If it wasn't already painfully obvious the Dallas Cowboys need to replace Jason Garrett as their Head Coach, it should be now after his poor coaching decision to not to go for the win against the Houston Texans in overtime Sunday night. It was just one of many coaching blunders in Garrett's tenure since replacing Wade Phillips nearly a decade ago. It's time for a change!
With that in mind, I decided to put together a list of a few candidates with varying coaching experience who would be on my short list to replace Jason Garrett as he Dallas Cowboys next head coach. I included everything from a few who have won the Super Bowl as a HC to collegiate coaches who have no NFL coaching experience.
I know my list of potential head-coaching candidates for the Dallas Cowboys won't match up exactly as yours, but I believe everyone I included here would be an upgrade over Jason Garrett. Continue reading below to see who I would like to see become the next Head Coach for America's Team.
Super Bowl Winning HC Candidates
Sean Payton would definitely be at the top of my list to replace Jason Garrett as the Dallas Cowboys next head coach. He not only won the Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints in 2009, but is arguably one of the best/most creative play callers in the entire NFL. Plus, he already has a good relationship with Jerry Jones and the rest of the Jones family.
Now, Payton is still technically under contract with the Saints until 2020, but they have a kind of hot and cold relationship. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he is somehow looking for a new coaching gig after the season, and I don't think Jerry Jones would hesitate to bring him aboard. I think he would absolutely be able to get the most out of the Cowboys talented, yet poorly coached offense.
Although Sean Payton would be my first choice to replace Jason Garrett, Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy would be my close second. He is another Super Bowl winning HC (2010) who I believe would be an upgrade over Garrett. And as luck would have it, there is a high possibility he could be looking for a new job after the season.
If you believe the scuttlebutt, McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers aren't quite seeing eye to eye nowadays. Their rocky relationship could end up costing McCarthy his job, which could be good news for the Dallas Cowboys. He seems to always have the Packers making a strong push for the Super Bowl each and every year and has a proven track record, which should be welcomed with open arms in Dallas. It would be a little weird at first to see him sporting Cowboys gear, but that would fade quickly once he got the organization back on track.
First Time HC Candidates
The highest job title Kris Richard has held so far in his young coaching career in the NFL is as the Defensive Coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks. He hasn't received the opportunity to show what he can do as a head coach yet in the league, but I don't think it will be much longer until that happens. In fact, he could end up replacing Jason Garrett.
We are still in the early portions of the 2018 season, but we have already seen the impact Richard has made with the Dallas Cowboys. We have seen a much improved defense so far this season. They are much more aggressive and playing with a different kind of attitude than we have seen in the past. It's that attitude that could endear Richard to Jerry Jones. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if Dallas already has their next head coach in Kris Richard.
Matt LaFleur probably isn't a name that the majority of you are very familiar with, but that doesn't mean he's not known in NFL circles. I believe he is an up-and-coming head coach candidate, although he hasn't held a job title higher than offensive coordinator so far in the league.
You could say that LaFleur is a product of the Shanahan coaching tree. He developed a good relationship with Kyle Shanahan and has followed him from the Texans, to the Redskins, and then to the Falcons. From there he joined Sean McVay, who he worked with in Washington, as the offensive coordinator with the Los Angeles Rams in 2017, although McVay still handle the majority of the playcalling duties. In order to get out from McVay's shadow, LaFleur joined the Tennessee Titans to become their OC in 2018.
He is still a little unproven, but I think he is going to make a really good head coach in the NFL someday. If Jerry Jones wants to take a chance on someone like that, I would absolutely be on board with Matt LaFleur as the next Dallas Cowboys head coach.
John DeFilippo is also a name that many of you probably have never heard of. But, I guarantee that he is well known around the NFL and would be on a lot of short lists for teams looking for their next head coach. And yes, that includes the Dallas Cowboys.
DeFilippo is someone who is already well-versed in the NFC East division. He spent the last two years (2016-17) as the quarterbacks coach with the Philadelphia Eagles, but is currently serving as the offensive coordinator with the Minnesota Vikings. I believe the next step in his coaching career will be as a head coach, and that could possibly be with the Cowboys.
