Former Oklahoma Sooners Head Coach Bob Stoops was introduced as the Head Coach and General Manager of the yet to be named Dallas XFL franchise on Thursday. For years, many in Cowboys Nation clamored for the NCAA National Championship winning coach to be a professional head coach in Dallas.
Unfortunately, to some, it's happening for the wrong team.
He's a great football coach at the college level and never seemed all that interested in coaching in the NFL, though I'm sure opportunities were presented to him. On Thursday, he spoke to the media about the opportunity to coach in the reformed and newly envisioned XFL and laid out the reasons why the job was appealing to him.
Bob Stoops breaks down why he chose the XFL over other college programs and the NFL. At first Stoops said he just dismissed the idea of coaching in the rebooted league. Video via KXAS. #Sooners https://t.co/YWK6Scuwhx
When he retired from coaching at the University of Oklahoma, he cited the opportunity to spend more time with his family as well as the desire to preserve his health as reasons he was stepping away. His father died because of a heart attack after a game in which he was experiencing chest pain.
Bob Stoops has maintained a high-profile role with the Oklahoma athletic department as a special assistant to Athletic Director Joe Castiglione. From the interview, it sounds mostly as if Stoops has too much time on his hands.
While many might be excited about the possibility of Stoops potentially donning the Blue and Silver of America's Team, his presence in Dallas will have zero impact on the future of Jason Garrett.
Bob Stoops Wants to Coach, Not Grind
If you've ever coached in any sport, you understand how fun it can be. There is a lot of satisfaction and joy with teaching players a concept and then seeing them execute it on the field. As a leader, there isn't anything much better than seeing your vision executed by the people you're leading.
Bob Stoops misses coaching.
That much is clear in the interview. However, he mentioned the year-round aspect of coaching that is NCAA football and the NFL as well. Stoops wants to have his cake and eat it too, and there isn't much better of a way to do so than to join the XFL, where he'll get to be in charge of a lot of his schedule in the season and in the offseason.
As fans of the NFL, we hear all the time about the daily grind of an NFL coach. Reports of 14 hour days, sleeping in the office, and the year-round schedule make being a coach in the NFL not nearly as glamorous as it might sound. Bob Stoops has put in the grind. He's done the heavy lifting as the head coach of an upper tier program like the University of Oklahoma. He wants to coach, but he wants to have flexibility and a life as well.
With kids in school and playing football themselves, he wants to be able to be a part of their lives more than he was able to be when he was the head coach at OU.
At the level of coaching that Stoops has attained, he could have just about any job in college football that he would want and he'd be a candidate for many NFL coaching jobs as well. At this point in his life, he doesn't want to be committed to a year-round process that asks him to put in 14 hour day for much of that year.
Timing is Everything
Bob Stoops is expected to be starting his XFL career in the Spring of 2020. That would be about a year from now. So, in order for him to be offered and accept the coaching job for the Dallas Cowboys, the Cowboys would likely have to miss the playoffs and Jason Garrett would have to be fired at the end of the season -- I know, I just gave a lot of the anti-Garrett crowd a fantasy that will occupy the rest of their day.
As an observer of the University of Oklahoma and fan, Stoops has always been considered to be a coach with a lot of integrity, despite what you might have read about him after the Joe Mixon incident at OU. He's someone who is loyal, even at the expense of his public perception. After agreeing to coach the Dallas XFL team, he isn't going to go back on that agreement to take a different job. It's just not his style.
If he says he's going to coach in the XFL, that's what he's going to do. The only way that I see him not doing it, is if the XFL doesn't actually take off.
Jason Garrett Isn't Going Anywhere
Probably the most important reason that you won't see Stoops Despite the Dallas Cowboys declining to extend Head Coach Jason Garrett this offseason, the Dallas Cowboys still obviously believe in Garrett as a head coach. If they didn't, they wouldn't keep him around this season either.
