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Potential Candidates To Replace Cowboys’ Coaching Staff

Brian Martin



The Dallas Cowboys look as if they are a team who have completely lost faith in their coaching staff, despite what Jerry Jones may say. If rumors are true, the players have become frustrated with their head coach Jason Garrett as well, and that tends to have a trickle effect all the way down the line. This could lead to the Cowboys cleaning house, but are there any candidates out there who would be an upgrade?

There are many of us around Cowboys Nation who have already started looking at coaching replacements, whether it is a new head coach or new coordinators on both sides of the ball. Because of that, I decided to put a list together of some of the coaching candidates I would target to take over for the Dallas Cowboys.

Continue to read below to see the coaching candidates I like, and as always please feel free to share your own thoughts and opinions in the comment section at the end of the article.

Head Coach Candidates

Josh McDanielsJosh McDaniels

Josh McDaniels might just be the most recognizable names who will be linked to the Dallas Cowboys if they start looking for a new head coach. Bringing the Patriots offensive system to the Cowboys should do wonders for both Dak Prescott and the rest of the offense. I believe he has learned from his mistakes when he took over as the HC in Denver and would do really well here in Dallas. I personally believe his downfall with the Broncos was because he tried to make Tim Tebow an NFL caliber QB and staked his career on it. He would have more to work with in Prescott.

Matt LaFleur

Matt LaFleur is a product of the Shanahan coaching tree you could say. He developed a relationship with Kyle Shanahan when with the Texans, and followed him to Washington when Mike Shanahan took over as the head coach of the Redskins. He was the mentor to Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins until he followed Kyle once again to Atlanta to become the quarterbacks coach. There he helped Matt Ryan have some of the best seasons in his career. He is now serving as the current offensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams, but will be on the short list among HC candidates shortly. The Cowboys should strike while the iron is hot.

Todd Haley

Todd Haley was the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver coach from 2004-2006, but then joined the Arizona Cardinals to become their offensive coordinator. Under his playcalling, the Cardinals became one of the most innovative and explosive units in the NFL. His success as the OC in Arizona earned him the head-coaching job with the Kansas City Chiefs. Unfortunately, that didn't last long which is why he is currently serving as the OC in Pittsburgh. The Steelers currently have one of the best offenses in the entire NFL and it is in large part due to the playcalling of Haley. I think he would be a great fit in Dallas and would work well with an intrusive owner like Jerry Jones.

John DeFillippo

John DeFillippo isn't a name I expect the majority of you to know or even heard of, but I believe he is an up-and-coming offensive coach in the NFL. He is currently serving as the QB coach of the Philadelphia Eagles and has done a fantastic job developing Carson Wentz. He was the offensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns in 2015 before that coaching staff was let go. I'd probably prefer to have him as an offensive coordinator first, but the only way the Cowboys pry him away from the Eagles is to make him the new HC. In fact, the New York Jets requested an interview with him last season to become their OC, but Philadelphia blocked that request.

Gus Bradley

Gus Bradley had his chance to be a head coach in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars, but wasn't put in the best situation to succeed. At the time, the Jaguars were still a bad team, which ultimately cost Bradley his job. I think given another opportunity, he would become one of the better coaches in the league. The Cowboys have been trying to mimic the Seattle Seahawks defense for years, so why not hire a new HC who was responsible for the Seahawks defensive success from 2009 to 2013.

Mike Vrabel

I really think Mike Vrabel will be at the top of a lot of teams list looking for a new head coach. Since retiring, Vrabel has continuously risen in the coaching ranks and is now currently serving as the Houston Texans defensive coordinator. After losing three of his best defensive players (Brian Cushing, JJ Watt, and Whitney Mercilus), he still has the Texans defense playing like one of the better units in the league, which proves his adaptability and ability to game plan. I think players will gravitate to him because of his credibility in the league as both a player and coach, and want to play for him.

Offensive Coordinators

Gary Kubiak

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Gary Kubiak

If Jason Garrett remains the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys and Scott Linehan is fired, Gary Kubiak would be at the top of my list to become the next offensive coordinator. I believe his offensive philosophy would fit perfectly in Dallas and do wonders for Dak Prescott. Kubiak likes to use a lot of misdirection to help the QB take shots down the field, but remains balanced in the running game as well. The system wouldn't change all that much, but I do believe he is more creative and knows how to use his weapons better than Linehan.

