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?
2018 In Review: Byron Jones Emerges As CB1
Heading into the 2018 season Byron Jones was being asked to prove himself. The former first round pick had fallen out of the coaches' good graces during his third season, though many of his struggles could be attributed to those very coaches which were then questioning his ability.
Being asked to play out of position, or at least in a spot which did not maximize his natural ability, Jones struggled in 2017. Too often he was playing in the box as a safety where his lack of physicality was exposed by the opponent's run game. This was mostly due to the coaching staff falling in love with his tight-end-erasing ability in man coverage, but backfired when overused as a safety.
Once hired the following offseason, Kris Richard and company decided to move Byron Jones to cornerback full time, allowing him to utilize his excellent coverage skills and athletic ability to the fullest, rather than putting him at a disadvantage in the box.
The results? Well, Jones had one of the best seasons of any cornerback in football, earning All Pro and Pro Bowl honors for the first time in his young career.
Byron Jones had a dominant season for Dallas
Pro Football Focus graded Jones as the sixth best cornerback in all of football last season, allowing just 0.79 yards per coverage snap. Despite not having an interception on the season, Jones still earned national recognition as one of the best cornerbacks in the entire league.
Down the stretch of the season, Chidobe Awuzie started to play up to the level which fans had hoped for during the preseason. He had been sticky in coverage most of the year, but now he was making plays on the ball at a much better rate, forcing incompletions. This led to an increase in targets to Jones' side, and though the increase resulted in more catches given up by the number one cornerback, I don't think Jones' play faltered as much as some will have you believe.
The fact is, when you get targeted more you are bound to give up more catches and yards. The key is to force them into contested catches, and make things as difficult for the receiver as possible when targeted.
Byron Jones continued to do this all season long, and fans should be excited for the next step of his growth in 2019.
Cowboys en Español: Comentando el Tope Salarial
Por muchos años, el tema del tope salarial ha sido un tema sensible para los Dallas Cowboys. Entre dinero muerto y otros problemas, el equipo ha tenido una situación delicada en este aspecto. Sin embargo, para la temporada del 2019 tienen más espacio de lo que estamos acostumbrados.
Según Over The Cap, los Cowboys tendrán aproximadamente 48 millones de dólares disponibles en 2019. Es importante recalcar que este número no es definitivo y puede cambiar. Año tras año, esta administración ha sido aficionada de reestructurar los contratos de ciertos veteranos para liberar espacio salarial constantemente. Además de esto, hay varios jugadores bajo contrato que el equipo podría decidir cortar para liberar aún más dinero.
Al ver sólo 48 millones disponibles, es complicado imaginar un escenario en que el equipo logre satisfacer todos sus objetivos. Hay bastantes candidatos a grandes extensiones en el equipo, principalmente dos jugadores. En una liga en la que quarterback es la posición más importante, la segunda más importante podría ser la del caza cabezas, cuyo objetivo es ir tras el quarterback contrario.
Pues en Dallas, hoy dos jugadores en estas posiciones que hay que extender. El más urgente sin duda es el defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence. Lawrence se puso el jersey del equipo cuando este lo designó a jugar bajo la etiqueta franquicia. Afortunadamente, el atleta de 26 años la hizo de soldado y jugó sin amenazar con faltar a entrenamientos ni pretemporada.
Lo que sí comentó es que no pasaría por lo mismo en 2019. Ahora, el momento está aquí y es tiempo de que los Cowboys lo extiendan. El valor de Lawrence es difícil de predecir, pero es bastante seguro que se acercará a los números de Khalil Mack. Mack hizo historia ganando un contrato que en promedio gana 23.5 millones al año. Si bien no anticiparía que lo supere, la cifra estará cerca al contrato del defensivo de los Chicago Bears.
Además está Dak Prescott, cuyo contrato probablemente estará por encima de los 25 millones anuales. Son contratos caros, pero son piezas fundamentales para el equipo. Definitivamente se les tiene que pagar a ambos. Son pilares que año tras año buscan equipos en toda la NFL.