I really like the way DeFilippo handles himself and I think he is going to make a really good head coach when he receives the opportunity. He is doing a masterful job as the Vikings OC right now, especially considering how porous their offensive line is. I believe that is a testament to his ability as a coach, which is unfortunately something we can't say the same about Jason Garrett.
Collegiate HC Candidates
If Jerry Jones is looking for someone to make the kind of out of nowhere success that Sean McVay had the Los Angeles Rams, he should set his sights on the college ranks and try to lure Lincoln Riley to the NFL to take over for Jason Garrett as the next head coach for the Dallas Cowboys. I believe he has the same kind of likability as McVay and might be just as good as a play caller.
Lincoln Riley has turned the Oklahoma Sooners into a perennial top 10 offensive unit when he first became their offensive coordinator in 2015 and continued that productivity once he took over for Bob Stoops as the HC in 2017 till now. He has taken underrated quarterbacks (Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray) and developed them into Heisman hopefuls and pro prospects. I think his infectious personality and attitude would be welcomed with open arms in Dallas.
David Shaw does have a little bit of NFL coaching experience as an assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens, and Oakland Raiders, but nothing of real significance as of yet. He also has a pretty impressive track record as the head coach at Stanford, which makes him a pretty intriguing candidate to become the Dallas Cowboys next head coach.
At Stanford, David Shaw runs a program that would help him seamlessly transition into the NFL. He runs a pro system on both offense and defense, which is why Stanford players generally make the transition into the NFL relatively easily. I think he would be on a lot of short lists for NFL teams looking for a head coach, but so far Shaw has made no indication he wants to leave the college ranks. Maybe a job offer from the Dallas Cowboys is what he's waiting for.
Do you like any of these head-coaching candidates for the Dallas Cowboys?
Will It Be The Cowboys, Or Another Team, Who Pays Byron Jones After 2019?
After having his fifth year option exercised for the 2019 season, cornerback Byron Jones enters a contract year this Fall.
Jones inarguably had the best year of his career in 2018: earning not only his first Pro Bowl selection but also Second Team All Pro honors for his performance. Doing it all without an impressive stat sheet, Jones was able to let his film speak for itself throughout most of the year, and he became the number one cornerback we'd all hoped he could be when the Cowboys decided to take the freakishly athletic defensive back in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
This contract year is quite unique for Byron Jones, however. Next offseason the Cowboys will be forced to re-sign and extend just about all of their key contributors on both sides of the ball. DeMarcus Lawrence already got his contract, but Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, and others still await their deals. Deals which the front office has all-but explicitly promised will come.
This leaves Jones, the former first round pick and now former All Pro, generally considered to be the odd man out. So while 2019 is a contract year for Byron Jones, he may be earning himself a contract from a completely different team.
Jones has had an interesting road to this contract season. One which would be a shame for the Cowboys to waste. Moving between cornerback and safety during the first three years of his career, Jones fell out of the coaches' good graces while playing out of his most natural position. Under Kris Richard's new regime, though, Jones had his best season to date. He looked to finally be comfortable in his role, and was now playing for a coach who believed he could be a special player.
Now that Byron Jones has found his place in the Cowboys defense, and has earned his way into conversations with the league's top cornerbacks, he's likely priced himself out of the Cowboys' future plans.
It's funny how that works out. Of course, Jones should go get paid, and I'd never fault a guy for maximizing his value on the market. But there's a good chance the Cowboys make the mistake of allowing a premier cornerback to walk out of their building next offseason. But if they want to retain players like Elliott and Cooper, they may not have any other choice.
Will 2019 be the Storybook Ending to Jason Witten’s Hall of Fame Career?
It's old news now, but Jason Witten will suit up for the Dallas Cowboys once again in 2019. After less than a year in retirement, he will return to the field with the hopes of chasing down that ever elusive Super Bowl ring that has eluded him, and the Cowboys, for nearly two decades. If successful, it would be the storybook ending to an impressive Hall of Fame career.
I may be in the minority here, but I actually wasn't too excited to hear Jason Witten was going to end his retirement and rejoin the Dallas Cowboys. I thought he retired at the right time last year, going out on his terms instead of letting father time force him out. He definitely didn't have anything else to prove on the field, but sometimes hunger gets the best of us all.
