Dallas Cowboys: Bill Cowher

Chat recap: Cowboys still a destination?

May, 22, 2014
IRVING, Texas – We got back into the flow of the chat on Wednesday, spending an hour answering all kinds of Dallas Cowboys questions.

In the chat we discussed:
  • How much Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith could be paid.
  • Jason Garrett as a general manager.
  • What Scott Linehan will bring to the offense.

If you want to read the full chat, click here.

This question stood out.

Mike D (Washington, D.C.): How much of a "Dream Job" is the Cowboys HC position? With JJ's presence, is it really a glamour job like Yankees manager, Lakers HC, etc? For that matter, is it even the best job in the NFL?

Todd Archer: Bill Parcells came out of retirement for it and work for Jerry. It's still a dream job. There's a lot that comes with the dinner, as Garrett likes to say, but that's because of the franchise history and Jerry. Is it the best job in the NFL? Good question. I don't think so. Pittsburgh might be better because you're guaranteed a certain level of security. Baltimore might be better because of the front office situation. But it's one of the five best jobs. The Cowboys will never lack for interest in the spot.

Please allow me to expand my thoughts:

The Cowboys will not have to worry about finding a replacement for Garrett if or when they need one. When Linehan was asked what drew him to the team as passing game coordinator his answer was simple: "It's the Dallas Cowboys."

He could have gone elsewhere, but it's the Dallas Cowboys. It will always be the Dallas Cowboys.

Bill Parcells likened it to playing the big room. This from a guy who coached in New York. The Cowboys would never have to worry about what Sean Payton did to the Oakland Raiders. He had an agreement in place to be the Raiders head coach, but backed out. Jerry Jones bumped his salary up to $1 million and after the 2005 season he was off to the New Orleans Saints.

Jerry will have the pick of the coaches he wants. If he wants a name, then a name like Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher would consider it. I’m not saying that’s the route he would go, but this is the big room. And the big room pays a lot of money.

New TE coach must develop Escobar

January, 18, 2014
IRVING, Texas – With the Dallas Cowboys heading to the Senior Bowl on Monday, coach Jason Garrett knows he has at least one vacancy to fill with the departure of tight ends coach Wes Phillips to the Washington Redskins.

The No. 1 task of the next tight ends coach has to be the development of Gavin Escobar.

The new tight ends coach will inherit future Hall of Famer Jason Witten, who will be entering his 12th season in 2014. He is the franchise’s all-time leading receiver. He is coming off a 73-catch, 851-yard, eight-touchdown season. If the Denver Broncos or San Francisco 49ers make it to the Super Bowl, Witten will play in his ninth Bowl.

It’s not that coaching Witten is easy. It might be more challenging. On the CBS pregame show last week Bill Cowher interviewed New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who had this to say about Tom Brady:

"[Tom and I] have had a weekly meeting the entire time we've been together,'' Belichick said. “Tom is one of the toughest players I've ever had to coach, because when you walk into a meeting with Tom, he's already seen every game. Like the Colts. He's already seen every game the Colts have played defensively. So you can't go in there unprepared, you can't go in there saying, 'Well, I don't know if they're going to do this,' because he'll say, 'Did you see the Tennessee game? That's what they did.'

"You have to be as well-prepared as he is. And that's a good thing but it's also a hard thing. You can't throw the curveball by him. You better know what you're talking about, because he does.''

That’s the challenge for a coach with Witten. He knows everything inside and out. The coach has to challenge him in different ways.

But the Cowboys know what they are going to get in Witten.

They don’t know what they are going to get out of Escobar, their second-round pick in 2013. He had nine catches for 134 yards and two touchdowns. He needs to improve greatly as a blocker and it’s more than just getting stronger. He has to work at it, learn the technique, know all three positions the tight end has to play in this offense. Escobar can’t be a one-trick pony (or two tricks) of running the seams in the middle of the field and fades in the red zone.

The new coach has to get more out of Escobar than what the Cowboys got out of their other second-round tight ends in Anthony Fasano and Martellus Bennett.

Why Jones isn't going for big-name coach

January, 5, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- As the Cowboys inch (sprint?) toward making Jason Garrett the team’s next head coach, some of you wonder why Jerry Jones has not made runs at higher-profile coaches, like Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden or Brian Billick or waited for the Jeff Fisher saga to play itself out.

Jones has reminded everybody that a coach has never won a Super Bowl with a new team the second time around. I’ve taken that to mean he’s not interested in a Super Bowl coach. It has been pointed out Jones might like to be the first owner to have a coach win a second Super Bowl, but I’ll point out the last part of a quote Jones said last week on the subject: “But I’m a big believer that that initial proving it out is a big motivator.”

