Who’ll be the next Cowboys coach?

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It’s looking more and more likely that, whenever their season ends, the Cowboys will part ways with coach Jason Garrett. So what will happen next?

The names that have generated the most steam to date are Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley and former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, primarily because he self-generated the steam. But before the universe of potential candidates can be fully appreciated, it will be important to know one thing: Is owner Jerry Jones willing to surrender the keys?

After the surprise firing/resignation/whatever of Jimmy Johnson deep into the 1994 offseason, Jones wanted to assert himself, taking greater responsibility in the building of the team. That continued through the disintegration of the roster that Jimmy Johnson built and a haze of Switzers and Gaileys and Campos, when Jerry Jones became sufficiently desperate to chase Bill Parcells, even if it meant letting Parcells be even more of “the guy” than Johnson was.

Post-Parcells, the pendulum swung back the other way, with Jerry (and son Stephen) assuming greater control and visibility from Wade Phillips to Jason Garrett, neither of whom were ever inclined to quibble with others making the big decisions — and with others hogging the microphone and the spotlight.

Garrett, the Dallas coach with the second-longest tenure behind Tom Landry, was supposed to become Jerry’s Landry, with time and care and feeding and patience resulting eventually in an elite football mind capable of taking the talent that he’s given and work wonders. It hasn’t worked, and the failure is no more evident than this year, with the Cowboys having the best team since the days of gloryhole gone by . . . and with Garrett unable to coax that talent into as many wins as it should have.

The flaws with Garrett’s systems and style are now well documented. There’s no flexibility, no opponent-specific game-planning, no in-game adjustments, no active involvement in the coaching of players during games. Just standing, watching, and clapping.

So the question is whether Jerry will now bring in a coach who will want ownership to stand, watch, and clap? It all comes down to whether Jerry, 78, is sufficiently desperate to win and to win now to pursue a coach who will make it clear that three media availabilities per week from Jerry are three too many, and that there is indeed a new sheriff in town.

Jerry also could probe for a middle ground, someone with head-coaching experience who would coexist with Jerry’s publicity jones and not try to stifle it. Someone who would let Jerry think he’s running the show, like Uncle Junior, while the coach is one calling the shots, like Tony.

It’s unclear how Riley or Meyer would fit into that equation. Jerry may want someone who has been a head coach and someone he knows well. Saints coach Sean Payton was at the center of speculation until he signed an extension. It would be naive to at least not consider the possibility that Payton’s extension was motivated at least in part by not having constant chatter and Sunday Splash! reports regarding a jump from New Orleans to Dallas undermine Payton’s effort to win a second championship this year.

Ultimately, the question is whether Jerry would try to pry Payton away from the Saints. If Jerry can’t get Payton, would he look to other former Cowboys assistant coaches who are now thriving elsewhere, like Vikings coach Mike Zimmer, who is signed through 2020? Or how about former Cowboys assistant Dan Campbell, who doesn’t have non-interim head-coaching experience but who is regarded in some circles as a potential head-coaching hire in the coming cycle?

And what about Ron Rivera? He has done far more in eight years than the Cowboys have done in the last 24, and he’s suddenly available. Would he be willing to let Jerry be Jerry and just coach the team?

Things can go in plenty of different directions, but the first fork in the road will depend on Jerry’s broader agenda, which will be driven by the true and full extent of his desperation when it comes to winning at least one more Super Bowl while he’s still the owner of the team. One he determines how badly he wants that, he’ll know whether it’s time to revert to the days of Johnson and Parcells.

76 responses to “Who’ll be the next Cowboys coach?

  1. Jim Harbaugh would be an excellent choice. Similar roster to what the 49ers had. Great running back, great OLine, great front seven with two star linebackers, and a quarterback who is at his best when he can be efficient in his throws instead of having to carry the team.

  2. Urban wants the job. His health is better and if you watch him on FOX tonight, covering the B1G Champ game, you will see in his eyes that he is just dying to coach again.

    I think Urban would be successful in the NFL and if Jerry hires him and let’s him coach and run the football operations then Dallas becomes a favorite for the Super Bowl next season.

  3. As a Giants fan who has watched the more talented Cowboys, year in and year out, it’s quite obvious what they rely on. Talent. Anyone whoever played on a ‘loaded’ team that went .500 knows the deal. Anyone who ever played on an ‘over achieving’ team and won, knows the deal. It’s called ‘coaching’.

    I think critical mass occured this week. The world finally saw the problem. I’m sure the die hard Cowboy fans have been moaning about. Lack of half time adjustments against the Bears. Aikman was screaming it out (quietly) in his semi-jumbled way. OVER AND OVER. Um… HELLO, Jerry.

