Dallas Cowboys: Jim Caldwell

Cowboys' Twitter mailbag, Part 1

July, 11, 2014
IRVING, Texas -- Part 1 of the Dallas Cowboys' Twitter mailbag is ready.

In it we discuss:
  • The potential of Tyrone Crawford
  • The potential of the defense overall
  • The potential of Jason Garrett
  • The potential of Sean Lee

Away we go:

@toddarcher: Everybody wants to heap a pile of expectations on Crawford. Jason Hatcher did it. Tony Romo did it. Jerry Jones did it. The coaches have done it. I'm just not ready to say he will have seven or more sacks in 2014. I think if he had five, that would be a good year. Remember, he is coming off a torn Achilles that cost him the 2013 season and he did not have a sack as a rookie in 2012. He was good, solid, dependable, but he never got the quarterback. He had a good spring, but he also expressed some worry that he was still having pain in his leg even if it is considered normal. A five-sack season would be a good way for Crawford to rebound. If he has seven, the Cowboys will be ecstatic. I'm not saying he doesn't have the potential for that kind of season. I just want to see some more evidence before jumping on an already crowded bandwagon.

@toddarcher: Thankfully the fine folks at bloggingtheboys.com have already looked this up. Generally, they do better. Only one team in the past 19 seasons allowed more yards after giving up the most yards in the NFL. Unfortunately that team was the 2008 Detroit Lions coached by Rod Marinelli, who takes over as Cowboys' defensive coordinator. According to BTB, the average improvement is 827 yards from the previous years. Sixteen of those 19 had more wins the following season, which bodes well for the Cowboys. I think the defense will be better in 2014 because it can't be worse. Well, I know it can be worse, but I think Marinelli will make a positive impact. I think you will see the Cowboys go from No. 32 in yards to the Nos. 20-25 range. Call me crazy.

@toddarcher: I'm going to take the new head coaches out of the mix, so no Bill O'Brien, Mike Zimmer, Jay Gruden or Mike Pettine. He clearly isn't among the best in the league. I don't think he's the worst either. I've got Jason Garrett as better than Doug Marrone, Gus Bradley, Joe Philbin and Dennis Allen. I think he's better than Jim Caldwell. I think he's better than Marc Trestman. To me, guys like Jeff Fisher and Lovie Smith are overrated, but that is just my opinion. I'd put him in with guys like Ron Rivera, Mike McCoy and Ken Whisenhunt, and, yes, I realize those guys have made the playoffs or a Super Bowl (Whisenhunt). Garrett is in that 18-23 range, to me. Middle of the road. Much like the Cowboys.

@toddarcher: Maybe I'm just being stubborn on this one, but no. Contractually they can't really walk away yet even if they wanted to ... and they don't want to. I realize Lee has had his share of injuries, but he is an impactful player. He has shown too much even with missing so many games. I'm going to take my chances that he will be healthy eventually. I don't doubt he will come back from the torn anterior cruciate ligament. While still a major rehab, it is not as daunting or as uncommon as it was in the past. Lee will do everything he can do be ready. Sometimes this stuff comes down to luck. Maybe all of Lee's bad luck is out of his system and he'll be able to play a full season in 2015 and beyond. I wouldn't want to see him do it elsewhere for another team..

A look at Cowboys' last two coach searches

January, 9, 2014
IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys are not in a search for a head coach. Jason Garrett will be back for his fourth full season in 2014.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Lovie Smith) and Houston Texans (Bill O’Brien) have landed their guys. The Washington Redskins, Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings are still in the search process.

And they have been elaborate.

The Redskins’ list has 11 names, including Cowboys special teams coach Rich Bisaccia. Bisaccia’s name has turned up in the Titans’ chase too. A lot of the searches have the same names with guys like Jay Gruden, Mike Zimmer, Ken Whisenhunt, Todd Bowles, Jim Caldwell, Dan Quinn and James Franklin.

In 2007, Jerry Jones cast a wide net to find Bill Parcells’ successor.

