Jason Garrett’s seat couldn’t be hotter right now. He even received the dreaded "vote of confidence" from owner Jerry Jones recently, which as most people who follow the NFL, is the kiss of death for a coach. Since he took over for the departed Wade Phillips midway through the 2010 season, his team went 5-3 in the second half of the season. He has officially been the head coach for full three seasons now with a .521 winning percentage with a 25-23 record. His record shows that his teams play very mediocre and he is on pace for a third straight 8-8 record.
In a worst case scenario the Cowboys could be 4-6 heading into their bye week facing the Vikings tomorrow and the Saints next week in New Orleans for the Sunday Night Game of the Week on NBC. If that were the case and the trend that this team has been following they would end the season with a 8-8 record. At that point could Jerry Jones actually consider bringing him back after another .500 season? Especially since that would mean another one and done season in the playoffs, due to Cowboys having to face a team like the San Francisco 49ers being the 5th seed. However, it would be their first under Garrett.
Who could Jerry Jones turn to if he decides to release Garrett from his contract? I have a few names that should be considered and I am sure Jerry already has a list in his office. If Dallas wants to continue the Tampa 2 defensive scheme, Texan native Lovie Smith should get the call for an interview. Smith was recently fired from the Chicago Bears after going 10-6 and missing the playoffs. He has a career record of 81-63 (.563) and a postseason record of 3-3. Smith also has recently taken a team to the Super Bowl before losing to Peyton Manning and the Colts. He has playoff success and also coached under Monte Kiffin in Tampa Bay.
Obviously everyone around Dallas seem to drop the Jon Gruden name on a weekly basis, which makes sense that his offensive coordinator Bill Callahan, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, defensive line coach Rod Marinelli and special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia all on staff currently. However, the Gruden I want to mention is Jay Gruden of the Cincinnati Bengals. Jay spent most of his coaching career on brother Jon’s staff in Tampa from 2002-2008 and coaching in the Arena league. Since taking over as offensive coordinator for the Bengals his offense has ranked in the top 10 in points and yards for the last two seasons.
The last name on my short list of coaches to consider is a man who has had opportunities but never received a head coaching job is former Cowboys’ defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. He knows Jerry Jones and what it would take to win here. His last three seasons in Cincinnati, his defense has ranked in the top 10. It should be time somebody gives him his shot as a head coach.
You’ll notice that the list doesn’t have a single college coach trying to make the leap up to the NFL. A coach that would need a learning curve to win at this level and with the ages of the core players for this team, Jerry Jones just doesn’t have time to wait.