Sure, if the 2019 season is a disaster and the Cowboys continue their trend of alternating playoff appearances with missing the playoffs, then Garrett could be shown the door. It's long been chronicled however, that Jerry Jones wants Jason Garrett to be his guy. His Tom Landry so to speak. He and Garrett have had an excellent working relationship during Garrett's tenure and it has led to a restructuring of the way the Dallas Cowboys team build that has garnered them the reputation of being one of the best drafting organizations in the NFL.
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I know that many of you are looking to replace Jason Garrett as the Dallas Cowboys head coach, an I understand why, but Stoops isn't going to be the answer to your head coaching desires. Could he do it. Absolutely. Stoops is one of the five best college coaches of the last 20 years. I have zero doubt that he could join an NFL team and be successful.
It just isn't going to happen for the Dallas Cowboys.
NFC East QB Picture Could Look Very Different After the Draft
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Draft Day. One of the most wild days in the NFL calendar that surprises us year after year. Fake storylines and rumors fill our social media feeds, surprising trades ruin every Mock Draft available, and things that we believe to be true change at the last second. Of course, one of the most intriguing things to watch during the Draft is the search from a handful of teams for a franchise quarterback.
While the Dallas Cowboys are worried about paying their guy, a couple of teams in their division are concerned about getting a quarterback for the future. The New York Giants should be ready to prepare for life after Eli Manning and the Washington Redskins need to find an exciting young player if they don't want to depend on Case Keenum and/or Colt McCoy.
This year's QB class doesn't look as good as last year's, but there are a few intriguing prospects worth considering. Kyler Murray (Oklahoma) is expected to go to Arizona at the first pick but he isn't the only QB expected to be drafted in the first round. Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State), Drew Lock (Missouri) and Daniel Jones (Duke) have all made appearances in many first round mock drafts.
So what could the Redskins and Giants do to change how the four starting quarterbacks of the division look like?
New York Giants
Holding the sixth overall pick in today's NFL Draft, the Giants look like the perfect candidate to draft a quarterback. Last year, they had a similar opportunity sitting at number two but decided to go for the surefire prospect in RB Saquon Barkley. A year later, fans and analysts still question whether that was the right call or not. They took a top-tier player but didn't address the most important position in football. The bottom line is Barkley killed it in his first year in the NFL and even won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
This year though, it could be time for them to stop passing on quarterbacks and take advantage of their position in the Draft. The name that's been the most linked to the Giants is Dwayne Haskins. Matt Miller from Bleacher Report has even said the Giants have done more work on him than any other team out there. A big surprise in the mock draft universe came a few days ago when Daniel Jeremiah mocked Daniel Jones at #6 to the Giants instead of Haskins.
The Giants could not have an easy task ahead of them if they do want Haskins. The Oakland Raiders at #4 are a threat to draft a QB along with many other teams that could be willing to trade up for the Ohio Sate product. Don't be surprised if the Giants need to move up to secure their guy.
The question remains: Does Giants GM Dave Gettleman want to be aggressive and draft a signal-caller even with Eli Manning still playing? Some say he will, some say he won't. We'll have to wait and see.
The Redskins are far more intriguing than the Giants. First of all, they hold the 15th pick. If they want to draft a first round quarterback, chances are they'll be forced to trade up. Although every year we think quarterbacks won't go early, there's a reason why most are taken by teams that traded up to get in position.
Just talked to a Redskins source who told me Dan Snyder has "taken over the first round of the draft." The last time that happened the Redskins traded two future No. 1's and a No. 2 to move up for Robert Griffin.
If the Raiders end up pulling a big-time trade during the Draft to get into the Top 5, we know what position they'll be looking at. Whether it's Haskins at the top of the round or Lock or Jones a bit later, make no mistake about it. The Redskins could be searching for a QB. Keenum isn't the answer and neither is McCoy. With Alex Smith's playing career being in question, looking for a quarterback only makes sense.