Mike McCoy

Mike McCoy might've been recently fired as the offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos, but he won't be out of a job for long. Someone had to be the "scapegoat" for how poorly the Broncos have been playing this season, and McCoy was that person. I believe he would be an immediate upgrade over Linehan and fit in nicely with Jason Garrett. McCoy's greatest asset might be his adaptability. Whether it was Tim Tebow, Kyle Orton, Peyton Manning, or Philip Rivers, McCoy has been able to find success as an offensive coordinator. That adaptability would be a welcomed addition from Linehan.

Defensive Coordinators

Don Brown

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Don Brown

Don Brown (62) is on the older side then any other coach on this list, but he has nearly 40 years of coaching and has found success at every stop along the way, even as an intern coach for the Yale baseball team in 1992. Brown is the polar opposite of Marinelli and loves to be aggressive. He loves to get after the QB and draws up blitzes from every position on defense. Plus, he already would have working knowledge of some of the Cowboys young players (Taco Charlton and Jourdan Lewis).

Greg Schiano

Mentioning Greg Schiano's name in relation to becoming the Dallas Cowboys next defensive coordinator will certainly be unpopular among a lot of fans, but he does have a proven track record. He completely turned around the Rutgers program when he was a head coach starting in 2001 and still has several of his former players in the NFL. Schiano is currently serving as Ohio State's defensive coordinator, but could be looking to return to the NFL after being fired in 2013 as the Buccaneers head coach. His hard-nosed disciplinarian defensive philosophy could be exactly what the Cowboys defense needs.

Matt Eberflus

Surprisingly enough, not many Dallas Cowboys fans know who Matt Eberflus is, but he could possibly be promoted to defensive coordinator if Rod Marinelli loses his job. Eberflus is currently Dallas' linebacker coach and has been with the organization since Rob Ryan was the defensive coordinator. He has experience in both the 3-4 and 4-3 defensive scheme and could be the perfect combination of Rob Ryan's aggressive and Rod Marinelli's conservative approach.

Any of these coaching candidates sound good for the Cowboys?

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

  • oneputter

    i like jim swartz as a hc. his defenses are always top notch and i think he can work with the current team/defense we have here. this time around may be better for him as he has gained more experience. as for OC i think gary kubiak

    swartz and kubiack would make a good team.

    • Brian Martin

      I thought about adding Jim Swartz, but there’s just something about him that rubs me the wrong way LOL. But, I agree he should probably be a candidate

  • Bill_In_NC

    Give me some Josh McDaniels please. Although, unless the team continues to crater like the last three games, I doubt that Jason is going to be fired. I do think that Marinelli is gone, the players have lost confidence in his ‘system’.

    • Brian Martin

      Josh McDaniels is at the top of my list as well. Right there with him though is Matt LaFleur. He doesn’t have the name recognition of McDaniels yet, but he’s one of my favorites.

  • the_truth_hurts

    Dallas has to fire Garrett and soon…He is only good at being an OC, that’s it…He sucks as a HC

    • Brian Martin

      I don’t know if they will fire JG or not. Jerry Jones supposedly still believes in him, but Garrett isn’t doing any favors for himself.

  • Rory Jones

    They need to clean house with the coaches. Tired of watching games and asking why are they not making any adjustments. Every other team goes into half time changes things and comes out different. Jason goes in and clearly gives a speech and says good job. Linehan is awful. How do you let a LT get beat all game and not run plays to help him? They gave him no help. That’s not hard to change a game plan for. Jason also makes stupid calls all the time. Its time to move on.

    • Brian Martin

      Rory, I think a lot of Cowboys fans would agree with you. We are going to have to wait and see if they are going to make any coaching changes though.

  • Russ_Te

    Since Jimmy Johnson left (I say fired), the deal has always been that Jerry had to find a coach who was willing to let him have all the personnel power, run the draft, decide contracts to extend and not, how to spend the cap, make or refuse to make all trades.

    So that leaves you with game plan, practice routine and play calling. And that yields you coaches like Chan Gailey, Dave Campo, Switzer, Garrett, on and on. The one time Jerry ceded a little bit of additional power was when he found out that Parcells said on TV that he might be able to work with Jones. Finally – after the three 5-11 years of Campo – Jerry could hire a proven NFL winner.

    That bumped the team up to the .500 range and lasted 4 years. 2 playoff games under Parcells, 2 losses.

    The only saving grace this time will be that Jerry has let Stephen take more power in recent years. Jerry wanted to take Johnny Manziel, but Stephen listened to the football men and said he wanted Zack Martin. Jerry allowed it. Stephen was right.

    So that new dynamic in the Jones ownership structure, might get us a better HC.

    While Marinelli may get swept out with a new regime, I actually still think he does about as well as is possible with the talent he gets. He got real upturns out of Lawrence and Irving. Just when that improved, the stark realities of the rebuild of the secondary arrived. It may be 2 drafts away from a formidable unit.

