Although some things are shaping up with the new hires for the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff, there are still several positions vacant, and some offensive coaches who still are not certain of their fate. It is actually a bit of a challenge to keep up with all the permutations of what is going on, because Jerry Jones is quite open about not being very open about things.
"I'm going to be real limited on staff," Jones said. "We're not going to sum it all up for competitive reasons and negotiating reasons. We just are going to let them come out as we make those decisions about adding new staff members. When we've pretty much finished what we're going to be doing, we'll get together with all that. But that won't be down here."
So we are left with trying to piece together hints and unconnected facts to have a firm picture of what the staff is looking like. Some of the tidbits are pretty concrete, such as this confirmation about Brian Baker leaving the team.
Rode up the elevator with Brian Baker. Confirmed he's out as Cowboys DL coach. Said Leon Lett is being kept on.— Carlos A. Mendez (@calexmendez) January 21, 2013
I am glad to hear that the Big Cat is still going to be with the team. Whenever his work as an assistant DL coach was mentioned, it was pretty positive. He also has some connections to Garrett through their playing days, and of course to the Super Bowl run of the early nineties. It is good to see him continuing with coaching. It is not so good to see Baker moving on, especially while the NFL is suddenly under some scrutiny over opportunities for minorities at the top of the coaching profession, but he is apparently in Mobile to look for work, and I hope he finds something good.
One thing that has not been cleared up at all is whether the reported talks with Houston Nutt will lead to anything. After a flurry of speculation about him getting a job like running backs coach, usually couched in terms of how his hiring would be the final step in rendering Jason Garrett the head eunuch of the team, the general feel now is that the interview he had will not lead to anything. It may just have been Jerry Jones doing a favor to him and letting him at least get a feel for the process (and who better to learn about process from than Garrett), or maybe Jerry was convinced that it was not such a good idea to force him onto the staff. Further developments are always possible, but for now, this rumor has cooled way off.
Replacing it is the idea that Mike Tice, former OC for the Chicago Bears, may be a candidate for a job - possibly the much bandied about signal caller that Jones is believed to want.
After a brief talk Jerry jones sees mike Tice shakes his hand. Stephen Jones gets out of his car and greets Tice.— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) January 21, 2013
The thought of Tice being a candidate to take charge of the playsheet during games creates a bit of angst among many, judging by a quick survey of the comments sections. However, there was a report in the Chicago Tribune trying to find out if he was really to blame for the issues the Bears had on offense.
The Tribune asked three opposing coaches who have gone against Tice's offense this year and two front office men about Tice's game planning, play calling and use of personnel. None of them thought he has done poorly.
One defensive coordinator said he would "bet his life" Tice is not the problem with the Bears offense.
Perhaps he would not be as bad a choice as many fear. However, there is also another possibility, and that is for Tice to become the new offensive line coach while Bill Callahan becomes the man calling plays and a pure offensive coordinator. There is a nice bit of logic there, and the recent hire of Rod Marinelli to be the defensive line coach even sets a precedent for Tice to take a step down, as well as it being a situation for two former colleagues from the Bears to work together. If he is someone that the Cowboys want (and in this case, I am including Garrett and possibly Callahan as part of the decision process), then Jerry Jones can certainly make it worth his while.
It is an interesting story to keep an eye on.