Cowboys assistant head coach Rob Davis has important role with team, but it’s not what many might think


Who on Earth is Rob Davis? That’s a question many supporters of the Dallas Cowboys are asking, and his sudden hiring to Mike McCarthy’s new staff this offseason raised some eyebrows. After all, he has no coaching experience — at any level of football — but is now the assistant head coach of literally the most valuable team in all of sports. While it’s fair to wonder where McCarthy is going with this, those who know and have worked with Davis have nothing but high praise for him.

Randall Cobb is one such person, and the veteran wide receiver immediately rubber-stamped McCarthy’s decision to bring Davis on-staff.

“That man is a legend,” he said.

That’s a strong endorsement from the usually-reserved Cobb, and it hints at the combination of Davis plus McCarthy being enough to keep the Pro Bowler in Dallas for 2020. That would certainly please Davis, who knows Cobb well from their time together as members of the Green Bay Packers organization. 

Davis and the Packers parted ways in 2018, but he first spent an entire decade as the club’s director of player personnel, hired into the role in 2008 by McCarthy, who was so impressed with Davis’ football acumen he awarded him the job only one year after Davis retired from the NFL — having spent his previous decade as long snapper for the very same Packers. After a stint in the private sector, Davis is back in football and tasked with helping McCarthy make the Cowboys contenders again.

And while he’s labeled as assistant head coach, a source initially framed the hiring to CBS Sports as having nothing to do with X’s and O’s. Davis himself essentially confirmed as much in speaking with the media this offseason, identifying himself as someone who won’t truly be involved with coaching what happens inside the lines, but instead what goes out outside of them.

“Most of my post-playing career has been in the life-coaching space, trying to develop high-performing teams and develop young men into better men and better players,” he said. “We’re going to start there. Players don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

It’s Davis’ ability to empathize that’s helped him find success in those goals, and readily ingratiates him with NFL players who aren’t always prepared for the money and potential stardom they acquire once they achieve their lifelong dream of playing in the league. 

“The NFL can provide a lot of distractions for these young men coming into the league,” he said. “Most of us come from humble beginnings, middle class all the way down to poverty, and sometimes this can be pretty big for us when we walk into the NFL.”

So, yes, Davis will help if and as needed with whatever else McCarthy requires, but his primary job is to make sure Cowboys players are prospering off-the-field and, at minimum, are staying far away from negative headlines. Considering the team’s perennial issues with the latter, Davis could make his presence felt in that respect almost immediately. 

“They’re going to do the X’s and O’s, and I hope to provide assistance with both the X’s and O’s, but, more importantly, in the life and development of the whole player,” Davis said.

McCarthy wants to change the culture of the Cowboys, and adding Davis as his right-hand man is just another example of how dedicated he is to seeing his plan through. It’s also a nod to owner Jerry Jones and Co., who are allowing him the freedom to construct the blueprint as he sees fit — shedding the stubbornness that saw them glued to Jason Garrett for nearly a decade.

It’s a new day in Dallas, and nothing thus far points to that statement being hyperbole. 





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