Things keep getting worse for Jason Garrett’s future in Dallas.
After a close loss in New England to the Patriots this past Sunday, Jerry Jones did an interview where he seemed to pin a lot of blame on the Cowboys head coach.
The Cowboys owner called the loss a “significant setback,” and when the team’s special teams woes were brought up (Dallas missed a FG, had a punt blocked, and mishandled kickoffs during the game), Jones responded, “Special teams is a total reflection of coaching… To me, special teams is 100 percent coaching. It’s 100 percent coaching. It’s strategy.”
Strong words about coaching for a guy in his contract year.
This came a few days after Jones told a story about how he ran into Bill Belichick at a ski resort in 1996 (after being fired by the Browns), and Bill told him to keep him in mind if he ever needed a coach.
Now lets remember Belichick had done nothing spectacular to date as a head coach, and the Cowboys were just coming off of their 3rd Super Bowl in 4 years, and their current head coach was Barry Switzer, Jones’ former college teammate, so there was not an opening. Nevertheless, it became a “what could have been” type of discussion, as clearly the present with Garrett has not yielded the same results as Belichick has over the past 20 years.
Fast-forward to today.
Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman reports Jason Garrett would need a miracle to keep his job, and that Jones already has two candidates in mind to replace the incumbent head coach: Urban Meyer and Josh McDaniels.
Talk about awkward.
Meyer, 55, is the legendary college football head coach, winner of three championships (two at Florida, one at Ohio State), and likely the second best college football coach of the past generation (behind Nick Saban).
Meyer is not coaching this year do to health concerns, spending his days as the assistant AD at OSU, as well as teaching a course there, and on Saturdays he works on a pregame college football show for FOX. Health concerns have been a reason Meyer has left a job before, and I guess Jones must thing he can be lured out of “retirement” if given the right opportunity. A chance to coach the Dallas Cowboys would certainly be a unique opportunity.
McDaniels, 43, is the longtime offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, having been a member of the organization for 16 seasons.
McDaniels has one head coaching stint under his belt, having been hired by the Broncos in 2009, but the stay did not end well, as McDaniels was fired before the end of his second season, going 11-17 in less than 2 years on the job. He went to the Rams for a year to be their offensive coordinator, and has been back in New England since 2012, so he has had time to learn from his past. He did take a head coaching job after the 2017 season with the Indianapolis Colts, but backed out a day after the Patriots lost Super Bowl LII, deciding to stay in New England.
Is he ready to coach again? Could it be a situation like Belichick where his second coaching tenure would go much, much better than his first? We’ll never know until we see it happen.
For Dallas, if they decide not to keep Garrett after the season, this would be their first real coaching search since 2007 after Bill Parcells was fired after the 2006 season.
Yes, Wade Phillips (Parcells’ replacement) was fired midway through the 2010 season, replaced by offensive coordinator Jason Garrett, and the Cowboys “technically” conducted a head coaching search following the 2010 season, it was all but certain Garrett would get the job (he went 5-3 to finish the 2010 season).
When Phillips was hired in 2007, he was picked over more likely candidates at the time, such as Norv Turner and Ron Rivera. Turner had been the Cowboys offensive coordinator between 1991 and 1993, the final 2 seasons being ones the team won the Super Bowl. He had two head coaching stints after (neither ending well), but an obvious connection to the team. Rivera, the future head coach of the Carolina Panthers, had been a linebacker for the Chicago Bears from 1984 to 1992, then rose through the coaching ranks, most recently as the Bears defensive coordinator during their 2006 season (one that ended in defeat to the Colts in the Super Bowl). Phillips had been the defensive coordinator for the Chargers in 2006, and Jones went with the veteran coach.
Another interesting note: Jason Garrett, who only had two seasons of coaching as an assistant at the time (QB coach in Miami), interviewed for the job as well. However, he was actually given a job in the organization (unspecified at the time) before the Cowboys went with Phillips. Garrett had been a backup QB for the team in the 1990s, and you can argue it was odd even then to hire him and force him on the next coach, but it sure seems like Jones planned on giving him the reigns eventually.
For the planning that began in 2007, Garrett’s time in Dallas looks to be ending soon.
He might not be waiting long for his next job though.
On Sunday, before the Cowboys loss at New England, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that the Giants could be interested in bringing in Garrett if he isn’t retained by Dallas. Rapoport notes the last time Garrett reached the final year of his contract (2014), the Giants were interested in bringing in Garrett as a replacement for Tom Coughlin, but Garrett led the Cowboys to a 12-4 record, while the Giants decided to keep Coughlin for one more season (then 2015 became all about Sean Payton possibly getting the job if Coughlin was fired, which never happened).
Garrett must leave good impressions wherever he goes, as the two teams he has ever coached with, he had previously been a backup QB there. Keep that in mind with the Giants, because he was a backup QB there too.
Whatever happens to Garrett, he does boast a career head coaching record of 83-64 (.565), and although he might not be the coach you need to win a Super Bowl, he’s probably better than a lot of the guys that cycle in and out year-after-year.
I leave you with this tweet.
For Dallas, I think it’s time to move on. For Garret, he won’t be looking long for a new job.
Photo above via CBS Sports
Follow Nick on Twitter (@Nick_Collins14)