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


What If The College Football Season Ended Today (Oct 28) and We Had A Playoff?

BCS - The Playoff Killer

There are a ton of people out there who are completely fed up with the BCS and their system. They don’t want a computer telling them who are the best teams in the nation. They want teams to play it out on the field. So lets take a minute to head off into our own little “Fantasy World” and see what a playoff system would look like today. We’re going to take the top 8 teams from the BCS standings and match em up in a typical tournament style  (1 vs 8, 2 vs 7, 3 vs 6, 4 vs 5).

– Round 1 – – Round 2 – – Championship –
(1) Auburn vs (8) Utah
(4) TCU vs (5) Michigan St
(1) Auburn vs (4) TCU
(1) Auburn vs (2) Oregon
(2) Oregon vs (3) Boise St
(2) Oregon vs (7) Alabama
(3) Boise St vs (6) Missouri

NFL Week 8 Fantasy Quarterbacks

Wanna win this week in fantasy football? Pay attention, these are some must and don’t plays at running back in the NFL in week 8.
Looking for more NFL Week 8 fantasy help?
Running BacksWide Receivers and Team Defenses

Start That Quarterback – Warzecha

I'm so smart I went to Harvard.

1. Ryan Fitzpatrick – Fitzpatrick has started 4 games for the Bills this season. In those four weeks he has averaged 20 fantasy points, most among all quarterbacks over that stretch. Kansas CIty has a pretty good defense, but its better against the run than the pass…and the Jets and Ravens have pretty good defenses too, but it didn’t matter. This guy isn’t a gimmick anymore.
2. Jon Kitna – Sure he looked pathetic last week for most of his three quarters of action against the Giants. But the guy hadn’t seen real action since 2008 and the Giants can play defense. This week he’ll get all the first-team reps and he gets to play the most generous defense to fantasy QBs, the Jacksonville Jaguars. He has history with Roy WIlliams, looked last week like he already has a rapport with Dez Bryant, and Miles Austin and Jason Witten should be easy enough to get the ball to. Kitna will put up Top 12 numbers this week at least.
3. Chad Henne – Henne has been pretty up and down this season as a fantasy QB, but this is a week where you want to have him in your lineup. He’ll be facing the Cincinatti Bengals who will be without both of their talented starting corners, Michigan alum Leon Hall and Jonathan Joseph. Look for him to hook up with Brandon Marshall all day and get Davone Bess heavily involved as well.

Sit That Quarterback

1. Drew Brees – Brees has really only had a couple really good fantasy performances all year, so it should come as no surprise that I’m not high on him against the Steelers defense this week. Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush are still out with injuries, so this will be another week with no help from the running game. I know it’s hard to sit a guy you used a 1st or 2nd round pick on, but you can probably pick up all, or at least one, of the guys listed above and they will all have better days. Mark it down.
2. Brett Favre – Favre is still acting as if he is going to play this weekend. Maybe he won’t. Either way, don’t even think about playing him. I told you not to start him at Lambeau last week, when everyone was sure the old man was going to come up with a vintage performance. He was pathetic. Even though it’s New England’s secondary we’re talking about, he’ll be a bad start again this week too. He’s done.
3. The Texas Rangers’ Bullpen – They probably aren’t eligible in your league, but just in case they are, for the love of God leave them on the bench…


Please don't hit my shoulder.

Matthew Stafford – This is Stafford’s first week back since getting injured in the season’s first game. Don’t be shocked is he is a tad rusty in the first quarter, but if Shaun Hill could do it (and he did), then Stafford will be able to put up numbers throwing to Johnson, Burleson, Pettigrew, and Best out of the backfield. He’s at home facing a Washington defense that is in the bottom quarter of the NFL against the pass. I’d feel fine playing him if I needed a bye-week fill-in, and I’ll be ready to snatch him up as an elite back-up for the rest of the way if he has a good game.


NFL Week 8 Fantasy Running Backs

Wanna win this week in fantasy football? Pay attention, these are some must and don’t plays at running back in the NFL in week 8.
Looking for more NFL Week 8 fantasy help?
Quarterbacks Wide Receivers & Team Defenses

Put Em In – Edwards

Week 1 Repeat?

1.Arian Foster – At the beginning of the season, Foster torched the Colts for over 200 yards on the ground. His opponent this week? The Colts. I doubt he can replicate that kind of success but look for the former Volunteer to rack up the fantasy points.

