Dallas Cowboys Coaching Candidates

Jerry Jones

Recently, one of Illegal Shift’s contributors shared his plan on how the Dallas Cowboys could make an in-season coaching change, and obtain their next head coach.  Since this post, Jerry Jones has stated that he will not fire current coach Wade Phillips during the season.  This makes sense given the recent injury to Tony Romo.  Why make a change when, at 1-6 and without your starting quarterback, the season is barely salvageable?  Letting someone else lead the team won’t accomplish much.  With that said, let’s take a look at some of the head coach prospects that will no doubt catch Jerry’s eye this off-season.

Jon Gruden

Why he should be hired
Gruden’s resume comes with a Super Bowl ring.  That alone is enough to attract the Cowboys’ interest.  On top of his success in Tampa, Gruden has a reputation for running a tight ship.  With the lack of accountability currently in Dallas, his style of leadership and hard-nosed football could be what the team needs.
Why they should pass
Despite Gruden’s Super Bowl championship, he was let go by Tampa for two reasons.  Poor drafting and bad decisions.  Gruden inherited a great team from Tony Dungy and was a good enough coach to win with this talent.  However, when it came time to replenish, he was unsuccessful.  He also seemed to get a little wreckless with his decision making.  Often going for it on 4th down unnecessarily or overconfidence in the run, when he should have passed.  These types of decisions led to his demise.
Odds:  7 to 1

Bill Cowher

Why he should be hired
The Chin’s tenure with the Steelers was filled with nothing but success.  His leadership and coaching style was perfect for the Steel City.  Cowher-coached teams always featured stout defenses and occassionaly potent offenses.  The Cowboys have the talent to feature this deadly combination.  They just need the leader to put it all together.  Cowher can deliver this need.
Why they should pass
All speculation is that Cowher is circling the Giants job if/when it becomes available versus taking another open position.  A lot of folks also think Carolina is another possibility given his residence in North Carolina.  I’m not sure that will happen since Jerry Richardson has shown no signs of making serious financial investments in the team.  Unless you have stellar drafts, I don’t know how you can succeed with those limitations.  Bill will pass on the Panthers opportunity.  I think Cowher will interview for the Cowboys head job but not convinced he will accept when offered.
Odds: 10 t0 1

John Fox

Why he should be hired
The Panthers are having just as disastrous of a season as the Cowboys which will most likely spell the end of the Fox era in Charlotte.  His departure opens the door for several teams to give him a look including Dallas.  Fox has had good success with the Panthers despite the same financial limitations I mentioned previously.  This success and his reputation as a defensive-minded, players coach could lead to him being the favorite.
Why they should pass
Unless Cowher accepts the position or Jerry feels he needs a bigger-named coach, Fox is the guy.  He has the resume, ability and reputation around the league to turn this underachieving team into a winner.
Odds: 3 to 1

Herm Edwards

Why he should be hired
Herm has already expressed interest in the job during recent appearances on ESPN Radio.  Accountability and leadership will not be lacking with the fiery Edwards should he be given the reigns.  He also had moderate success in New York when given talent.
Whey they should pass
Despite being a recognizable name and owning decent experience, I don’t think he’ll be the guy.  I do, however, expect him to at least interview if for no other reason then the Rooney Rule.  Personally, I see Edwards having tremendous success in the college level and would be a great fit somewhere like the University of Minnesota.
Odds: 20 to 1

Rob Ryan

Why he should be hired
Ryan’s family success alone could get him head coaching interviews.  His father led the famous ’85 Bears defense and his brother, Rex, is off to a great start as the head coach of the Jets.  Along with the family name comes talent.  Ryan has been able to put together overachieving defenses in Oakland and Cleveland despite average talent.  He’s also attractive to the Boys due to his knowledge of the 3-4.
Why they should pass
It’s true that his family has had some success and he is no doubt a good defensive coordinator.  What needs to be determined is whether he can be a good head coach. I’m not sure the Cowboys will be the team to try and answer this question.
Odds: 15 to 1


11 responses to this post.

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Illegal Shift and Illegal Shift, Illegal Shift. Illegal Shift said: Who will the Cowboys hire as their next head coach? We give you candidates and odds here http://bit.ly/99F8Lx […]


  2. Posted by Richard on October 31, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Mike Holmgren…he has won a Super Bowl and 3 NFC Titles? I realize he is the General Manager of the Cleveland Browns, but will always be a coach at heart and could be persuaded to coach again with the right team.


    • Posted by Warzecha on October 31, 2010 at 7:21 pm

      That is a good point to make. Would probably be at least as realistic as Cowher I guess. I’m all for John Fox. I think he’d be a good fit.

      Another name I would be willing to give serious consideration to – Jim Harbaugh.


  3. Posted by Hawgfan100 on November 1, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Harbaugh would be very intriguing but I worry about that ‘college to pro’ transition.


    • Posted by Richard on November 1, 2010 at 11:50 am

      My sentiments exactly…college to the pro ranks has not always ended in success.


      • Posted by Warzecha on November 1, 2010 at 1:47 pm

        Well nothing always ends in success. I mean if history is our only guide, the Cowboys are 2-for-2 in finding Super Bowl winning coaches from the college ranks. The majority of their super bowls have been won by former college coaches, the most recent 3, etc.


        • Posted by Richard on November 1, 2010 at 2:46 pm

          I considered that when I posted earlier that Dallas is 3 for 3 under the leadership of Jerry Jones, but quickly realized that duplicating that success will be much more difficult statistically, than in the past. Harbaugh would be the logical choice since he played and coached (QB coach) in the NFL. Good call Warzecha.


          • Posted by Warzecha on November 1, 2010 at 3:21 pm

            I agree Richard, it would be far from a sure thing. And don’t get me wrong….I’d much rather grab a Fox or Cowher and let Jimmy go be Michigan’s savior for sure…


  4. Posted by Craftony "The Greek" on November 1, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Dear Jerry,

    Please do your beloved Hogs a favor and get Nick Saban out of the SEC.


  5. Posted by Blake on November 1, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    I like the DC from Minnesota, Leslie Frasier. He fits the trend of a young, up-in-coming defensive mind that will come at the cheap. Think Mike Tomlin, Raheem Morris, John Harbaugh, Steve Spagnolo, etc…


    • Posted by Warzecha on November 1, 2010 at 5:18 pm

      I forgot about him. I agree with this. My only question, and admittedly it applies to Fox as well, is whether Jerry would want to bring in a guy who has made his mark with a 4-3 scheme given our 3-4 personnel.



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