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 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 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 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 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 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.
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.
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 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.
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).
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.
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?
Did a Year Away Help Rejuvenate TE Jason Witten’s Game?
Jason Witten is 37 years old, retired from the NFL after the completion of 2017 season to try his luck as an announcer in the booth, but has now decided to come out of retirement to rejoin the Dallas Cowboys? It seems a little unrealistic to think he can come back after a year away from the game and pick up where he left off, but it sounds as if he's like a Phoenix rising from the ashes.
Jason Witten has been the talk of Dallas Cowboys OTA practices so far. These practices are unpadded and basically just an opportunity to do install some of the offensive and defensive plays, but that doesn't make them any less important. One of the things that has been somewhat surprising though is how talked up the future Hall of Famer has become.
Here is what Head Coach Jason Garrett had to say recently about Jason Witten's return:
“Yeah, absolutely. He’s been excited about every part of it ever since I met him and that hasn’t changed,” coach Jason Garrett said. “The work that he’s done in the weight room in the off-season program has been outstanding. His testing numbers and all of that are what they’ve been or even better. And he just has an unbelievable way about him. Tremendous passion for the game. And he demonstrates that every day. Witt looks good. He’s excited to be back and we’re certainly fortunate to have him back.”
The main thing that stands out from Garrett's quote to me is how Jason Witten looks just as good, if not better after not playing at all in 2018. To think that his testing numbers are possibly even better is unfathomable. We typically don't see NFL players in their mid-30s retire from the game and then return just as good, or maybe even better than they were before.
Maybe that's just what Jason Witten is, a little inhuman. Maybe he's found the secret to turning the clock back just a little bit. Or, maybe he found the fountain the youth and didn't tell anybody. Regardless, there's no doubt Witten will be a welcomed addition to the Cowboys offense, especially if he's gained a step.
I don't know about all of you, but I'm hoping the year away from the game did him some good. I honestly thought he made the right decision to retire prior to the 2018 season. It just looked like father time was catching up to him in 2017. But, hopefully all he needed was a little time away from the grind he's been putting his body through for over a decade.
Whatever he's done hasn't gone unnoticed though. Even Quarterback Dak Prescott has noticed and said he's on to Witten's scheme.
“I guess the trick is to take a year off because he’s definitely gotten better, stronger and faster,” Prescott said. “He hasn’t lost a step.”
I'm not afraid to admit I wasn't too excited to see Witten come out of retirement and rejoin the Cowboys at first. I was skeptical he could be the player he once was after a year away from the game. But, all of this talk about him looking as good as he once was, perhaps better, has me really looking forward to seeing him on the field once again.
Do you think a year away has rejuvenated Jason Witten's game?
Cowboys en Español: El Verdadero Cambio en La Ofensiva
Los Dallas Cowboys tuvieron un interesante 2018. La ofensiva dejo mucho que desear toda la primera mitad de la temporada cuando carecían de un receptor número uno. No fue hasta media temporada cuando consiguieron a Amari Cooper de los Oakland Raiders, que la ofensiva comenzó a verse realmente amenazante. Siendo sinceros, el cuerpo de receptores de los Cowboys lucía muy débil al inicio y Michael Gallup aún no conseguía mucho tiempo de juego en el emparrillado. Incluso una vez en el equipo, a pesar de las grandes hazañas de Cooper en Dallas, la ofensiva no terminó de dar el siguiente paso.
Sí, con Amari en el equipo vimos un equipo de Cowboys que movía constantemente las cadenas e incluso se convirtió en una de las mejores unidades en tercera oportunidad en la liga, pero no fue suficiente. Los problemas en zona roja persistieron y continuamos viendo una selección de jugadas muy cuestionable semana tras semana.
Es por eso que al finalizar la temporada, la administración de los Cowboys finalmente tomó una decisión muy anticipada. El entonces coordinador ofensivo, Scott Linehan, fue despedido.
En cuanto a talento, los Dallas Cowboys no verán un cambio mayor en su ofensiva. Cole Beasley, uno de los mejores WR slot en la NFL, firmó con los Buffalo Bills durante la agencia libre. A pesar de la llegada de Randall Cobb, la ofensiva probablemente extrañará bastante a Beasley. Además está el regreso de Jason Witten al campo, quien se repartirá el balón mucho con los jóvenes del equipo, principalmente con Blake Jarwin. Por último, Travis Frederick podría estar de regreso como el centro titular. Fuera de eso, no se anticipan cambios de jugadores en la ofensiva.
