati. Other coaches who didn’t return were Joe Baker (secondary) and Steve Loney, who retired after one season in charge of the tight ends.