Black Monday in the NFL means the hammer comes down on underachieving head coaches. It appears that Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett will be safe from firing this year. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the Cowboys won’t make moves on the coaching front.
When teams underachieve like the Cowboys did in 2012, and when the head coach is not fired, moves can be made underneath the head coach. The Black Monday firings mean that not only is there head coaches out there, but assistant coaches as well.
If the Cowboys choose to make a move, they could do so by hiring one of the newly freed head coaches or assistant coaches. Or it could be that the Cowboys lose an assistant coach to another team and need to fill an open position.
Here we examine each firing and see if that has implications for the Cowboys this offseason.
Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals fired Ken Whisenhunt.
Implications for Cowboys? Here’s something interesting. The Cardinals fired Whisenhunt and removed him from their Web site, but not the assistant coaches. Judging by what is left and their recent record, the Cowboys probably have little interest in the remaining coaches on Arizona’s staff.
Buffalo Bills: The Bills fired Chan Gailey.
Implications for Cowboys? Naturally, the former Cowboys head coach isn’t coming to Dallas. But there is an intriguing name on this staff – defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt. Hiring Wannstedt, however, would mean that the Cowboys would have to fire defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and shift from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense, neither of which is likely. Outside of Wannstedt, the staff isn’t filled with any rising stars.
Chicago Bears: The Bears fired head coach Lovie Smith.
Implications for Cowboys? Probably slim. Smith runs a Cover 2 in the 4-3 formation and that’s not a good fit for the current personnel. That means the Cowboys probably wouldn’t be interested in defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli either. Offensive coordinator Mike Tice could be a candidate for the head coaching job in Chicago. If Cowboys owner Jerry Jones were to convince Garrett to relinquish play-calling duties – something Jones has not indicated he’s willing to do – Tice would be a viable candidate to be the play-caller, even with Bill Callahan in-house.
Cleveland Browns: The Browns fired Pat Shurmur.
Implications for Cowboys? If Jones comes to Garrett and tells him that he must relinquish play-calling duties, and Garrett does not hand them off to Callahan, Shurmur is a possibility. Shurmur is an Andy Reid disciple, so he may end following Reid wherever he ends up. Shurmur applied his own philosophies as OC for the St. Louis Rams and as head coach in Cleveland, where got a lot out of minimal talent this season. If the Cowboys decide to make a move at running backs coach, watch Gary Brown. He’s the former New York Giants back who tutored rookie Trent Richardson into a 1,000-yards season in 2012.
Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs fired Romeo Crennel.
Implications for Cowboys: It’s clear that Crennel is better as a coordinator than a head coach. Crennel could easily find a coordinator’s job this offseason and his skill set is with the 3-4. He’s an intriguing name because he has multiple Super Bowl rings, something Ryan does not. The Cowboys would first have to cut ties with Ryan before they pursue anyone, and they have given no indication that Ryan’s job is in jeopardy. There are a couple of assistants the Cowboys might show interest in on this staff. Quarterbacks coach Jim Zorn has helped develop Charlie Batch and Matt Hasselbeck. Perhaps a different voice could life Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo to the next level? Wade Wilson is the Cowboys’ current quarterbacks coach. Defensive line coach Anthony Pleasant is a Crennel disciple who played for the Patriots and won two Super Bowl rings. So he understands the 3-4 set. Brian Baker is the current Cowboys defensive line coach.
Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles fired head coach Andy Reid.
Implications for Cowboys? Again, pretty slim. Reid wants to coach in 2013 but after 14 years as a head coach he likely wouldn’t take a step back to be a coordinator. He doesn’t share a lot in common philosophically with Garrett, either. The Cowboys might be interested in defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, who drew a horrible hand when he replaced Juan Castillo at midseason. Bowles coached the secondary from 2005-07 with the Cowboys. Bowles will probably look for a coordinator job first, but his expertise in the secondary would be an asset in tutoring young corner Morris Claiborne and the team’s group of young safeties. Jerome Henderson is the Cowboys’ current secondary coach and there has been no dissatisfaction expressed with Henderson’s work this season.
San Diego Chargers: The Chargers fired Norv Turner.
Implications for Cowboys? This is the most intriguing name out there. Jones was thinking about hiring Turner before he hired Wade Phillips as head coach several years ago. Turner was the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator in the heyday of the 1990s, coached Garrett and has the respect of both Garrett and Jones. In a scenario in which Jones asks Garrett to relinquish play-calling duties, Turner could be Jones’ first call. He and Garrett’s philosophies and schemes are similar. This is probably a longshot, but after Turner was dismissed as head coach in Washington he went back to being an offensive coordinator. Given his relationship with Jones it’s something you have to consider.
Will the Cowboys lose anyone? Assuming the Cowboys don’t fire anyone, losing a coach would mean that coach would get a better job with another team. The most likely candidates are the coordinators, Callahan on offense (he has the OC title but doesn’t call plays) and Ryan on defense. Neither seems to have a lot of traction to move on at this point.