2.Darren McFadden – Run DMC had a break-out fantasy game last week against the Broncos, scoring four touchdowns. This type of play is what the Raiders envisioned when selecting him in the Top 10 in ’08. I expect McFadden to have a strong game this week against the Seahawks. Start him with confidence.

3.Ryan Torain – Torain has put together back to back 100-yard games and should continue the streak against the Lions average-at-best run defense. Expect Torain to make it rain…that just happened.

Leave Em Out

1.Cedric Benson – I can’t say this enough so I’ll say it again, I’m not a fan of Benson. *cough…overrated…cough* On top of that he has continuously faced tough defenses this season and faces the stingy Dolphins D this week. Sit him if you can.

2.Brandon Jackson – Jackson has shown some signs of fantasy life recently but I don’t expect much against an excellent Jets defense. Look for another option.

3.Beanie Wells – Wells has taken over the lion-share of carries in Arizona and has run well. Unfortunately for Wells, his QB play has been horrible. With that said, look for the Buccaneers to put eight in the box and force the concussed Max Hall to beat them through the air. This doesn’t add up to great fantasy numbers for Wells. Search the waiver wire if you can.


I will, hit you!

LeGarrette Blount – I can’t believe I’m even typing his name but Blount has somehow not only played his way into the Tampa rotation but also taken over the bulk of the carries. I’m hesitant to promote any fantasy stability here but if you’re desperate this week give him a look.

NFL Week 8 Wide Receivers and Team Defenses

Wanna win this week in fantasy football? Pay attention, these are some must and don’t plays at running back in the NFL in week 8.
Looking for more NFL Week 8 fantasy help?
QuarterbacksRunning Backs

Must Start WRs – Thompson

Look Maw, I'm playing the Bills!

1. Dwayne Bowe – The Chiefs have silenced the doubters and have shown to be a solid team. They have done so with a good defense and the league’s best running offense but the week 8 match up against the Bills should be beneficial for the entire offense. My guess is the Chiefs will open up the playbook to try to get passing attack some work. That will mean Bowe should get a lot of looks and barring any drops, will be very productive.


2. Reggie Wayne – I picked Wayne week 1 as a top wide out against the same Texan team he faces this week. He didn’t come through then but will now. Reggie is due for a breakout game against this division foe and I believe it will be this week. Expect a big night from Mr. Wayne this Monday.

3. Brandon Marshall – Marshall is having a quietly productive year and I think it is time he made my top 3. He is leading the Dolphins with 524 yards but only has 1 touchdown. The Dolphins are 3-0 on the road this year and are in Cincinnati this week. Look for the Dolphins to pull out all the stops as they need a win to keep pace with the elite teams in the AFC. Marshall will find the end zone for his second and possibly even his third TD of the year.

Let ’em ride the pine

I want my Romo...

1. Miles Austin – We all know Romo is hurt and Kitna has taken over for the Cowboys. Kitna has shown he can get the job done in years past but he didn’t look the part last week. The full week of preparation should help but how much effort the disappointing Cowboys will give is still unknown. I’m sure he will complete some passes against a pathetic Jacksonville secondary but with so many options, we just don’t know who will be on the receiving end. Leave him out this week just to see how things shake out.


2. Donald Driver – The Packers are traveling to New York to take on the Jets. The Jets just so happen to have the league’s best corner in Darrelle Revis. Earlier this week Revis stated he is “100 percent”. That alone should scare you into leaving Driver on the bench.

3. Calvin Johnson – There is no doubt Johnson is a great talent. However, this week Matt Stafford is starting for the first time since injuring his shoulder week 1. I could see Stafford either throwing 4 touchdowns or 4 picks in his return. You don’t want that kind of uncertainty in your lineup this late in the season. Go ahead and bench him and see how things come together.

Hope You Got One Of These Team Defenses – Cook

  1. Chiefs – At home against the Bills
  2. Cowboys – At home against the Jaguars
  3. Rams – At home against the Panthers
  4. Broncos – On the road at 49ers
  5. Jets – At home against the Packers
  6. Dolphins – On the road at Bengals
  7. Buccaneers – On the road at Cardinals
  8. Steelers – On the road at Saints
  9. Jaguars – On the road at Cowboys
  10. Redskins – On the road at Lions


PatriotsSure, the Vikings have a great running back in Peterson, but not one back has rushed for more then 88 yards against New England this year. Plus we all know about Favre and the broken bones in his foot. The Patriots also know this and you can expect them to focus on the Vikings running game. If Favre doesn’t play then that plays even more into the Pats plans, because nobody is scared of Tarvaris Jackson dropping back to pass.

