Having been a head coach, a coordinator and an assistant, Paul Pasqualoni brings a wealth of experience and intensity to the Cowboys.
by John Tranchina
They say everything happens for a reason.
When Paul Pasqualoni was relieved of his duties as defensive coordinator of the Miami Dolphins after the 2009 season, one door shut for him, but another one opened almost immediately with an offer to rejoin the Cowboys.
After two years in South Florida, Pasqualoni jumped at the chance to return to Dallas, coming aboard this time as the defensive line coach. In his first stint with the club, Pasqualoni coached tight ends in 2005, and then switched over to linebackers in ’06 and ’07 before following a group of former Cowboys front office personnel to Miami.
But when Todd Grantham left Dallas to become the University of Georgia’s defensive coordinator last January, Pasqualoni was thrilled to come back.
“It’s been a lot of fun. We had a really positive experience the first time we were here,” says Pasqualoni, “so when the opportunity presented itself, it was a very easy decision to make, both professionally for myself and for my family, who really enjoyed being here in the Metroplex.”
And while the D-Line performed well last season, contributing to a dominant defensive unit overall, the group has clearly benefited from Pasqualoni’s presence. The wealth of experience that he brings to the table – which totals 38 years of coaching overall, including a 14-year stint as head coach at Syracuse – has earned him immense respect from his players.
“I think he’s almost legendary,” says two-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Jay Ratliff. “Everyone in the league knows who he is. You see players around the league and they always ask, ‘Hey, how’s Coach P doing?’ So that says something about him right there. And everybody he coached, he made them all better. We’re trying to take in everything he says, cling on every single word, asking a lot of questions. I’ve probably asked more questions than I ever have in my whole career since he’s been here, just because I know what kind of coach I have.”
“Paul’s résumé speaks for itself; he knows what he’s doing,” adds sixth-year defensive end Marcus Spears. “Just the high level of intensity, for me being a veteran, it actually helps me because I’m learning how to pay even more attention to detail with the way that he coaches.”
Head coach Wade Phillips credits Pasqualoni with helping defensive end Stephen Bowen become a more polished, all-around contributor.
“I think Bowen has played well and I think Paul Pasqualoni’s been good for him,” Phillips says. “Technique-wise and detail-wise, I think Paul is really good for him and I think it’s really helped Bowen.”
“He’s made us pay a lot of attention to detail,” confirms Bowen, the third down pass-rusher in his fifth year with Dallas. “All the little things matter and that’s the way we can make a difference. There’s not anything we won’t know going into the game. He gives us a lot of confidence. He’s a very intense guy, hands-on. Everybody’s rallying around him.”
For his part, Pasqualoni, who is actually a former schoolteacher, enjoys immersing himself in different aspects of the game, so coaching the defensive line has offered him a chance to learn the nuances of another new position...
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