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Todd Bowles to meet with Phillips today

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JJT says Todd Bowles will be meeting with Wade Phillips today, kicking off the search for a defensive coordinator.

Todd Bowles is scheduled to meet with Phillips today and might get the coordinator's job. If he doesn't, then Phillips will have to conduct a search, though it shouldn't take that long. Ted Cottrell, his coordinator in Buffalo, is available. Dat Nguyen will do something on defense, perhaps quality control, if their is no change with the linebacker coaches. I don't have a good feel, right now, for what Phillips wants to do with the offensive staff.

Lenny P. over at ESPN also brings up the name Ted Cottrell.

Cottrell ready to return to the sideline: The hiring of Phillips in Dallas could, directly or circuitously, mean the return of longtime defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell to the league in 2007. Inexplicably out of the coaching ranks in 2006, after he was part of the purge of the Mike Tice staff in Minnesota following the 2005 campaign, Cottrell worked in the league office last season. While hearing appeals and doling out fines and suspensions was interesting, coaching is in Cottrell's blood and it's what he would prefer to do in 2007. Cottrell and Phillips have a longtime friendship. And Cottrell is expert in the 3-4 scheme that Phillips will retain with the Cowboys. He could be a wonderful mentor to current Dallas secondary coach Todd Bowles, who many feel is being groomed to be the coordinator, this year or very soon. And Phillips and Cottrell recently spoke about the possibility of working together again.

But here's another possible twist: Cottrell, 59, and a 23-year NFL veteran, could actually succeed Phillips as the San Diego defensive coordinator, rather than join him on the Dallas staff. The departure of Manusky to San Francisco means that Schottenheimer has no heir apparent to Phillips. And few guys currently available possess the degree of expertise that Cottrell has with the 3-4 front, which the Chargers aren't about to abandon. So one way or another, the move of Phillips could pave the way for Cottrell, one of the NFL's really good guys over the past two decades, to get back into coaching in 2007.

And while we're talking about assistant coaches, what about Tony Sparano? More Lenny P.

What's next for Tony Sparano? It will be interesting to see what becomes of Tony Sparano once all the dust settles in Dallas. The assistant head coach on Bill Parcells' staff, Sparano is the lone member of the offensive brain trust still around. Sparano called the plays in 2006 for a Dallas offense that statistically ranked No. 5 in the NFL and was the league's fourth highest-scoring unit. He was one of three in-house candidates interviewed by Jerry Jones in the coaching search process, is said to be well-regarded by the Cowboys' owner and has been blocked at least four times the last two years from interviewing for positions outside the organization. So it would seem, right, that retaining Sparano for Phillips' staff is a priority? But at what position? The Cowboys have already hired Jason Garrett as offensive coordinator and, some suspect, head coach trainee. It's believed that, while his experience is limited, Garrett will call the plays. Which could mean that Sparano is forced to return to his roots, coaching the offensive line, perhaps with some fancy title and a raise. Sparano, 45, has been a guy whose career has quietly been on the rise. But the arrival of the less experienced Garrett, who has replaced Sparano in the fast lane, could be an impediment.

Todd Archer has more on Sparano, here.

Tony Romo gets a win.

The Cowboys quarterback won the quarterback portion of the Pro Bowl Skills Challenge, edging out Cincinnati's Carson Palmer, New Orleans' Drew Brees and St. Louis' Marc Bulger.

The competition had quarterbacks throwing at stationary targets from different distances and on the run. Romo's golf game must have come in handy, I'd guess.

The competition will be shown during halftime of Pro Bowl and after the game on NFL Network.

And just because, another quote from a San Diego player:

And then there was this from linebacker Shaun Phillips:

"He's a player's coach. He knows how to utilize everyone's ability and get the most out of them. I've never been around a coach like that before. I know he's going to do a good job in Dallas because Wade is a great coach and they have a lot of talent."