    I still can’t believe they made Trubisky look that good. He isn’t. He made 2 incredibly stupid Mark Sanchez throws that were completed. He never had to think much as the Cowboys played poker with their cards showing. Rather shocking, actually. A depleted Bears team that isn’t that good, looked great. Nice job Dallas.

    Jerry is either senile or he’s calling the shots or both. No excuse to have that talent perform like that. Oh yeah, they’re playing with one hand tied behind their pack. STOP SHOWING YOUR CARDS AND ADJUST IN GAME AND DURING HALFTIME. Everyone else is actually doing it. We ASSUME Dallas would have gotten the memo…

  4. Repeat after me: As long as Jones remains the GM and a meddling owner, it DOES.NOT.MATTER. who’s the coach.

  5. Peyton? Forget Peyton! The Cowboys made Trubisky look like Johnny Unitas, Y.A. Tittle, and Broadway Joe combined.


  6. Anybody that wants to be a puppet coach for Jerrah. No real candidate should consider a meddling and intrusive owner as an option.

  7. If the cowboys make the superbowl he will still be coach. Remeber the giants won a superbowl having a 9-7 division record . I don’t expect it to happen but it coud.

  8. Interesting that anybody other than Jerry’s family and the most sycophant Cowboys fans thinks the Dallas job is so damn attractive that he can just summon whoever he wants. Payton has it sweet in NOLA, with a great team, and a magnificent ownership/GM set up, and fans that are 1,000x more loving, loyal, and forgiving than Cowboy fans. Zimmer also has a good owner/GM situation.

    The good news is Jerry’s judgment will assuredly make the wrong hire.

  9. the 12 year old reference needed bit of an update. May I suggest Succession? It’s on HBO as well.

  10. Jerry Jones, just like all of us commenters, thinks because he watches loads of football, has a great football mind. He’s watched, he’s analyzed, (just like us), so he believes he knows as much as the coaches about football, and he’s qualified to be his own GM. Therein lies his biggest problem.

  11. He’ll offer Belechick and Brady ownership stakes in the team and full control over personnel decisions.

  12. No self-respecting coach such as Belechick or Meyers would consider coaching for this carnival. And Jerrah keeps suckering in the fans to fill up his stadium LOL!

  13. Who is going to take that job to be Jerruh’s puppet? He wants a “Yes Man”, not a coach.

  14. McCarthy is the same as The Clapper. That’s not an upgrade.

    Meyer will get a hard look. Jerry can’t pass up the cash cow that would be all the Urban Cowboy merchandise and what it means for the value of the team.

  15. Stop, stop, stop saying they are so good.
    6-7 in worst division in football is no one’s (outside of media hacks’) definition of good. As always, grossly over estimated the talent level.

  16. “Lincoln Riley”


    The Big 12 is like high school compared to the NFL. Lincoln Riley is not NFL material. The Sooners look bad so far against Baylor.

    Overrated coach, team, and conference.

  17. As long as JJ@son keep meddling with coach decisions they won’t win a ring. Then factor in the “Boys” are heading into cap hell soon even b4 they re-sign Dak and/or Cooper. Big D is in trouble..

  18. Jerry and the entire cowboys front office have done an excellent job since 2007 putting together very talented rosters, culminating in the current roster. What other roster in the NFL is as talented with as much cap room? They’ve been let down by X’s and O’s. They need great X’s and O’s coaching, not figureheads. McDaniels makes the most sense to me

  19. blackqbwhiterb says:
    December 7, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    Jerry Jones, just like all of us commenters, thinks because he watches loads of football, has a great football mind. He’s watched, he’s analyzed, (just like us), so he believes he knows as much as the coaches about football, and he’s qualified to be his own GM. Therein lies his biggest problem.

    I am no ‘boyz fan,but,Jerrah was a co-captain of the Arkansas U. ’64 National Championship Team.

  20. Mike McCarthy. Regardless of how it ended in Green Bay(thanks in no small part to lousy personnel moves by Ted Thompson) McCarthy has won a Super Bowl, been to the playoffs a bunch of times and has schooled two QB’s to the Hall of Fame.
    Not many other coaches out there with that resume.

  21. The Cowboys defensive scheme is so predictable. For the last 5 years the major weakness
    has been the defensive line. Bad picks , Gregory, Charlton and bad scheme allows other teams
    to get a hat on linebackers causing mismatches.
    The interior line is small and just gets blown up. When players like the
    Patriots Shelton become available the Cowboys say he is only a 2 down
    lineman. Well I’ll take a two down lineman who stops the run and
    helps create third and long.
    The only problem is the Cowboys can’t get to the QB on third and long.
    When a defense can never get turnovers there has to be a problem with
    Scheme and look where the Cowboys are on turnovers ….usually in the
    bottom 5.