    HC’s who save their job by junking the coordinators, are usually gone soon themselves. If Garrett does not get enough of an upturn to be competing for the last wild card spot as the season closes, I think the moves have to start with him.

    Because of the youth of Dak, Zeke, Gathers, Switzer – I think the new HC should have proven offensive expertise. A coach who can be to Dak what (former OC) Bill Walsh, was to Montana as 49’ers HC.

    Somebody still young and hungry, ala Sean McVay. Let Stephen pull the trigger on the hire.

    • Brian Martin

      Russ, I agree with everything you said. You may have noticed, but most of my HC candidates are offensive minded. I think I would prefer a HC who calls the plays. That’s why McDaniels and LaFleur are at the top of my list

  • Corey

    Todd Haley should replace Jason Garrett, Mike McCoy should replace Scott Linehan and Greg Schiano should replay Rod Marinelli. This team needs a lot of help and replacing this current coaching staff is the place to start.

    • Brian Martin

      I would absolutely be on board with that coaching staff. I think it would be a huge upgrade over what the Cowboys currently have.

  • Russell

    I have hopes that the OC and DC will be replaced with more innovative minds, it has been frustrating to see the constant intransigence of our current OC and DC to make changes during games when the game plan is not working. Hopefully, Jerry and Stephen will look for that instead of picking from personal favorites.

    • Brian Martin

      Russell, I think that’s what we are all hoping.

  • nick

    I like the sound of Mcdaniels, and don brown. I feel like we need something new and creative, good football minds that can atleast make adjustments and are not completely stuck in there ways and stubborn. Id really like to have a head coach with a fiery personality to rub off on the team. I seen an article about romo being a HC and I don’t know about that yet. But what about an OC brian ?

    • Brian Martin

      I really don’t know what to think about Romo as an offensive coordinator. There’s not anything to go on there except that he was a good QB. I would prefer to go with someone who has a more proven track record personally.

  • Dan Williams
  • Dan Williams
  • Molten Fiya

    Ken Norton Jr, no brainer! He’s got rings!

    • Brian Martin

      I like him as a DC. I would be on board bringing him in.

  • Cowboysdude

    I love how you guys all write about firing positional coaches that are hamstrung because they are running the HC’s system …..amazing. This guy has had 7 years…7. HE ISN’T A HEAD COACH…..when people wake up to that they’ll figure it out. NOT to mention that the “GM” continues to ignore the D and suddenly everyone is expecting miracles from trash…. wake up dude. The ENTIRE coaching staff needs to be replaced along with 2/3 of the Defensive players…..

    • Brian Martin

      It really doesn’t matter if they are running JG’s system or not, changes need to be made. That’s the nature of the business. If you’re not succeeding, you are replaced. And, I agree the entire coaching staff needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, I’m not sure JG will be going anywhere anytime soon.


    I dont no why,But I know Jerry will keep all his coaches,so the misery will continue at least another season.Something tells me he may regret the 5 year contract he just signed Garrett to.

Star Blog

What’s the Next Move for Cowboys in Free Agency?

Brian Martin



Cowboys Headlines - The Dallas Cowboys And The 2016 Free Agency Dance 2
(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

After sitting out the first wave of free agency, the Dallas Cowboys finally dipped their toes in the free agent pool and signed linebacker Joe Thomas and wide receiver Deonte Thompson.

Signing these two free agents will be viewed as somewhat insignificant moves by the majority of Cowboys fans, but it does prove that the organization isn't sitting on their hands. In fact, they have been bringing in a number of free agents for visits, but haven't been able to close the deal with any of them as of yet.

We are still about a month away from the start of the 2018 NFL Draft, which means the Dallas Cowboys will more than likely sign a few more free agents. They would like to fill as many holes as possible heading into the draft so that they aren't pigeonholed by any specific position.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the next move the Dallas Cowboys could make in free agency and the positions they could be targeting.


Tre Boston

San Diego Chargers FS Tre Boston

It's no secret that the Dallas Cowboys are interested in upgrading the safety position. There is a definite hole to fill now that Byron Jones is moving back to cornerback and I wouldn't be surprised if Jeff Heath's job is secure either.

This is why the most popular topic of discussion this offseason has centered on the possible acquisition of Earl Thomas. Unfortunately, the Seattle Seahawks asking price is simply too high and likely means the Thomas and Cowboys union is nothing more than a pipe dream.

