IRVING, Texas -- The Cowboys have several assistant coaches without a contract for 2012: Dave Campo (secondary), Hudson Houck (running game/offensive line), Brett Maxie (secondary/safeties), Wes Phillips (assistant offensive line), Keith O'Quinn (offensive quality control/wide receivers) and Skip Peete (running backs).
Coach Jason Garrett wouldn't say if he wants any to return, but it's worth noting he developed a strong bond with Phillips, the son of former coach Wade Phillips, who is now the defensive coordinator with the Houston Texans.
"I feel great about our staff and how we’ve worked really hard, and again, we’ll address that at a later time," Garrett said.
The Houston Texans expressed interest in hiring Maxie last season but were denied the ability to speak with him about a coaching position.
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan signed a multiyear deal last season but with several head coaching openings, there's a chance Garrett might have to replace him.
"Well, if Rob has an opportunity to go be a head coach somewhere, I think that’s a great thing for Rob, and we certainly would encourage that," Garrett said. "I think he’s worthy of being a head coach in this league. I think he does an outstanding job as a coordinator, he’s an excellent leader, he’s an excellent coach, and we would encourage that for him. I think it’s a great opportunity for him. I think that’s part of the process. You allow for that to happen if that opportunity does exist, and then we would have to obviously replace him and make some decisions of our own. But, we certainly love having him as our coordinator, and we’re excited about our opportunity to grow in that area for next year."
If Ryan leaves to become a head coach, linebackers coach Matt Eberflus, whom Ryan called his right-hand man, could get elevated to coordinator. Eberflus could also leave to become Ryan's defensive coordinator/assistant head coach should he get a head coaching position.