  22. Yeah, whoever takes the job will get undermined by the owner at the first sign of distress. That aside, it’s clear Jerruh wants to win, is willing to spend money and picks to do so, and the team does have talent on it. This isn’t the Redskins or, to do a cross sport comparison, the Knicks. It isn’t exactly a grueling division either; for the next 2-3 years you have the Eagles as your chief competition and who knows how good they will be in that time frame. It’s a great job, if you can get on the owners good side.

  23. blackqbwhiterb says:
    Jerry Jones, just like all of us commenters, thinks because he watches loads of football, has a great football mind. He’s watched, he’s analyzed, (just like us), so he believes he knows as much as the coaches about football, and he’s qualified to be his own GM.

    winged warrior says:
    I am no ‘boyz fan,but,Jerrah was a co-captain of the Arkansas U. ’64 National Championship Team.

    Playing college football in the 1960s has nothing whatsoever to do with understanding pro football in 2019.
    The NFL is a totally different animal from college, and today’s football in general is a very different game from the one Jerry Jones played. I would lay odds the majority of men who played at even the highest levels are incapable of coaching proficiently, let alone building or running a team in the NFL, be it understanding the total picture, evaluating talent, scheming, or motivating others to play well and cohesively.
    Post Jimmy Johnson, Dallas’ drafts were often full of head-scratching picks until a few short years ago when Stephen Jones finally influenced his dad to let the Cowboys’ solid scouting personnel do their jobs. As a result, Dallas has drafted well of late. Had Jerry maintained control, I’d bet money Johnny Manziel would have been a Cowboy.
    Jerry in many ways is a great owner. But his ego has sabotaged the team by making him think because he played and watches football, he’s qualified to be an NFL GM. The last 20 years suggest he’s not.

  24. I don’t know why anyone would want that job. It’s all about Jerry.

    It’s like being one of Trump’s secretaries of something.

    You are the Fall Guy but you don’t make any decisions.

  25. Only 12 different teams have won the Super Bowl since 1994. Say what you want but Jerry has 3 wins under his belt. Where is the disdain for the other 19 team owners? Not making excuses because the status quo isn’t working and change needs to happen. But it’s funny for people to think Jerry is a dolt and not successful. National Champion, 3 Super Bowls for Cowboys fans and he’s a self made billionaire, responsible for a large part of the NFL’s current popularity. He will get whatever coach he chooses to pay. Most coaches will consider that job. It just needs to be negotiated. Bang on NFL fans, but most than half of your teams have never tasted a championship since the early 90’s.

  26. Jerry Jones is the only thing wrong with the cowboys. Jimmy Johnson was the best coach the cowboys ever had(long time fan, Landry before him) Jones says at a bar one night anyone could have won with the team I put together. Johnson quit, cowboys basically have sucked since

  27. If jones wants to see cowboys win another super bowl before he dies, he better hire a coach and give him full control with the players, not managerial control but coaching control. The buck should stop with the coach not the owner. Maybe jones is not as medelsome as some think, but it clear that the only times when his team has had success is when he has let the coach make team decisions. Over 20 years of mediocre results ENOUGH. open the check book and go after the top choices pro or college. I’m a cowboys fan but this routine has gotten old. Team is just living of past reputation. What the hell have they done to deserve attention in the last 20 freaking years. Garrett overstayed his welcome a looong time ago is was clear he was never going to become a SB coach a looong time a go and jones has given him coordinations and players to try and prop him up over the years and he still can’t get a talented team to be a consistent winner. Way to much time wasted on Garrett and that is totally and completely Jone’s fault.

  28. “There’s no flexibility, no opponent-specific game-planning, no in-game adjustments, no active involvement in the coaching of players during games. Just standing, watching, and clapping.”

    Sounds like a great coach

  29. Jerry Jones is a dolt and only has 3 Super Bowls because of Jimmy Johnson, anybody who walked into that situation would of had the same, so don’t deluded yourself…The team has basically become a shrine to his rapacious self-aggrandizement and until he quits this pathetic charade he’s some kind of “football man”( he’s the kicker..he’s not) the cowboys will never win squat. Their window of opportunity is closing as the cap is ready to fall on their heads like a piano out of a 8th story window. Jerry is only 77? That media hound looks every bit of 86. Like Gekko said “sorry pal you’re walking around blind without a cane”. The right hire won’t get made cause Jerry values his ego more than results. Proof meet pudding.

  30. Coaching makes a difference, look the niners. Regardless of what we might think of DAK there is no way Garapolo is so much better, but he is coached to produce within their system. I’ll say it again ALOT of talent wasted on Garrett. Whatever deficiencies Jones has as an owner you can’t say he has not given Garrett good players to work with. Many teams do one hell of a lot more with less and that ladies and gentlemen is coaching.

  31. How many pro bowlers do you need to be a good team. 3 on OL. 1 RB. 1 WR. 1 QB. 1 DL. 1 LB. 1 DB. and Garret still can win !!! ?? Pathetic

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