Cowboys letting Matt Eberflus go to Colts proving to be a huge mistake
By Jerry Trotta
The Cowboys let current Colts DC Matt Eberflus leave three seasons ago without trying to convince him to stay and we can’t stop laughing.
To say that the Indianapolis Colts have a gem of a defensive coordinator in Matt Eberflus would be a colossal understatement. While the defense made improvements in each of his first two seasons at the helm, the strides they’ve taken in 2020 pales in comparison to those campaigns.
Through Week 10, the unit is finally being recognized as one of the NFL’s best, ranking first in total yards allowed (290.6) and fourth in points allowed (19.7) per game. Those numbers come despite the fact that Indianapolis blitzes the fifth-fewest of any team in the league (19.4%), which speaks to their depth and discipline.
The job Eberflus has done will likely see him resurface on the coaching carousel when the season is over, and rightfully so. While it goes without saying that the Colts will do everything possible to convince him to say, the same cannot be said for the Dallas Cowboys, who inexplicably let him walk in January of 2018 seemingly without batting an eyelash.
Eberflus served as the Cowboys’ linebackers coach from 2011 to 2016 and was promoted to the passing game coordinator the following season. Dallas had long viewed him as their DC of the future, but when the time came to choose between him and Rod Marinelli, they tried to keep both around and it blew up in their face.
Knowing that he was ready for a promotion to defensive coordinator — and being annoyed with the Cowboys for rejecting his request to interview for the San Francisco 49ers’ DC vacancy — Eberflus declined Dallas’ contract extension, which they also offered to Marinelli.
If this doesn’t prove that the Cowboys don’t know how to evaluate anything properly, then nothing will. Their defense was woefully inconsistent across Marinelli’s four-year run as lead coordinator prior to 2018, meaning they had every reason to demote him to a position specialist and give Eberflus a long overdue promotion to DC.
Instead, however, the Cowboys convinced themselves that Eberflus would be content with never taking that next step in his coaching career, and ultimately let him leave for the Colts, where he’s established himself as one of the best defensive minds in the sport.
Marinelli, meanwhile, was unsurprisingly let go by Dallas after Mike McCarthy was hired as head coach last offseason and their defense is currently a laughingstock. That’s what we like to call poetic justice.