Además de esto, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, Cole Beasley y más podrían tener un impacto en el tope salarial. Algunos buscan un contrato nuevo, otros una extensión. Pero honestamente, me parece que habrá más espacio en el tope salarial de lo que pensamos. Sólo es cuestión de tiempo para que los Cowboys comiencen a reestructurar a sus veteranos para ahorrarse unos cuantos millones para utilizar en agencia libre.
Tyron Smith, Tyrone Crawford entre otros pueden ser buenas opciones para comenzar este proceso. Antes era Jason Witten uno de los candidatos favoritos para este proceso, pero él ya se encuentra comentando partidos para ESPN. En Inside The Star, continuaremos actualizándote con contenido al día de los Dallas Cowboys.
Can the Cowboys Become Legitimate NFC Conference Contenders this Offseason?
Super Bowl LIII is in the books, and the Dallas Cowboys can look back on a better-than-expected 2018 campaign. Having won the NFC East with a 10-6 record and bowing out to eventual finalists Los Angeles Rams, the Cowboys' young team can look ahead to 2019 as a chance to take another step forward.
The offseason is now upon us, with the NFL free agency period opening in the middle of March and the NFL Draft coming around at the end of April. Until those times, experts, pundits, and fans are left to assess their teams and predict their activities in the running to the start of next season.
The Dallas Cowboys are in a precarious position, with the team exceeding expectations, still being very young and having plenty of cap space, but also having many top-end players set to become free agents and being without a first-round pick in this year’s draft. There does, however, appear to be a way for the team to make improvements and solidify their place atop the NFC East and potentially go on to win in the Conference Finals.
Lock Down the Big Guns
Many see DeMarcus Lawrence as the top potential free agent this spring, so the Dallas Cowboys need to do everything in their power to lock down the 26-year-old defensive end.
Vice President Stephen Jones has emphasized the team’s target of retaining their own stars, per Star-Telegram, with Lawrence, Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Ezekiel Elliott, and perhaps Byron Jones being in the discussion for long-term deals.
As it stands, the team will have roughly $48.5 million in cap space for next season, which leaves plenty of space to re-sign their top players. They look set to let go of Tavon Austin, David Irving, and quite possibly Cole Beasley, among others, leaving a need to add reinforcements.
Adding New Talent
One of the most heavily rumored moves for Dallas in this free agency is picking up native Texan and former Legion of Boom linchpin Earl Thomas, per Forbes.
Against the Rams in the playoffs and throughout the season, the Cowboys lacked a defenseman who could make plays on the pass. Thomas is one of the notorious ball hawks in the league, boasting 28 career interceptions, three of which came in just four games of last season.
If the Cowboys can re-sign their stars while keeping some space for an Earl Thomas-sized contract, which clocked in at $10.4 million in 2018 for the Seattle Seahawks, their odds of going all the way next season will significantly increase.
Right now, the expected names of the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs lead the odds to win the next Super Bowl at +750. Behind them, the Rams sit at +900 having suffered a suffocating defeat in this year’s Super Bowl. Much further down are the Cowboys at +2500 right now with redbet. If they re-sign Lawrence, pay their young stars, and bring in Thomas, they’ll shoot up the table of favorites.
Then, there’s also the additions in the draft to consider.
The Cowboys may be without a first-round selection, but that may end up working in their favor. Round one of the 2019 NFL Draft is set to be laden with defensive selections according to most mock drafts, with a few quarterbacks sprinkled around and a minimal selection of offensive weapons. If the Cowboys re-sign Lawrence, they’ll be looking good at defensive end, so should then turn to giving Prescott another weapon in the passing game, which will also help to keep defenses honest and give Elliott more room to operate.
As stated, the NFL is a passing league, and Prescott exploded once he was given a viable option in Amari Cooper. Michael Gallup is expected to take another step forward next season, but just in case, the Cowboys can add another strong receiving option in the draft thanks to the strength of the defensive class. A.J. Brown of Ole Miss will almost certainly go in the first round, but exciting talents in D.K. Metcalf, Parris Campbell, Marquise Brown, and Deebo Samuel could all still be available when Dallas rings in during the second round.
Improving Dallas' pass options and pass defense will go a long way toward improving the team and allowing them to push on to a bigger and better campaign in 2019.
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