Coordinator Prospects


This offseason will bring with it several significant changes to the Dallas Cowboys. Free agency is just ahead, the draft looms large (more on that in a later FanPost), and decisions have to be made on several current Dallas veterans. Player movement is not the only item on the docket in the Big D, however; there is a whole list of questions about the coaching staff. Jason Garrett appears to be safe for one more year, but there is a real possibility that Dallas will be searching for coordinators on both sides of the ball, and soon. Here is my list of a few candidates for each side:

Offensive Coordinator

Norv Turner (currently serves as the Cleveland Browns OC) - This would be a homecoming of sorts for Turner, who served as Dallas' OC in the glory days of the early 1990's. Turner suddenly finds himself in a precarious position after the Browns unexpectedly fired HC Rob Chudzinski after one year on the job. Turner has proven his mediocrity as a head coach, but has long been respected as an offensive coordinator. It's easy to find value in the job he did this year in Cleveland with a rotating carousel of hilarity at quarterback. Turner's another Air Coryell disciple - along with his familiarity with Jason Garrett, it seems likely that he would fit right in.

Rob Chudzinski (fired by Browns [HC] on 12/29) - Turner's former boss in Cleveland, Chudzinski's former stop was as OC of the Carolina Panthers, where he took the league's worst statistical offense and made it a top-10 unit. He prefers a vertical, aggressive offense that could take advantage of the talent Dallas boasts at its offensive skill positions. While his one year in Cleveland didn't provide a ton of wins (4-12), his team was played hard enough and was competitive enough that it was a shock that he was fired after only one year.

Tom Cable (currently serves as the Seattle Seahawks offensive line/assistant HC) - Cable served as the HC of the Oakland Raiders prior to his time in Seattle. A specialist in offensive line play, Cable could perhaps take an up-and-coming unit for the Cowboys and make them one of the best in the league. A tough, in-your-face type, Cable could bring some much-needed attitude to the offense in Arlington.

Defensive Coordinator

Rod Marinelli (currently Dallas' defensive line coach) - This seems like the preferred option for Dallas. If Dallas is able to smoothly transition from Monte Kiffin without upsetting Marinelli, he seems like the odds-on favorite to be Dallas' new DC. While he wouldn't represent a change in philosophy on defense, his unit (rushmen) impressed many fans this year by playing through an absolute flood of injuries with passion and maximum effort. Marinelli oversaw a group of players that featured guys from literally off the street, and was largely able to get decent production out of them.

Ray Horton (currently serves as the Cleveland Browns DC) - Like Turner, Horton's future is uncertain. If he is available, however, I believe that Dallas should be very interested. Horton has had success as a DC in both Arizona and Cleveland - neither of which is overflowing with established talent. He also played CB for a while in Dallas; in fact, his last game was with Dallas in Super Bowl XXVII. Hiring Horton would necessitate a second consecutive offseason of drastic change in defensive scheme, however, due to Horton's attacking 3-4 scheme. For this reason, Horton would probably be a very long shot to end up in Dallas.

Jim Schwartz (fired by the Lions [HC] on 12/30) - Schwartz served as the head coach of the Lions for the last five years and was previously the defensive coordinator under Jeff Fisher in Tennessee. Schwartz runs an aggressive 4-3 defense that emphasizes pressure from its front four. Fiery and brash, Schwartz would definitely be a controversial hire who may not fit in with Garrett's calm demeanor. If Jerruh feels that he's the man, however, Garrett's demeanor won't mean just a whole lot.

Leslie Frazier (fired by the Vikings [HC] on 12/30) - another victim of Black Monday, Frazier served as Minnesota's defensive coordinator before inheriting the top job. Like Marinelli and Kiffin, Frazier is a Tampa 2 disciple and would not represent a change in scheme for Dallas. However, his track record as a coordinator is a good one - when he was the Vikings coordinator, their defense ranked well with relatively few big name players.

Ken Norton, Jr. (currently serves as the Seattle Seahawk's linebackers coach) - Talk about a homecoming. Norton, Jr. has served as Seattle's linebackers coach for the past three years under defensive minds Pete Carroll and Dan Quinn. Norton, Jr. would bring Seattle's attacking 4-3 scheme with him. I think he played a little linebacker around here, too.

I'm sure there are plenty of other prospects that I've missed - let me know!

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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