It didn’t take long for the Dallas Cowboys to replace tight ends coach Wes Phillips, who bolted for the Washington Redskins’ open position. Less than a week later, the Cowboys snagged New York Giants tight ends coach Mike Pope, the only true candidate they considered when Phillips left. Put simply, this is a terrific hire.
Sure, that’s hard to believe considering how poorly Jason Garrett, Bill Callahan and Monte Kiffin performed this past season, but Dallas has a four-time Super Bowl-winning coach to try and make something out of James Hanna and Gavin Escobar while also making Jason Witten an elite player on a league-wide scale once again. Granted, that last point is mostly attributed to Callahan’s horrific play-calling, but Witten has become the titan of a tight end he is mostly on his own. With a coach like Pope to get picky, he could match the numbers of guys like Jimmy Graham.
But the main reason why Pope is a great hire by Dallas is he’s the perfect man to get the most out of youngsters like Escobar and Hanna. This is the same coach who actually got some production out of Martellus Bennett and in the eyes of Cowboys fans, that means he’s a miracle-worker. Pope also made superb pass-catchers (and decent blockers) out of Jeremy Shockey, Kevin Boss and Jake Ballard, two of which you had never hard of previously. Not too shabby.
As mentioned, Pope has been on the staff of four Super Bowl-winning teams. In fact, he’s the only coach to own all four of the Giants’ rings, dating back to the first one in 1986 on Bill Parcells’ staff. In Dallas, that’s huge because right now, the Cowboys don’t have many coaches with that kind of track record. Pope will do great things in Dallas, maybe even make a decent blocker out of Escobar.