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Monday, January 9, 2012
Random Thoughts: Does Tony Sparano return?

By Calvin Watkins

After the first week of the postseason we have some random thoughts on it means for the Cowboys.

1. There are reports that former Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparano has some interest in returning to the Cowboys as an offensive line coach. Hudson Houck still has that job, and while his contract will end soon, he hasn't been told he will not be back. Sparano was a solid and popular coach when he was in Dallas. The issue is whether or not Sparano doesn't mind not calling plays. I don't see Jason Garrett giving up those duties to Sparano. I'm also not sure if Sparano wants to return as the offensive line/running game coordinator after spending a couple of seasons as head coach. Money is also a factor. If Jerry Jones can pay Houck a $1 million a season to coach the line, there's no telling what might pay Sparano to return.

2. Tom Ciskowski, the Cowboys assistant director of player personnel, interviewed with the Indianapolis Colts over the weekend for the vacant general manager's job. If Ciskowski gets the gig, his replacement most likely will come from within. Jerry Jones could promote any number of people from Chris Hall, college scouting coordinator, Drew Fabianich, national scout, Judd Garrett, director of pro scouting, and Will McClay, director of football research to replace Ciskowski.

3. It's funny how Tony Romo gets so much criticism for not winning any big games, and come to find out Matt Ryan is 0-3 in the postseason, and while Eli Manning has won a Super Bowl, just picked up his first home playoff win on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium. Romo has at least one playoff win, coming in 2009 vs. Philadelphia. Romo has won some big games, but when you look back on the Cowboys season, especially the last month, you can't blame Romo for the issues.

4. Denver Broncos rookie cornerback Chris Harris finished with five tackles on Sunday in the AFC wild card victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Harris was the fifth cornerback in the dime package the Broncos employed against the Steelers. We talk about Harris today because several teams, including the Cowboys, passed up on drafting or signing him. Harris didn't have a draftable grade coming out of Kansas and some thought he was more of a free safety. But he started four regular season games for the Broncos with six pass breakups and one interception. But there was Harris playing very physical on Sunday which included a hard hit on Steelers wideout Mike Wallace. Think the Cowboys could have used a physical corner in the secondary?

5. You can't replace everybody on the team, and while the Cowboys made numerous changes before the 2011 season, expect some new faces in 2012 again. The offensive line, linebacker corps and secondary could get two new starters each. The only sure thing is quarterback, running back, tight end and wide receiver.