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Dallas Cowboys Looking at Mike Pope as Their Next Tight End Coach

January 21st, 2014 at 6:55 AM
By Dan Benton

One of the biggest surprises of the offseason thus far was the New York Giants' decision to part ways with long-time tight end coach Mike Pope — a man who is widely respect around the league and considered to be the very best in the game. What shouldn't come as a surprise is how desirable Pope is on the open market. And teams in need of a new tight end coach, like the Dallas Cowboys who recently lost Wes Phillips to the Washington Redskins, are expected to come calling.

In fact, ESPN's Calvin Watkins reports that the Cowboys are already interested and are eyeing Pope to join Jason Garrett's staff.

Pope, who is the only coach to have his name inscribed on all four of the Giants' Super Bowl trophies, does have a bit of a history with Garrett. Both were with the Giants from 2000-2003 when Pope was coaching tight ends and Garrett was the back-up quarterback behind Kerry Collins (even eventual third string behind Jesse Palmer).

Besides the league-wide belief that Pope is the best in the game at what he does, Jerry Jones, Jason Garrett & Co. have also seen firsthand for years what he's capable of doing with tight ends. Not only have the Cowboys seen Pope mold and develop tight ends like Mark Bavaro, Jeremy Shockey, Kevin Boss and Jake Ballard, but they also watched him turn Martellus Bennett into a quality all-around player after they failed in his early development.

Should Pope end up in Dallas with Jason Witten, who is already a Giants killer, and other young talent at the tight end position, the decision to let him walk could become even more disastrous for New York.

Photo credit: Zruda / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

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Tags: Dallas, Dallas Cowboys, Football, Jake Ballard, Jason Garrett, Jeremy Shockey, Jerry Jones, Kevin Boss, Mark Bavaro, Martellus Bennett, Mike Pope, New York, New York Giants, NFL

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11 Responses to “Dallas Cowboys Looking at Mike Pope as Their Next Tight End Coach”

  1.  kujo says:

    He’s a worthy candidate, a guy who has been at the top of his field for quite some time.

    That said, I’m glad he’s no longer employed by this franchise. Accountability is important, and he’s basically come up empty-handed with guys like Myers, Beckum and Robinson after having successes in Boss, Ballard and Pascoe (and Bennett) most recently.

    Hope he does well for himself. Ditto for Ingram.

    •  jfunk says:

      Beckum and Myers are just no good. That’s not on Pope.

      What happened with Robinson this year is a mystery. Was he just completely unable to come back from his injury and should have been on IR the whole time or did his injury heal and he was still unable to force his way past Pascoe and Donnell for a jersey?

      •  kujo says:

        See, I disagree with the assumption that Beckum was just never going to be any good. Young players have to be groomed, developed, pruned…like a plant. Most guys in college–particularly ones who don’t come in to the NFL with a 1 presumptive position–need to have their techniques honed, or even changed, through concentrated efforts.

        Now, I’m not in practices or meetings, but I just get the sense that they knew Beckum wasn’t ever going to *fit* in Gilbride’s scheme, and so they never did anything to improve him as a player. But that’s speculation–the facts are that he was a draft pick who didn’t pan out, and a portion of the blame for that absolutely lands on the lap of the position coach.

        •  jfunk says:

          I hear you, I just never saw what others did in Beckum.

          People seemed to think he was that typical “tweener” guy that would be able to excel because he was “too fast for a LB, too big for a DB” like other pass catching TEs tend to be.

          However, what I saw was a guy who simply came up short on both of those match ups. He was just too weak to fight through traffic (or even fake blocking) if he lined up inside and not quick enough to beat a DB when he lined up outside.

          Guys similar to Beckum at first glance do well because they can win both of those match ups for different reasons. Beckum did poorly because he instead lost both of those match ups for different reasons.

          •  Nosh.0 says:

            I agree. I’m not a scout but when it comes to skill position guys, it’s fairly easy to see who has ability once they get to the NFL. You simply need to see a flash. A play or 2 where a guy shows some sort of ability.

            We’ve seen flashes from guys like Randle, Jurnigan, and even scrubs like Moss, and Tim Carter. Never once did I see a flash from Beckum.

  2.  Krow says:

    Kind of late in the game to be pulling up stakes and heading for a new team. But I wish him well. As for having any sort of impact on Witten … that’s crazy talk. Witten will play exactly as he always has. Pope will work with the younger guys.

  3.  jfunk says:

    I’ve watched the Welker-Talib collision a few times. Having a hard time seeing what old Billy is complaining about. Looks like a typical pick play to me. It’s not like Welker dove at his legs or anything.

    One can argue whether or not designing a play specifically for the purpose of setting up “incidental contact” is dirty or not…but until the other 31 teams all stop doing it there’s no reason to criticize the Broncos for it just because your DB somehow came out on the wrong end of a collision with one of the smallest guys in the league.

    •  rlhjr says:

      You don’t select players like Beckum and Sintim and find no usage for them.
      This was a basic philosophical disconnect. Not to mention being painfully obvious.

      The team has an MO and the plays selected should fit that MO. Anything less is bad communication disconnect between GM and coaches.
      It’s not like Beckum or Sintim either one were going to be HOF’ers.
      But they were not fits for the way this team did offensive/defensive business. So whatever potential either kid had was derailed by sloppy management on the part of the Giants organization.

      To say they weren’t any good is disingenuous. To say they weren’t any good in this environment is more to the point.

      Belichick has issues with Welker. So his take on the play is expected.
      Crossing patterns are designed to confuse and if possible “pick” off defenders trying to cover in man situations. Pick plays are simply cheating.
      Belichick also has one hell of a hot girlfriend. Off topic but true.

      And the NFL is going to subject illegal hits to a second (video) opinion.
      Guess Goddell got tired of being called out on his obtuse stance what constitutes a legal hit.

      In addition his 95 year old millionaire referees don’t have the visual acuity to make that call. In fact a 35 year old would have a hard time seeing a receiver duck just before a defender made contact.

      Better to get it right instead of destroying the integrity of the game. Let’s see what else Rodger can UNSCREW that was perfectly fine before he arrived.

  4.  James Stoll says:

    Any other offensive position coaches on the chopping block to anyone’s knowledge?

    •  kujo says:

      Neither Ingram nor Pope had transgressions as lengthy, recent or as critical as Pat Flaherty. But he’s got his own wing in the TIMEX center…

      •  jfunk says:

        This is certainly interesting and I’m interested to hear McAdoo’s comments should there ever be any.

        He has some experience as an OL coach too, so it’s note worthy that he immediately dismissed Pope but held on to Flaherty.

        One thing to keep in mind though, this guy has never been a coordinator. It’s not like he has a whole stable of “his guys” he can just call up. “His guys” are mostly McCarthy’s guys and he can’t just bring them all in. Some of the position coaches are likely to stay at first simply because he doesn’t know anybody qualified that he can just call up and have fly out to join him immediately.

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