Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
With the regular season over, the annual coaching carousel is in full swing. Many teams that did not make the playoffs have already made moves, but the early signs are that the Dallas Cowboys are going for stability.
It is only two days since the end of the regular season as I write this, but there has already been a storm of firings throughout the NFL. Seven head coaches and five general managers were axed on "Black Monday". Some were long expected, like Andy Reid getting the boot from the Philadelphia Eagles, and some were surprising, like Lovie Smith being shown the door by the Chicago Bears. Now the action to find replacements is hot and heavy. Reid has already been mentioned as being a leading contender to replace Ken Whisenhunt with the Arizona Cardinals.
Even though they did not make the playoffs after a rather heartbreaking loss to the Washington Redskins, the Dallas Cowboys have not made any coaching moves. For them, the goal seems to be stability and continuity. This is the way things have looked all season for those who have been actually listening to what Jerry Jones, Jason Garrett, and everyone else in the organization, including the players, have been saying. That continued with comments by Garrett on Monday. He specifically addressed one of the more popular rumors that has been circulating, that Norv Turner, also terminated as the San Diego Chargers' head coach, was being looked at as a full time offensive coordinator and play-caller for the Cowboys.
"Norv Turner is someone I respect a great deal," Garrett said. "He's a great football coach, he's a great friend of mine. But we're just trying to focus on today here in Dallas."
While this is somewhat typical of Garrett in that he doesn't exactly answer the question, it also fits with what Turner himself is saying about not wanting to join a staff as "the new guy". And there is also a feeling that Garrett is deflecting rumors about him giving up the play-calling role, despite speculation (covered by our own Archie Barberio) about someone being brought in to take that over.
Garrett also made some comments indicating that defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will keep his job.
"I thought Rob did a really good job," Garrett said. "I stood up here a number of times and said you don't want to talk about injuries and we're not talking about them now but in answering your question I'm going to say that it was a real challenge for (Ryan). If you think about the number of guys we lost on defense, starting, marquee players who are just simply out, and the other guys who are battling through injuries and the challenges he had bringing guys from the practice squad up, from off the street and on our team and literally playing them two days later."
There were many (including me) who saw that Lovie Smith was out of work and immediately thought that he would be an excellent DC for the Cowboys if he did not get hired elsewhere. But given his credentials, it is much more likely he is going to get another HC gig, and outside of his name, I don't really know who might be a certain upgrade over Ryan. And Garrett is indicating that continuity and consistency are key parts of his well known process.
While it is still early in the evaluation process for the Cowboys as to what changes might come, it does not look like any major firings coming for Dallas, but there is another way things could be shaken up. Special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis is getting a look from Chicago to replace Smith. And along with the head coach and GM terminations, there are many new vacancies for assistant coaches around the league. Some other Dallas assistants, such as assistant head coach and wide receivers coach Jimmy Robinson, secondary coach Jerome Henderson, and linebackers coach Matt Eberflus might get a look from other teams. This would of course open up some vacancies for Garrett and company to fill.
At the moment, it looks like Dallas is in a reactive mode. However, the evaluation is not necessarily over. The odds are that some changes are in the offing. We will keep you posted.