Aden Durde explains every day life because the Dallas Cowboys' D-Line coach

Aden Durde began his football career from a humble background, playing in London for the Olympians and later the Scottish Claymores before making training teams for the Carolina Panthers and Kansas City Chiefs. Durde is now a valued defensive line coach with the Dallas Cowboys, where his focus includes slowing down opposing quarterbacks and also developing pass rushing strategies.

M&F sat down with Durde to find out how a man from Middlesex, England became such an integral part of the Dallas Cowboys and how his unit works to bring out the best in the team.

A quick internet search for Aden Durde brings up extremely positive reviews, and many people credit him with helping make the Cowboys defensive line one of the most efficient in the entire NFL. That's not the kind of fanfare the serene Durde will invoke, however, who simply explains that success is teamwork and it takes a highly skilled team like defensive coordinator Dan Quinn to enact change within a team.

Of course, one of the wilder aspects of coaching with the Dallas Cowboys is not just the staff, but learning to live with some of these extreme temperatures. "You know what, the weather in Texas is crazy," says Durde. "It's ridiculously hot in the summer. I think last year they had about 30 days that were 100 degrees or more. Then for the last two years they've had these weeks where there's been ice storms and it's been minus 20. Recently it was only 77 and the next day it was zero.”

The Cowboys train primarily at The Star in Frisco, TX, a 91-acre campus that also serves as the team's headquarters. But where exactly a player at The Star should train and for how long is a constant consideration for staff. “It can affect things like training. If the ball needs to be thrown, maybe we'll go inside. But even when it's super cold, if we train outside, we train outside."

Aden Durde/NFL

Aden Durde has traveled widely with the NFL

Durde first interned with the Atlanta Falcons, where he was later offered a job, and he also interned with the Cowboys, which he now calls home. He is the NFL's first full-time British coach and a defensive specialist who has worked tirelessly to help others walk the same path he has done by working with the NFL Academy, a major initiative aimed at bringing American Using football to create life-changing opportunities for young people in the UK. (Learn more about NFL Academy.) But wherever a potential superstar might come from, what is Durde looking for in the next great player?

“Suppose there are 11 players in the game. Within those 11 players, there are probably around eight to eleven positions that you can play [scout for]' Durde says. "And then you kind of break them down into physical traits and dissect those and how those traits relate to the game." When it comes to spotting talent, Durde is highly skilled. In addition to being involved with the NFL Academy, he also worked on a program called the International Player Pathway, in which his crew sought out athletes who had not yet played football. "You would have to predict what position they would play and train them in that position if they had a specific movement or physical characteristic," he shares.

Durde recalls seeing a rugby player on film and being impressed by his reaction speed and agility. It seems that the secret to finding great soccer players is casting the net wide. Durde also says it was of great value to him to see how Dan Quinn was able to observe players and spot qualities that could help the team. "He did a good job changing our course," says Durde. "And hopefully we will keep moving forward."

Hard work pays off for Aden Durde and the Dallas Cowboys

"The defense we're playing now is different than the defense we were playing before," Durde reflects on the team's recent improvements. The Cowboys' dropback success rate and rush success rate have both improved massively in 2022 compared to the previous year. Durde says one of the secrets of The Cowboy's recent successes is giving everyone a chance to be heard and contribute ideas. "You watch so many movies," he shares. "So you see a lot of people doing different things and you think, 'This could work for us.'" Durde prides himself on seeing opportunities that he can transfer to his team. "Part of it is creating it in your mind and part of it is designing it," says Durde of developing his strategy. These strategies are then tried, researched and tested in the field to see if they pass the muster.

Building the ultimate soccer player involves more than one unit. Durde says he has a great relationship with strength and conditioning coaches like Harold Nash Jr. and they work together to determine what a player needs to get more out of their performance. Then there is the recreational aspect. "These things are at the forefront of people's minds," says Durde. “Like sleep, hydration, the food they put into their bodies. I think it's becoming the focus of a lot of conversations more and more. Especially if we're playing some night games, so you have to keep those things in mind.

For many readers, the big question will be how players are rated after a game. "You do that the day after the game," says Durde. “They watch the game and talk about it as a group. Then you go with her [individual] Players and talk to these guys about it.” But how easy is it to criticize today's NFL superstars? "I think as long as you're honest and talking about growing what you can achieve, I don't think it's a negative conversation," Durde says. “If something needs fixing, we need to fix it. Sometimes it doesn't need to be fixed, they might do it really well and they talk about it too.”

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