How Dallas Cowboy’s current head coach Jason Garrett still has a job is mind-boggling. Somehow, the Cowboys are still in contention for a playoff spot and NFC East crown. This could happen if they beat the Washington Redskins in their final game of the regular season. Granted, the Eagles must lose to the New York Giants, which isn’t too likely. Owner Jerry Jones feels they have the best chance to make a deep playoff run with Garrett at the helm. It seems Mr. Jones is one of few who feels that way. The fans and media outlets have been calling for Garrett’s job for several seasons now with little to no success to show in the postseason.
By the Numbers
On paper, Garrett passes the eye-test as a viable head coach. He Boasts a respectable 84-67 record, good enough to be named a winning coach in the NFL.
Garrett may be a “winning” coach, but he is also the second-longest active head coach in franchise history. In his ninth full year, only the legendary Tom Landry has more years under his belt with the team (29). However, Garrett’s team has only played in five playoff games in his ten years as head coach, only winning two of those five. Not very impressive considering the talent Garrett has had available to him over the years.
There has been no shortage of big-name weapons on both sides of the ball for Garrett over his tenure. Tony Romo, Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware, Dez Bryant, Felix Jones, Marion Barber, Miles Austin, Cole Beasley, and Sean Lee are just a few of the players he had to begin his coaching career.
In recent history, we all know the All-Star cast known as the Dallas Cowboys. Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, DeMarcus Lawrence, Byron Jones, Randal Cobb, Robert Quinn, Jaylon Smith, Leighton Vander Esch, the list goes on.
Still, Garrett can’t seem to lead teams deep into the playoffs, no matter the talent provided to him. For this, it’s time to close the chapter on the Jason Garrett era. Let’s take a look at potential coaching replacements in Big D.
The Popular Candidates
Urban Meyer and Lincoln Riley have been popular picks for several weeks now. As Meyer has now all but lobbied for the job on several media outlets while Riley continues to have a close relationship with the Jones family.
The former Ohio State coach seems to be getting the most buzz and press for the job. The reason being that Meyer has been quoted on several platforms stating he would accept the job. He also has a history with former Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott, who is already a focal point of this Dallas Cowboy offense. With his college background, Urban Meyer could also utilize the skills and assets that Dak Prescott already brings.
The NFL is seeing a trend of college-like quarterback play in recent years. Look no further than the Baltimore Ravens and Lamar Jackson, who hold the number one seed for the AFC playoffs. Urban Meyer wins wherever he goes, winning two national championships at the University of Florida and one with Ohio State University.
Lincoln Riley is an intriguing candidate as he has an ongoing relationship with the Jones family. Being recognized as one of the top offensive minds in college, Riley has also been known to transcend mobile and athletic quarterbacks. The Oklahoma coach has produced two Heisman Trophy winners in Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray. Also elevating the play of Jalen Hurts as a Heisman Trophy candidate. We back to that same aspect that bringing in a more college minded coach could benefit Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboy Offense.
Other Likely Candidates
With Meyer and Riley getting the most attention as potential replacements for Garrett, let’s look at some other likely candidates. We all know the Cowboys have a great offense, so a name like Josh McDaniels stands out. America’s Team has a young top-ten defense, which makes names such as Robert Saleh and Ron Rivera a popular choice. These last two sparks hope for those who remember the days of the vaunted Doomsday Defense.
Josh McDaniels may not be the most popular pick after stiffing the Indianapolis Colts last year. Other than that, the man is more than capable of leading an NFL squad. I would expect McDaniels to flourish in a high-powered offense, using his years of experience as the top play-caller under Bill Belichick to his advantage. After working with an attack that primarily relied on the athleticism of Rob Gronkowski and intelligence of Tom Brady, imagine what he could do with the Cowboy’s array of offensive weapons.
Robert Saleh of the San Francisco 49ers appears ready to lead a team of his own. With his high energy, discipline, and execution, look for Jerry Jones to give Saleh a long hard look. After years of flashy offenses and relying on points, Jones could opt for a coach who can stop opposing offenses with forceful defensive scheming. The Cowboys’ defense has all the tools for Saleh to replicate what they have in San Francisco.
If you want an old-school disciplinarian and defensive mastermind, then look no further than Ron Rivera. The Carolina Panthers recently relieved him of his duties in Duval County. Which means he is on the prowl for a new gig as a head coach. Rivera could appeal to Cowboy’s ownership as he could do wonders with this linebacker corps and young defense. Along with playoff experience, he would bring motivation, accountability, and passion. These are something Garrett has lacked and been ridiculed for over the years.
Sean Payton will forever be linked to the Dallas Cowboys for apparent reasons. It’s rumored that Dallas tried to coax Payton back to Dallas before his extension with the New Orleans Saints. Now he is under contract with the Saints until 2022. A move like this is a Cowboy fan’s dream and the longest of long shots. Still, Jones is the ultimate businessman. He could strike a blockbuster deal if Drew Brees decides to hang it up anytime soon. As I feel this would be the only way Sean Payton even thinks about leaving NOLA.
Kris Richard could be a name we see emerge more as the time comes to replace Garrett. Richard already knows the team, loved by players and is a “master motivator.” The days of the Legion of Boom in Seattle are far behind Richard. Now, he and the Cowboys have some of the talent and scouting department to recreate that magic. Dallas misses the days of Deion Sanders, high-energy players, and coaches that brought passion and excitement to those SuperBowl winning teams. Jerry could roll the dice and see what Richard could do with the keys to the palace.
As the offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore has been well-liked by players and is familiar with the team. He brings the element of a former player and teammate to many of the guys on the roster. They respect Moore and would rally behind him to help him succeed as the head coach. Compared to Garrett’s conservative schemes and coaching, Moore has shown willingness to be more aggressive when given the opportunity. In a copy-cat league, don’t count out Jerry handing over the keys to a young and upcoming 31-year old.
No matter who you prefer, one thing is for sure, Jerry Jones will get the last word in hand-selecting the next head coach. As much as we want to put 100 percent of the blame on Jason Garrett, we know he is just a puppet for Jerry Jones. This is why he has been the head coach with little playoff success for the last decade. It’s time for Jerry to step aside, sit back, and watch someone else run the team. If he doesn’t, Mr. Jones will not see another Lombardi Trophy before his time comes to an end.
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