New Orleans Hornets Season Preview

New Orleans Hornets

New Orleans Hornets

To say the Hornet’s offseason was tumultuous might be an understatement.  The team hired a new GM, a new coach and dealt with their star player’s trade demands.  I’m sure the front office is just happy to start the season at this point but typically uneasiness in the offseason does not translate well to success during the season.   After trades and draft day deals, let’s take a look at the Hornets and my prediction for this season.

Notable Newcomers

Trevor Ariza – Ariza was able to parlay success with a talented Lakers team to a big contract with the Rockets last year.  Unfortunately, Ariza is not the stud the Rockets hoped for so they dealt him to the Hornets as part of a four-team trade.  I think Ariza can contribute but I’m not sure he’s going to yield the results needed from a player with his cap number.

Aaron Gray – This isn’t a bad pickup given the Hornets need for a backup center and the cost.  If Gray can watch his weight, he could be a great value.

Monty Williams – Williams was a highly-regarded assistant with the Blazers and could prove to be the right leader of this team.  His handling of Paul’s trade demands was textbook in talking a player off the ledge.  Unfortunately for Monty, he has taken over a team that doesn’t have a lot of depth and is plagued by cash-strapped ownership.  However, if he lives up to the hype of his potential as a head coach and his starting five stay healthy, he could have success in New Orleans…time will tell.

Losses from Last Season

Darren Collison, James Posey, Julian Wright, Morris Peterson – This is another example of the luxury tax getting the better of a team.  The Hornets unloaded these guys to cut costs and while only Collison has long-term potential, it was a huge blow to their team depth.

Projected Rotation

Unlike some other teams that have position battles going into the season, the Hornets starting five is set.  In all honesty, I like their starting five a lot.  It’s the lack of depth behind these guys that could prove to be their downfall.  Here’s how I see the rotation:

PG – Chris Paul, Mustafa Shakur
SG – Marcus Thornton, Marco Belinelli, Willie Green
SF – Trevor Ariza, Peja Stojakovic, Quincy Pondexter, Joe Alexander
PF – David West, Jason Smith
C – Emeka Okafor, Aaron Gray, Pops Mensah-Bonsu

Projected Record: 41-41

Chris Paul

There is no denying that the Hornets starting five has playoff potential.  With CP3 returning to form and the emergence of Marcus Thornton, they have a very formidable backcourt.  West and Okafor provide nice size and skill-set down low.  Again, though, it’s the lack of depth that concerns me.  The Hornets division alone boasts much more talented rosters with the likes of the Mavericks, Spurs and Rockets.  Look for New Orleans to be in the thick of things for a playoff spot but an afterthought in the division race.  Also, Paul claims he is now happy in the Big Easy and has no desire to be traded but if the season gets off to a rocky start, look for them to possibly move him.

– Edwards –

NFL Week 8 Picks October 30th-31st

NFL Week 8 Picks October 30th – 31st

Let us know if you think we’re crazy or genius.

Week 8 Edwards Cook Thompson Warzecha
DEN @ SF 49ers Broncos Broncos 49ers
BUF @ KC Chiefs Chiefs Chiefs Chiefs
WAS @ DET Redskins Redskins Redskins Lions
CAR @ STL Rams Panthers Rams Panthers
GB @ NYJ Jets Jets Jets Jets
MIA @ CIN Dolphins Dolphins Dolphins Dolphins
JAC @ DAL Jaguars Cowboys Cowboys Cowboys
TEN @ SD Titans Titans Titans Chargers
MIN @ NE Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots
SEA @ OAK Raiders Seahawks Seahawks Raiders
TB @ ARI Buccaneers Buccaneers Cardinals Buccaneers
PIT @ NO Steelers Saints Saints Steelers
HOU @ IND Colts Texans Colts Texans
____________ ____________ ____________ ____________ ____________
Through Week 7 60-44 63-41 56-48 62-42
This Week 8-4 5-7 5-7 8-4

Check out some of the top commenters and how their picks are going so far. Feel free to join the group and start leaving your weekly picks.

  • Craftony “The Greek”: 62-42
  • Leodis: 50-38
  • Jennifer: 33-27
  • Lil Sis: 9-5
  • Todd C: 8-6
  • Milky: 8-6