Clarence Hill has a good rundown on where we stand in terms of hiring coaches. In a nutshell, Jason Garrett is the offensive coordinator, unless he's the head coach, but the Cowboys have gotten permission to speak to Wade Phillips, Norv Turner and Gary Gibbs. Todd Bowles and Tony Sparano are also still in the mix and may get second interviews.
"I'm excited about the opportunity," said [Wade] Phillips, who has a 48-39 record as a head coach and is the son of former Houston Oilers head coach Bum Phillips. "In some ways with my dad living down on the ranch, I've always been a Cowboy I guess."
But here's an interesting quote from Phillips.
"It's cool," Phillips said. "Jason is a great guy. It shouldn't be a problem. I've heard lots of good things about him."
While we're on the subject of hiring an offensive coordinator before hiring the head coach, JJT has gone off the bend for the second time this week. After trashing Parcells earlier this week, he comes back to trash Jerry Jones. He's starting to consign himself to the "crazy, angry columnist" bin, currently occupied by Jen Floyd Engel and Randy Galloway.
I'm not saying JJT is absolutely wrong in his opinion about the way Jerry Jones is hiring the coaches, it's definitely unorthodox. But he leaves out some key information that makes things a little different in context.
First, Jones wanted Jason Garrett badly, as did quite a few other coaches around the league over the last few years. The Dolphins had him, and they set a fast deadline to make a decision. Parcells retired on Monday. The Cowboys had to decide on Garrett by Thursday, after first obtaining permission from the Dolphins. So Jones' hands were tied by the late and somewhat unexpected decision by Parcells. Then he was further constrained by the Dolphins deadline. If Jerry really wanted Garrett, if he really thinks he's a rising star that could be the Cowboys' future coach, then he had to do something. And you can't blame Jerry if he wasn't ready to name Garrett the head coach yet, without checking out some other candidates or maybe interviewing Garrett a second time.
I don't know how good Jason Garrett will be, but from everything I've read, Garrett gets rave reviews from many veteran coaches and players. Every quote almost universally praises Garrett for his intelligence and his personality, while acknowledging he was practically a coach during his playing days. That sounds pretty appealing to me.
Back to JJT, my point is that Jerry had a vision for a specific coach, he targeted someone he thinks is a future star and went and got him by whatever means necessary. He was given a window of maybe three days to do it in and he got it done.
When JJT says the following, he leaves out critical context:
That is the dumbest thing ever.
The dumbest thing ever? Come on JJT, that's below your skills as a writer. It sounds like a bitter verbal blast from a 7th-grade schoolgirl. You don't even entertain the notion that Jerry may have done a very good thing for this franchise by grabbing a promising young coach who probably dreamed of returning to Dallas. It might be unorthodox, but Jones was pressed to make a decision, and he did.
JJT rightly brings up the point that whoever the next head coach is, he might not be happy having his offensive coordinator already chosen for him. But he once again doesn't talk about this specific situation, he generalizes. If you talk about the three main candidates, I don't think having Garrett on board would be any kind of impediment.
For instance, does it really make sense to anybody that a coach like Wade Phillips would even consider turning down the job, or fear that the team will think he isn't in charge, because Jerry helped pick the staff? Seriously, does anybody think that a two-time ex-NFL coach who probably thought his shot at a third head coaching position had passed him by would be concerned with having an offensive coordinator in place? And forget about Norv Turner having a problem, he and Garrett have a long history together. Finally, Gary Gibbs is probably so stunned that he's being considered for the job that Garrett being here would be the last thing on his mind. Jerry could tell him the staff would consist of former members of the Village People and he would still be thrilled to take the job.
I get what JJT is saying about the fact that Jerry hiring coaches for the new head coach could undermine his authority. This may be true, but is the possibility of that so great that you would pass on what you think is one of the better young minds in football, someone you have a history with, just to not have that possibility arise? I would say hire the people you think are good enough to win football games, and try to work out the rest. Jerry had to decide on Garrett in a short timeframe, he had to grab him now or risk losing him.
But this statement is really self-serving for JJT and the media:
Just make an announcement? Why? Why should Jerry Jones announce anything until he's ready to? There's no mystery. Jerry knows he wanted Garrett, he knows that the other candidates are not going to be put off by his presence, and so he pulled the trigger. I don't need an announcement to tell me that. After the way Bill Parcells controlled the information that flowed to the media in Dallas, this just sounds like JJT is mad because the Cowboys don't consult with the press on the inner-workings at Valley Ranch.
Oh really, I guess those guys mentioned above don't want to take their own crack at running the Cowboys for a few years. After all, if you don't want Jason Garrett to take your job then there's a simple solution - win football games. If you're winning, you won't get fired. I think any of those guys have the confidence to take the challenge and believe they will win, making the Garrett presence a non-issue. If they don't have that kind of confidence, then we don't want them anyway.
Besides, as I mentioned above, it's not like other NFL teams are beating down the doors to get any of the three main candidates as their head coach, and they're not getting any younger. I don't know for a fact that this may be their last chance for a head coaching position, but they better act like it is.