Jon Kitna right coach for Cowboys QB Dak Prescott

Jon Kitna
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott throws a pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has had three position coaches in his career, but the club feels they got it right for 2019 with ex-NFL journeyman Jon Kitna.

Kitna, who spent time with the Cowboys as Tony Romo’s backup from 2009-11 and a one-game stint in 2013, takes over for Kellen Moore, who was promoted to offensive coordinator in January. What coach Jason Garrett appreciates most about Kitna is his ability to relate to others.

“Kitna has an amazing way with people,” Garrett told reporters Saturday during rookie minicamp at The Star. “He’s able to connect with lots of different kind of people, young and old, offense, defense, he just had that way about him when he was playing. And I think that really served him well throughout his playing career. But always good questions, always interested in what we’re doing, always thinking about why we’re doing things. Just a really fun guy to coach. It does not surprise me one bit that he went into coaching afterwards.”

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Kitna coached at Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington, after his playing career finished in 2012. In 2015, Kitna moved back to Dallas-Fort Worth and coached at nearby Waxahachie High School until 2017 when he took a job at Brophy College Preparatory in Phoenix. Kitna was slated to be the offensive coordinator for San Diego Fleet of the now defunct Alliance of American Football in the spring of 2019, but Kitna took the job as the Cowboys’ quarterbacks coach.

The move ultimately benefits Pro Bowl quarterback Dak Prescott.

“I think he was coached really well during his career,” Garrett said. “He was well trained when he was a player. He was around Mike Martz a lot of his career and a lot of other really good coaches. He really knows the quarterback position well. I think that is why he was able to play as long as he did. And for as well as he did. I think that is an important foundation that he had. He loves coaching. He loves teaching. He loves being around people.”

Kitna was the starting quarterback for the Detroit Lions under then-coach Rod Marinelli, now Dallas defensive coordinator, in 2006. In that same season, Martz was Kitna’s offensive coordinator. While Kitna didn’t have a meritorious season, No. 1 receiver Roy Williams did as he earned his first career Pro Bowl selection.

Martz isn’t the only great coach Kitna has played for. Kitna played for the Seattle Seahawks from 1996-2000, exposing him to Dennis Erickson and Mike Holmgren. In Cincinnati with the Bengals, Kitna played for Dick LeBeau and Marvin Lewis.

Said Garrett: “He is a smart guy. He is smart about quarterbacks. I think he will do a good job relating to not only Dak but the other quarterbacks and help them grow.”

While Jon Kitna will be coaching at the NFL level for the first time, he has plenty of experience to draw on. If Prescott can also draw on that knowledge, the Dallas offense should take the next step in 2019, a contract year for Prescott.

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