But, there are still several free agent safeties who they could show an interest in and could upgrade the position. Tre Boston, Kenny Vaccaro, and Eric Reid are all still available on the open market and could come in and be immediate upgrades for the Cowboys.

Personally, Tre Boston is the safety I would target if I were the Dallas Cowboys. He had a breakout season in 2017 as a member of the San Diego Chargers in Gus Bradley's defensive scheme. Bradley's scheme is similar to the way Kris Richard will use the Cowboys secondary players.

Offensive Line

Cameron Fleming

New England Patriots OT Cameron Fleming

The Dallas Cowboys have already brought in several offensive lineman free agents, which would indicate they are serious about not only finding a new starting left guard, but adding some much-needed depth. Their lack of depth really hurt them in 2017 and they definitely don't want that to happen again moving forward.

Marcus Martin, Cameron Fleming, and LaAdrian Waddle have all reportedly met with the Dallas Cowboys. Martin and Fleming are currently still free agents, but Waddle recently re-signed with the New England Patriots.

Both Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming makes sense for the Cowboys and would be a welcomed addition to the roster. Martin would likely take over Joe Looney's role as the backup center/guard, but could compete for the starting LG position. Fleming could start at right tackle, but would also be an immediate upgrade at the swing tackle position

There are other options still available, but hopefully something can materialize with Marcus Martin and Cameron Fleming.

Defensive Tackle

Bennie Logan

Kansas City Chiefs DT Bennie Logan

The Dallas Cowboys currently have enough bodies to deploy along the defensive line if the 2018 season were to start today, but they could definitely stand to upgrade the 1-technique. It's one of the reasons why Vita Vea has been mocked to the Dallas Cowboys as a potential first-round pick on a regular basis.

The Cowboys have shown in the past that they don't particularly value the 1-tech position very highly, which means they will likely be bargain shopping in free agency and possibly wait until the middle rounds to draft one.

There are a few free agent DTs who I believe they should target, Jonathan Hankins and Bennie Logan. Both players would definitely be an upgrade over what the Cowboys deployed last season and probably won't break the bank to acquire.

Unfortunately, they might not be very high on Hankins since he wasn't even on their draft board back in 2013, but he still makes sense nonetheless. I believe they had a third-round grade on Logan however, so they could still be interested in bringing him aboard. Regardless, finding another big-bodied/space eating DT in free agency could be a priority.


Navorro Bowman

Oakland Raiders LB Navorro Bowman

The Dallas Cowboys already added some much-needed depth by signing Joe Thomas, but I don't think they should stop there. Thomas is more of a weak side linebacker, but the Cowboys could still definitely use someone to backup the middle and strong side positions behind Jaylon Smith and Damien Wilson.

Unfortunately, the linebacker position has been depleted significantly already in free agency. The only option that really makes sense is Navorro Bowman, who the Cowboys showed interested in bringing aboard last season after he was released by the San Francisco 49ers.

If the Dallas Cowboys were somehow able to convince Bowman in signing, then they would likely have already improved not only the depth, but talent from last season. Add another rookie LB at some point in the draft, and the weakness suddenly becomes a strength.

The Cowboys are reported to have an interest in Bowman, but that's as far as it's gone so far. It might be time to make something happen before someone else snatches him up.

Which position or player would you like the Cowboys to target next in free agency?

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Star Blog

Sean’s Scout: Linebacker Joe Thomas Brings Speed, Range to Cowboys D

Sean Martin



Sean's Scout: Linebacker Joe Thomas Brings Speed, Range to Dallas Cowboys Defense 1

It took some time, but the Dallas Cowboys have their first outside free agent of the offseason, signing Linebacker Joe Thomas to provide depth at a position where Anthony Hitchens and Kyle Wilber have already signed elsewhere.

The fifth-year pro has played exclusively with the Green Bay Packers, but the Cowboys do have some familiarity with Thomas as he spent part of 2015 on their practice squad.

Joe Thomas has served as a core special teams contributor and sub-package LB for the Packers out of South Carolina State, and will now look to bring these services to a Cowboys team in need of play making ability on both defense and special teams.

Using film from this past season, here is Joe Thomas' full scouting report.

LB Joe Thomas: Strengths

Thomas1 - Streamable

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Joe Thomas lined up at all three LB positions for the Packers, taking the majority of his snaps on defense at MIKE or WILL. The WILL position is where Thomas should fit best in Dallas.

Not overly physical with a shorter but square frame, Thomas is a rangy player with light feet and fluid movement ability. Shifting laterally along the line of scrimmage to "pick through trash" is not a problem for Thomas, nor is flipping his hips and running to the football.