Y a pesar de esto, la afición de los Cowboys espera ver un cambio grande entre la ofensiva del 2018 y la de 2019. Si las cosas salen bien, así será. Pero más que por el talento del equipo, que ya está ahí y es un muy buen talento, deberá ser por el hombre al mando.
Kellen Moore ha tomado las riendas como el nuevo coordinador ofensivo y finalmente podremos ver su potencial. Muchos han criticado a Moore, en gran parte por nunca haber sido un quarterback exitoso en la NFL. Sin embargo, hay muchas razones por las cuales deberíamos estar emocionados.
Desde que Moore salió de la universidad de Boise State, se le veía como un prospecto muy inteligente. Incluso analistas como Jon Gruden (en ese entonces conductor del programa de ESPN Gruden's QB Camp) mencionaban que Moore probablemente no sería un gran mariscal, pero que tenía la mente de un coach.
En Boise, Moore trabajaba con la ofensiva del actual coach de los Washington Huskies, Chris Petersen. Esta ofensiva es una muy complicada que le exige al mariscal saber casi tanto como un jugador profesional. Muchos han descrito a Moore como un genio ofensivo que será un gran coach en el futuro.
Para los Cowboys, Kellen Moore será una pieza clave en 2019. Si vemos una ofensiva realmente diferente, será gracias a su creatividad y filosofía que implementa a un grupo bastante talentoso en Dallas. Los jugadores están ahí, ¿sabrá el coordinador ofensivo de 30 años aprovecharlos?
NFL to Study Marijuana Use, Will It Impact Randy Gregory’s Status?
The NFLPA and the NFL have reached an agreement to research alternative pain-management tools for the players. They'll form joint medical committees to study different strategies, among which will be the use of marijuana. It's important to make it clear that said committees will not be exclusively about marijuana, but a lot of different issues related to pain-management in the league. However, it'll likely be one of the most important aspects of their work.
Marijuana continues to be a highly debated topic and it's no different when discussing the NFL. Dallas Cowboys fans should be very familiar with the situation. Earlier this year, David Irving "quit" on football during an Instagram live stream while smoking weed. In the video, Irving talks about how he thinks it's better to be addicted to marijuana rather than certain medications used by NFL teams to treat their players.
Although David Irving is not an authority on substances, that is where all of this debate centers around. Throughout the league, players are given strong medication to deal with injuries and the physical pain of playing pro football. I'm not an expert either, but it's more than fair to say there's a strong argument here. Specially in a country where marijuana has already been legalized in 10 states and the trend points toward legalization continuing.
The current CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement) between the NFL and NFLPA will expire after the 2020 season and how the league's drug policy looks like in the new agreement will be a huge factor for reaching a satisfactory CBA for both sides.
Of course, the fact that the NFLPA and the league are working together on such an important task doesn't mean we will see any immediate changes or that the NFL's ban on marijuana will be lifted anytime soon. Many big question marks will have to be answered before we hear about teams implementing this substance as a pain management tool.
For the Dallas Cowboys, this will be a relevant narrative down the line. Pass rusher Randy Gregory was reinstated after serving an indefinite suspension due to substance abuse prior to the 2018 season. After a dominant year, Gregory was suspended again by the NFL and it all points toward him sitting out this upcoming season and perhaps even more.
Even still, the Cowboys are still standing behind their 2015 second round pick. If the league ends up lifting its ban on marijuana, they'll have to decide what they will do with players already serving a suspension for this reason. Guys like Randy Gregory, for instance. If it's decided they'll be reinstated to the NFL, the Cowboys will sure be glad to have supported Gregory all throughout the process.
Last year, the pass rusher proved how effective he could be even with a short period of time training. Hopefully, the Cowboys are able to get him back on the field eventually, where's been consistently dominant. In the meantime, we'll see how recently acquired Robert Quinn does in Dallas.
The NFL won't be lifting its ban anytime soon, but it's good to know they're at least open minded to changing the league's policy and consider alternatives that could benefit the players' health. We'll see how these new medical committees work and keep you updated here at Inside The Star.
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