According to Dallas head coach Jason Garrett, it was never part of the master plan. The Cowboys have a total of 26 coaches on their staff. Fifteen of them - more than any other team in the NFL - have prior NFL playing experience. Several of them, including Garrett, played for the Cowboys during their careers. Having a staff full of guys that used to be players in the league seems to be working out for Garrett and the Cowboys, who are hopeful to win a second consecutive NFC East Division title in 2019.
Five Dallas offensive coaches - not including Garrett - not only played in the NFL, but they played for the Cowboys at some point in their career. Garrett played 12 years in the league spending seven as a backup quarterback with Dallas. Garrett's offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore, was playing quarterback in Dallas as recently as 2017. Moore transitioned to coaching last year serving as the team's quarterback coach before moving into his current role this season.
Former Dallas quarterback Jon Kitna, who played 16 total NFL seasons, moved into Moore's role as quarterback coach. Offensive line coach Marc Colombo played 10 years in the league spending the bulk of his career in Dallas. Colombo's career included 72 starts at right tackle for the Cowboys between 2006 and 2010.
The only members of the Cowboys offensive staff that didn't play for Dallas are running backs coach Gary Brown and tight ends coach Doug Nussmeier. Brown played eight seasons in the league and recorded two 1,000-yard seasons. Nussmeier was a quarterback in New Orleans starting two games in two years with the Saints.
Like the offense, the Cowboys defense features some former Cowboys. The biggest name is Leon Lett, the former Cowboys defensive lineman who is now a defensive line assistant. Lett was a member of three Super Bowl champions while a player in Dallas. Carlos Polk and Andre Gurode are not as well-known as Lett, but each played for Dallas. Gurode played in five Pro Bowls as a Cowboy and is now a staff assistant. Polk was a linebacker for Dallas in 2008 and is now a special teams assistant.
Having a staff full of former players does not guarantee anything. The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots have exactly one former NFL player - Jerod Mayo - on their staff. This will be Mayo's first season as an assistant for the Patriots. The same is true of the New York Giants, which have a single former NFL player on the coaching staff. The Giants went 5-11 last season and failed to make the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Having a staff filled with former NFL players does not guarantee wins, but Garrett is hopeful his staff will bring him a second consecutive division title.