That's what Jason Witten is. He's hungry! He's not stupid. He's looked this Dallas Cowboys roster over and sees just how talented it is from top to bottom. He knows this team has a real shot at reaching the promised land this year, adding yet another Super Bowl trophy to their collection. He wanted in, and rightfully so.
Witten may not have a full tank of gas anymore, but he's got enough left to help get this team to their desired destination. Despite my hesitation at first, I'm really excited to have him back in uniform. I'm really looking forward to seeing him back in action now, but more importantly having him on hand to mentor these younger players around him.
Most importantly though, I'm really hoping the 2019 season can be the storybook ending he deserves. He's been such an important ambassador to the NFL throughout his career, both on and off the field. What better way to end such a decorated career than with a little jewelry to put on his finger?
The 11 time Pro Bowler still holds a lot of records in the NFL and with the Dallas Cowboys, despite not playing last season. I'll let you look those up for yourself if you want, but the impact he has had on the game throughout his career is undeniable, and should continue to be so. The Cowboys or Witten wouldn't have reunited if either thought that wasn't the case anymore.
I know many of you may be thinking I'm probably reaching little to suggest this 2019 Dallas Cowboys team has a chance at going all the way this year, but I don't think so. This is a team with Super Bowl aspirations and the roster to do it.
The Cowboys already had a championship caliber defense last season and they're even better now after making a few upgrades. This alone will make them a much more dangerous team this year, but they're not slouches on the offensive side of the ball either.
The offense was good last season after making the Amari Cooper trade, but should be able to take the next step this year. They only lost Cole Beasley, but replaced him with Randall Cobb, who has a chance to be even better if he can stay healthy. Then if you throw in the addition of Jason Witten and the development of a few players, this is looking more and more like one of the more dangerous offenses in the NFL.
Maybe, just maybe, this is the team that can finally get the Dallas Cowboys back to the Super Bowl and help Jason Witten end his Hall of Fame career in a storybook like manner. Hello Hollywood! You've got a blockbuster movie in the making.
Do you think Jason Witten can end his career in a storybook like manner?
Travis Frederick’s Return Named Cowboys Biggest Reason For Excitement
Overall, Cowboys Nation feels to be in a positive mood during this year's offseason. Despite early angst over lack of action at the start of free agency, and concern over the Cowboys' draft strategy, most within the fan base seem to have high, yet realistic, hopes for the 2019 season.
Most seem to believe the NFC East will be a two team race, with the last two champions battling for the crown once again down the stretch of the season. Others can see the potential for a dark-horse candidate in Washington, but still believe the Cowboys roster has the edge.
So while Cowboys fans may not think they need a singular reason to look forward to the Fall of 2019, Bleacher Report's Brent Sobleski gave them one this week.
NFL Brent Sobleski @@brentsobleski Twitter Logo NFL Analyst The offseason can be as thrilling for NFL fans as the regular season. Player movement constantly refreshes rosters-whether through free agency, the draft or trades. Significant changes inject excitement into franchises, personnel and fanbases. A one-time league doormat can become the league's "it' team simply through a string of acquisitions.
Brent identified the biggest reason for each team to look forward to 2019, with the return of center Travis Frederick being the Cowboys' submission. There's no question that when healthy, Frederick is one of the best centers in the game, and anchors an offensive line many still consider to be at the top of the league.
"A full year with wide receiver Amari Cooper and re-signing Demarcus Lawrence to a long-term deal are both reasons for the Dallas Cowboys to be excited. However, the return of Travis Frederick to man the middle of the offensive line is far more pertinent."
Frederick missed all of the 2018 season after being diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare disease that I am not nearly qualified enough to discuss. What I do know is that it can be very serious, and it kept Frederick out for the entire year.
The Cowboys offensive line suffered during the early part of 2018, largely due in part to Travis Frederick's absence. Yes, Joe Looney filled in and played as well as anyone could have hoped for, but the disconnect in communication across the offensive line was clear without their usual center. Especially during the first couple months of the season.
If Frederick is fully back and healthy, his presence alone will take the Cowboys offensive line back towards their peak. Combine his comeback with a healthy Zack Martin, and a now bulked up Connor Williams, and the interior of this line has the chance to be special.
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