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.