It may take Thomas more effort than it should to get in position on most plays, with false steps and late reads being an issue, but once he establishes his sight on the point of attack this is a downhill missile of a player.

Thomas2 - Streamable

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Joe Thomas uses his length well to disengage from blocks and finish off plays, doing a nice job of not allowing blockers into his chest consistently.

With Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith expected to be the Cowboys' primary starters at WILL and MIKE respectively, Thomas could supplement these two physical, well-rounded players extremely well given his athleticism.

LB Joe Thomas: Weaknesses

Thomas3 - Streamable

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There is a reason a player with the raw traits of Joe Thomas goes un-drafted, and in this case it is because of awareness and anticipation issues in Thomas' game.

Far too often on tape, Thomas is forcing himself to recover from false steps against the blockers in front of him. I would have loved to see a player with this movement ability get more clean opportunities to finish at the football, but it was simply not there for Thomas.

When Thomas wasn't late to the ball against the run, he was getting caught flat-footed in space trying to compensate for this reactionary ability. This led to Thomas' fair share of missed tackles, where the LB failed to break down correctly.

Overall, Thomas did a decent job of avoiding blocks and disengaging, and does play with better-than-expected stopping power. The strength and technique to shed blocks was rarely seen though, relying on his quickness to outrun opponents to the spot.

LB Joe Thomas: Summary

Sean's Scout: Linebacker Joe Thomas Brings Speed, Range to Dallas Cowboys Defense

This is a player that should help the Dallas Cowboys in two phases of their game this season.

Signed for both 2018 and 2019, the Cowboys have clearly seen enough from their former practice squad linebacker in Green Bay to bring back an athletic ST ace with upside on defense.

Joe Thomas shouldn't be taking Lee or Smith off the field regularly this season, but at his best he will factor into Rod Marinelli's defense on passing downs.

Thomas gives a unit predicated on flowing to the ball even more speed on the field, and is an ideal depth signing with the versatility to cover punts and kickoffs.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Linebacker Joe Thomas Brings Speed, Range to Cowboys D" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Star Blog

Could a Special Coach Help Dez Bryant’s Route-Running?

Brian Martin



Could Special Coach Help Dez Bryant's Route Running?

Dez Bryant's career with the Dallas Cowboys may be in limbo, but that's not stopping him from trying to improve his game and on-field performance.

Bryant will reportedly train with personal wide receivers coach David Robinson, who specializes in route-running, according to reporter Jane Slater of NFL Network. This should come as good news to a lot of Cowboys fans, because Dez Bryant has often been criticized throughout his professional career for his route-running.

If anything, this news should indicate that Dez Bryant is more determined than ever to rebound from his disappointing 2017 season and prove his critics wrong that he is no longer one of the top receivers in the league. I for one am not going to bet against him.

Bryant's work ethic and passion for the game have never been questioned. His desire to be the best is evident anytime you turn on his film, whether it is in a game situation or on the practice field. He takes the "practice like you play" mantra to heart.

Everybody should be encouraged that at this point in his career, Dez Bryant is still looking at ways to improve his game and seek help. Hopefully, working with a well-known receivers coach like David Robinson can take Bryant's game to the next level.

Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (AP Photo/Matt Strasen)

You may not know who David Robinson is (I certainly didn't), but he is well respected around the league and has helped other receivers under his tutelage. Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jordan Reed, and even Cowboys former WR Brice Butler have all benefited from Robinson's coaching.

Dez Bryant has always been regarded as one of those types of receivers who is always open regardless how tight the coverage is around him. His ability to go up and snag the ball out of the air is arguably his best trait, but he could become more dangerous if he can create separation on his own with better route-running.

Unfortunately, Bryant is entering the stage in his career where age becomes a factor and some regression is to be expected. This is why improved route-running could improve any deficiencies Bryant maybe dealing with.

But, what exactly will David Robinson be working on with Dez Bryant?

Robinson told Jane Slater that in his workouts with Dez Bryant, he will concentrate on the expansion of Bryant's route tree, shaking defenders at the line of scrimmage, and improving footwork technique to compensate for any natural loss of speed due to age.

I don't know about you, but I'm actually looking forward to seeing how Bryant responds to Robinson's coaching, hopefully still as a member of the Dallas Cowboys.

We all know that Bryant's status with the Cowboys is unknown, at least to those of us on the outside looking in, but I don't see him going anywhere in 2018. There just aren't any vet WRs or rookies who I can see replacing his production. Of course, I could be wrong.

One thing is for sure though, Dez Bryant isn't going to sit on his hands while he waits to find out what his future holds.

Do you think improved route-running will help Dez Bryant's game?

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