He interviewed 10 coaches, including three from Parcells’ staff -- Tony Sparano, Todd Haley and Todd Bowles -- and a former assistant in Gary Gibbs. Unlike the Redskins, he did not interview any assistant from NFC East teams.

Including Wade Phillips, who was Jones’ pick, and Garrett, who took over for Phillips in the middle of the 2010 season, eight of the 10 interviewees became head coaches: Sparano with the Miami Dolphins, Haley with the Kansas City Chiefs, Norv Turner with the San Diego Chargers, Ron Rivera with the Carolina Panthers, Jim Caldwell with the Indianapolis Colts and Mike Singletary with the San Francisco 49ers.

Only Bowles and Gibbs have not been named head coaches, although Bowles has a chance in Cleveland or Minnesota.

Of the eight the only two not to take their team to the playoffs are Garrett and Singletary.

In 2010, Jones’ search was not as prolific. He liked what Garrett did in taking over for Phillips in finishing 5-3 without Tony Romo, who was out with a broken collarbone. Jones interviewed wide receivers coach Ray Sherman and also brought Bowles back for another look.

The job was always going to be Garrett’s so Jones did not need to put out a lot of feelers.

Jones could be in the head -oach business in 2015 if things do not go well for the Cowboys. The feeling is that the next search will look more like the one in 2007 than 2010.

The Matt Stover decision

February, 7, 2010
MIAMI -- Colts kicker Matt Stover is 42 years old and looked like it Sunday in the loss to the Saints in Super Bowl XLIV.

Stover, a Lake Highlands product, is thinking of retirement. He wasn't on the Colts roster at the start of the regular season because he was unemployed.

When Adam Vinatieri needed knee surgery, that was the only reason he was signed. However, the Jets, Giants and Browns expressed interest in Stover.

But now Stover is a free agent after a Super Bowl in which he went 1-for-2 on field goal tries. His miss from 51 yards was wide left.

When Stover attempted the kick, his foot hit the ground first then the ball. Stover turned away and pointed his index fingers up, as he always does -- good or bad.

This one wasn't good.

The fourth-quarter decision to attempt such a long kick was interesting.

The Colts led, 17-16, and were faced with a fourth-and-11 at the Saints 33. After the miss, the Saints got the ball, scored a touchdown and converted a two-point conversion to take a 24-17 lead they would not give up.

"There's no reason to believe that he wouldn't make it; he just happened to miss it," Colts coach Jim Caldwell said.

Stover hadn't made a kick from beyond 50 yards since the 2006 season. If a kicker can't make it from that range on a consistent basis, finding employment for the next year could be difficult.

Matt Stover's miss could be costly

February, 7, 2010
MIAMI -- Surprised the Colts attempted a 51 yard field goal with Lake Highlands Matt Stover. He hasn't made a kick of over 50 yards since 2006.

It was 4th-and-11 and maybe the Colts Jim Caldwell overruled Peyton Manning on going for it. But Stover, who is 42-years old, doesn't have the big leg he used to have. His leg is average at best.

The miss kept the score at 17-16 but now the Saints are driving into Colts territory.
MIAMI -- Before Jim Caldwell became the head coach with the Colts, he got an interview with the Cowboys.

Following the Colts' Super Bowl XLI victory over the Bears in 2007, Caldwell became one of the last people Jerry Jones interviewed for the head coaching vacancy when Bill Parcells left.

The finalist for the job were Wade Phillips, who ended up getting the gig and Norv Turner, who became the Chargers coach.

As for Caldwell, he remained in Indy and later took over for Tony Dungy this season.

"What they made me do is really take a look at what is important in developing a football team," Caldwell said regarding the interview process. "So, I had to put those things on paper and had to verbalize them so my interviews with some of the owners like Mr. Jones and several others across the league gave me an opportunity to verbalize those things and see if I can sell them on it."

You could say Caldwell not getting the job was a good thing, since he's got his team just one victory away from a Super Bowl victory, while Phillips still seeks a Super Bowl apperance as a head coach.