Reports: Cowboys Targeting Tony Sparano For Role On Offense, USC Assistant For Defense

Mike Ehrmann

More changes look to be in the works for the Cowboys coaching staff, with Tony Sparano and USC linebackers coach Scattie Hazelton being mentioned as possible candidates.

"Uncomfortable" was the word Dallas Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones used to describe how things were going to be at Valley Ranch. Since then, the Cowboys have fired RB Coach Skip Peete and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and have hired new DC Monte Kiffin.

Are you uncomfortable yet?

With rumors that tight ends coach and passing game coordinator John Garrett may also be on his way out, reports surfaced of a couple of new names the Cowboys may be targeting to shore up their coaching staff: Tony Sparano and USC's linebacker coach Scottie Hazelton:

KD Drummond joked yesterday that hiring Tony Sparano would bring the band back together. Indeed, Sparano was brought to Dallas by Bill Parcells in 2003, initially as the tight ends coach and moving up to assistant head coach in his five seasons in Dallas. Sparano was the offensive play-caller for Dallas in 2006, when the Cowboys ranked fourth in points scored in the league with first-year starter Tony Romo under center. A year later, Jason Garrett took over playcalling duties and the Cowboys ranked second in the league in scoring and marched to a 13-3 record. Sparano is said to have an excellent relationship with Tony Romo and Jason Witten.

In 2008, Sparano became head coach of the Dolphins and led them to an 11-5 record and the AFC East division title after the Dolphins had won just one game the previous season. After two subsequent 7-9 seasons and a 4-9 start in 2011, Sparano was fired in Miami. He moved on to the New York Jets as an offensive coordinator, where he got caught up in that terrible QB mess: under Sparano, the Jets offense ranked 30th in yards and scored 10 points or less in seven games behind a QB unit that compiled an atrocious 68.3 passer rating.

It's not clear yet whether Sparano will end up with the Cowboys, and it's also unclear whether his role would be TE coach or something else, and whether that role would include playcalling duties:

The 39-year old Hazelton worked for Monte Kiffin as linebacker coach at USC last year. Prior to that, he had spent five years at North Dakota State, the first three as the defensive line coach, and the final two as defensive coordinator. In those two years, North Dakota advanced to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs twice, and won the championship in 2011.

On the Jason Garret Show, Garrett said he 'anticipates continuing to juggle around' with the coaching staff. The Cowboys' possible interest in Hazelton could signal the end of Matt Eberflus as the Cowboys' linebacker coach, but Hazelton could just as well be a possibility for the defensive line position. Just as Sparano may be an option for OL coach, running game coordinator and Offensive Coordinator, as position currently held by Bill Callahan.

Are you uncomfortable yet?

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