Then there's Josh Rosen. Assuming the Cardinals do what has been expected all along and take Murray, Rosen is going to get traded. Both the Giants and the Redskins could be among the potential destinations for the 2018 first-round pick.
The Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys are the favorites to be the contenders within the NFC East division. However, we can't ignore the fact that the Redskins were doing pretty well prior to Alex Smith's injury in 2018. The Giants didn't do well, but they've gone a long way in improving their offensive line and count with a great running back in Saquon. Both teams could look very different with a change at QB.
If they do end up drafting a rookie QB or going after Josh Rosen, the NFC East QB picture could become one of the most intriguing and promising ones in the entire NFL. Then we'd be talking about one of the most competitive divisions in the league.
The Cowboys Don’t Pick In Tonight’s 1st Round, And They’re Fine With That
The first round of the 2019 NFL Draft gets underway tonight. On ABC primetime this year, the draft is as popular and flashy as it ever has been. Thousands will watch the commissioner read names from a card Thursday night, but the Dallas Cowboys likely won't be involved whatsoever.
And they're totally ok with that.
The Cowboys, of course, used their 2019 first round pick on former Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper. Cooper helped to awake an offense which had been abysmal prior to his arrival, opening up the passing offense and unlocking quarterback Dak Prescott's best abilities.
Stephen Jones spoke to the Dallas Morning News this week, giving his reasoning for why he is comfortable with not having a first round pick this year.
"I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody that would’ve made a difference on our roster like Amari made last year and like we feel like he’s going to make as me move forward" - Stephen Jones
Of course, he's correct. At least partially. Dallas went 7-2 after the Amari Cooper trade, winning a home playoff game while Cooper put up dominating statistics. Cooper quickly became the Cowboys' most prolific target in the passing game and added an element they so dearly missed during the first half of 2018.
Still, though, not having four (plus one) years of a first round pick on a rookie deal is never ideal. You'd like to have the chance to add that young talent on the cheap. Instead, the Cowboys will need to give Amari Cooper a big payday quickly.
There's no debating that the Amari Cooper trade has been a success for the Dallas Cowboys, however. He's the undisputed WR1 in Dallas, and had instant chemistry with young quarterback Dak Prescott.
You can't help but be excited to see how those two grow together moving forward.
Are Ezekiel Elliott And Dak Prescott A Package-Deal?
Dak and Zeke went viral again this week. Once again, together.
It was yet another fun Twitter moment from the Cowboys' star backfield duo, as they have enjoyed more success in their first three seasons together than most fans ever could have imagined back in 2016.
The honeymoon is just about over, though. It's year four for both Prescott and Elliott. Time to take the next step in the postseason and start competing for championships. This also means it's nearing contract time as well.
Elliott knows he'll be a Cowboy for at least two more seasons. The front office picked up his fifth year option earlier this week, ensuring they'd have the elite-level running back through the 2020 season. Prescott's contract, on the other hand, currently expires after 2019. And despite all of the success he's had at quarterback during his young career, he's still on that fourth round salary.
Both Jerry and Stephen Jones has made it known the Cowboys believe in Prescott moving forward. Both have repeatedly said he will be extended in the near future. And if all goes according to plan, Prescott will be the starting quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys for a very long time.
They've also fully backed Elliott. And while just about no one would argue that Prescott is better at his position than Elliott is at his, his position is much less valuable to the offense. Yes, even to this offense. One which is predicated on running the football and controlling the clock.
Quarterbacks are still king, and the money Prescott is set to receive proves that point even further.
It's no secret these two players are great friends, and each heralded leaders in the Cowboys locker room. It would be a tall task for this front office to extend one, while bailing on the other. And by all accounts, the Cowboys have no plan on doing so.
Prescott and Elliott seem like a package-deal in the Cowboys backfield. Quarterback and running back next to one another for as long as they are apart of America's Team.
At least, that's the plan.
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