If you’re looking for other reasons not to hire those bigger names here goes:

Cowher – Difficult to knock him with his record with the Steelers, but Pittsburgh’s system has endured through the years. I’m not sure he is a personnel guru, and I don’t know that he would be able to get his assistants in place. Again, hard to knock him at all. I just don’t think he would want to be here with the structure in place.

Billick – He won one playoff game after taking the Ravens to the Super Bowl in 2000. In three of his last four years he missed the playoffs. His successor, John Harbaugh, has led the Ravens to the playoffs three straight seasons, although Harbaugh has benefitted Joe Flacco.

Gruden – After winning the Super Bowl in 2002, Tampa Bay went to the playoffs twice and lost twice. Plus, the Bucs roster crumbled and he could never settle on a quarterback.

Fisher – Since 2003 he has had two winning records (2007-08) and three losing records. And no playoff wins.

But there’s this too: Of the 12 teams in the playoffs this year, nine are led by coaches with no previous head coaching experience.

Wanna bet on who's the next coach?

November, 4, 2010
Bodog.com has placed odds on who will be the Cowboys' head coach at the beginning of the 2011 season.

Jon Gruden -- 3/2
Bill Cowher -- 5/2
Jason Garrett -- 4/1
Wade Phillips -- 50/1
Any other coach -- 1/1

The leading candidate in the "any other coach" crowd would be Carolina's John Fox. He appears to be on his way to an end-of-the-season divorce with the Panthers, but he's a proven head coach who happens to be good pals with Jerry and Stephen Jones.

Firing Wade Phillips now wouldn't help

September, 24, 2010

IRVING, Texas -- Jerry Jones put to rest the silly speculation that Wade Phillips might be fired next week.

That getting rid of Phillips after an 0-3 start was ever a distinct possibility is a foolish belief. Jones just doesn’t operate that way. He’s never fired a coach midseason and definitely isn’t going to set the precedent with a coach who is three weeks into a two-year contract.

The idea that the Cowboys would benefit by canning Phillips in the aftermath of a loss Sunday in Houston is simply stupid, as I’ve tried explaining to some of my misguided friends at ESPN 103.3.

If Phillips is fired, who would replace him? Jason Garrett, whose offense can’t score more than one touchdown per week, certainly doesn’t deserve a promotion. Joe DeCamillis, an inspirational leader who might make a good head coach, has his hands full trying to fix a special-teams mess. Do you really want Dave Campo in charge again? And we haven’t even discussed the drop-off with the defensive coordinator if Phillips’ Valley Ranch access card gets confiscated.

Folks in a fantasy world seem to think Jerry can just get Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden or somebody else with a Super Bowl pedigree to replace Phillips on the fly. That’s not the way it works in the NFL. Coaching searches take longer than 10 days. It takes an entire offseason to implement a new coach’s schemes and philosophies.

Firing Phillips after a few weeks would send a clear message that the Cowboys’ season is a lost cause. The odds are stacked against an 0-3 team, but any player, coach or executive ready to roll over at that point has no business being in the NFL.

You can call Jones a lot of things, but a quitter isn’t one of them. If anything, he’s too stubborn for his own good. But, in this case, he’s absolutely right to stick with his head coach through a rocky start of the season.

If this season is ultimately a failure for the Cowboys, Phillips will probably be fired, although the labor uncertainty clouds the picture. Jones can carefully consider all the candidates during the offseason.

September certainly isn’t the time to conduct a coaching search, no matter how loud the knee-jerk crowd gets.

Seattle news isn't good for anti-Wade crowd

December, 3, 2009
If you want Wade Phillips out at Valley Ranch, you ought to be concerned about today's news in Seattle.

Seattle Seahawks general manager Tim Ruskell is resigning, ESPN.com's Mike Sando reports.

What does that have to do with the Cowboys? Ex-Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren is considered the favorite to replace Ruskell.

Holmgren, of course, would have been on Jerry Jones' short list to replace Phillips. Ex-Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher is a long shot at best, because it's unlikely that he would be willing to give Jones the control the NFL's most visible owner demands.

That leaves ex-Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan as the most likely candidate. But Shanahan, whose offensive scheme requires quick linemen instead of the big, mauling types employed by the Cowboys, could be the top candidate for a few openings, including the Washington Redskins and Houston Texans. Would Jones be willing to win a bidding war for him?

Holmgren would have been the best fit to follow Phillips. However, it appears unlikely that he will be available.