COVID-19 to have ripple effect on multiple Cowboys coaches for Week 13

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The Cowboys’ roster has been harangued by COVID-19 all season long, with the virus affecting more players in Dallas than any other locker room in the league.

Now it’s working its way though the coaching staff, too, causing a ripple effect of gameday duties.

The Cowboys have announced that offensive line coach Joe Philbin, assistant offensive line coach Joe Blasko, and coaching assistant Scott Tolzien have entered the league’s COVID-19 protocol and will miss Thursday night’s game against the Saints.

Their absences will put several other Cowboys staffers in new roles on a fill-in basis.

“We have some different scenarios of exactly how we’re going to work the week,” head coach Mike McCarthy said Sunday in a conference call with media members.

Those scenarios include tight end coach Lunda Wells, quality control coach Chase Haslett, and Ben McAdoo, who has been serving the team in a consultant role, scouting future opponents.

Wells’s first coaching job was as an offensive line assistant at LSU for two seasons; he did the same job again with the New York Giants from 2013 to 2017.

Haslett is the son of former NFL coach Jim Haslett. He was hired by Dallas in 2020 after gaining offensive coaching experience at Nebraska, Mississippi State, and Mercer.

McAdoo’s name is most familiar as the head coach of the Giants in 2016 and most of 2017. Most of his body of work as a coach comes on the offensive side of the ball, working with the offensive line, tight ends, or quarterbacks.

Now all three will pitch in on getting the Cowboys’ line- without Terence Steele, who has also tested positive for COVID– ready for New Orleans.

As for whether McCarthy himself will get personally more involved with that unit for the Week 13 game, the coach had this to say:

“I think the biggest thing is just to make sure that the job description and responsibility is always tight. We feel really good about our game plan process. How we’ll do the group meetings, we’ll spend a little more time together as a group. This is something that I think that this an opportunity for young coaches to take advantage of. Definitely, I’ll be where I need to be this week.”

Philbin tested positive for the virus last week and missed the Thanksgiving Day game versus Las Vegas, as did assistant strength and conditioning coaches Kendall Smith and Cedric Smith.

Blasko handled O-line coaching responsibilities on Thursday; he and Tolzien turned in positive COVID tests since then.

Following the clash with the Saints, the Cowboys will have nine full days off before beginning their final five-game stretch of the regular season, in which they’ll play four divisional games and one against the NFC’s top seed Arizona Cardinals.

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