Dallas Cowboys: Todd Grantham

If Cowboys stick with 3-4 defense ...

January, 8, 2013
IRVING, Texas -- In the interests of covering our backsides, let’s look at possible 3-4 candidates should the Cowboys stick with that scheme but employ a different look.

Arizona defensive coordinator Ray Horton was on Jason Garrett’s radar as a secondary coach two years ago -- not coordinator -- but he has become a head coaching candidate in two years of running the Cardinals defense. He learned from Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau, Pittsburgh’s zone-blitz architect, and would have pieces in place to run that style here.

Romeo Crennel comes from the Bill Parcells coaching tree. He has Super Bowl experience. Players love playing for him and he keeps the scheme interesting. He has had two tries as a head coach and it hasn’t worked out, but his style might fit well with Garrett.

Could the Cowboys look to the college ranks for a coordinator? Garrett worked with Todd Grantham, Georgia’s defensive coordinator, when Grantham coached the Cowboys' defensive line under Wade Phillips. Grantham has an attacking style and has a defense that is filled with NFL-ready players. Given his SEC ties, he could provide good insight on players in the draft. He also has NFL coordinator experience (Cleveland) and, like Garrett, worked for Nick Saban.

Do Cowboys need D coordinator search?

January, 3, 2011
IRVING, Texas -- Jason Garrett praised the job Paul Pasqualoni did as the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator in the final eight games, pointing to the circumstances.

But Garrett, who danced around questions about his future as a head coach, did not offer any hints about whether he’d want to keep Pasqualoni as the defensive coordinator.

“When you look at it on the whole, he was put in a difficult situation in the middle of the year and tried to implement some of the changes we wanted to do,” Garrett said. “I thought he handled the situation well. I thought our players responded to him.

“I think we need to get better on defense. There is no question about that.”

The Cowboys ranked 23rd in the NFL in total defense (351.8 yards per game) and 31st in scoring defense (27.3 points). The yardage totals got worse and the scoring totals only slightly improved in the second half of the season.

However, the Cowboys made major strides in a category strongly emphasized by Garrett. The Cowboys forced 20 turnovers in the second half of the season, twice as many as they forced in the first eight games under Wade Phillips. The Cowboys had four defensive touchdowns in the last eight games and set up several other scores with turnovers.

“We’ve talked about the importance of turnovers and that being really the most significant stat in football and how turnovers correlate to scoring points and how scoring points correlates to winning,” Garrett said. “I thought the defense did an outstanding job really getting the ball from the opposing offense, knocking it out and picking up a fumble like happened the other day or being awfully good at going and getting the ball and intercepting it…. I know that certainly helped us offensively score more points and contribute to winning. So that’s an important of it.”

Garrett said that it was ultimately his decision to appoint Pasqualoni as the defensive coordinator after Phillips’ firing, although he discussed the issue with Jerry Jones. Garrett said that he had not had discussions with Pasqualoni about whether he might continue being the defensive coordinator.

If Garrett does not go with Pasqualoni, there could be several candidates to become the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator, depending on decisions made about other coaching staffs around the league.

Miami defensive coordinator Mike Nolan might be a good fit if the Dolphins’ staff is fired. Miami assistant head coach/secondary coach Todd Bowles, a recent Cowboys assistant, could also be a candidate. Former Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, who prefers the 4-3 but coached the 3-4 under Bill Parcells, might return to Valley Ranch if the Bengals clean out the coaching staff. Another possibility is trying to recruit former Cowboys defensive line coach Todd Grantham, who has experience as the Browns’ defensive coordinator, back from University of Georgia.

Dom Capers would probably be Garrett’s first pick, which is why the Cowboys tried to sign him as a consultant in 2008. However, Capers has built a top-five defense in Green Bay and not available due to his contract with the Packers.

Three other coaches have expiring deals

January, 15, 2010
IRVING, Texas -- One major reason defensive line coach Todd Grantham was able to leave the Cowboys was because his contract was coming to a close at the end of January.

But he's not the only coach with an expiring contract.

Secondary/safeties coach Brett Maxie, quality control coaches Wes Phillips and Dat Nguyen are other coaches whose contracts are up after this playoff run.

"With the success, those guys will and have more opportunities but all of them really have grown, we think, into significant contributors," Cowboys owner/GM Jerry Jones said. "You know Wes Phillips and Dat, they’re young coaches, but they’ve really progressed under Wade [Phillips]. Of course, Maxie is someone we think a lot of."

Cowboys' coaching continuity continues

January, 15, 2010
IRVING, Texas -- Jerry Jones preached the importance of continuity on a coaching staff when explaining why he wanted to keep Wade Phillips after last season's awful finish.

Jones practiced what he preached when forced to make a change on the staff this week.

When defensive line coach Todd Grantham decided to accept an offer to become Georgia's defensive coordinator, Phillips and Jones quickly agreed that their best course of action would be to bring Paul Pasqualoni back to Valley Ranch. Jones immediately got on the phone and the deal was done 10 minutes later.

Pasqualoni, who was available after being fired as the Miami Dolphins' defensive coordinator earlier this week, spent three seasons on the Cowboys' staff. He coached tight ends in 2005 and linebackers the next two seasons.

"We’re really pleased to have Paul back," Phillips said. "He’s an outstanding coach. I was lucky to have him when he came in here. He was one of the best coaches I’ve been around, and I think we’re lucky to have him back."

That Jones consulted with Phillips before reaching out to Pasqualoni is yet another strong indication that the Cowboys will pick up the option in the head coach's contract for next season, as if that wasn't clear enough after the last four weeks.

Cowboys lose D-line coach to Georgia

January, 15, 2010
IRVING -- Cowboys defensive line coach Todd Grantham will leave the team to become the defensive cooridnator at the University of Georgia.

Grantham was in the final year of his contract with the Cowboys and wanted to remain with the team but when a coordinators spot opened up on the college game, he jumped at the chance.

It has not been determined when Grantham's first day at Georgia will be.

"I think it is particularly valuable that he has a wealth of experience on the defensive side of the ball at both the NFL and collegiate levels," Georgia coach Mark Richt said in a statement. " Now we look forward to moving ahead with the home stretch of recruiting, finishing out the defensive staff, and getting ready for spring practice."

Grantham has been with the Cowboys for two seasons.

"I would like to thank Coach Mark Richt and Damon Evans for the opportunity for myself and my family to be part of the University of Georgia community," Grantham said in a statement released by the school. "I'm very excited about being part of a staff that will work tremendously hard to return Georgia football to one of the premier teams in the SEC. To the fans and boosters of the University of Georgia, I understand the passion and standard of excellence expected. I look forward to developing an aggressive, physical, attacking style defense that offenses will not look forward to playing against."

One interesting thing about Grantham leaving is that the Cowboys now have to look for a defensive line coach. In recent years, the Cowboys had finished their season at this point and their coaches and front office staff have been headed to Mobile, Ala., the site of the Senior Bowl.

The Senior Bowl is almost like a coaches convention, where head coaches looking to fill open positions interview not only college players, but sometimes assistant coaches.

Georgia interested in Todd Grantham

January, 6, 2010
IRVING -- The University of Georgia is interested in Cowboys defensive line coach Todd Grantham to become their next defensive coordinator according to a league source.

Grantham, who was unavailable for comment, has been with the Cowboys the last two seasons.

The last time Grantham coached in college wsa 1998 when he was defensive line coach at Michigan State. Grantham has served college stints at Virginia Tech (1990-1995).

In the pros, Grantham was a defensive coordinator with Cleveland from 2005 to 2007 before he went to the Cowboys.

College programs don't need permission to speak to NFL coaches about potential employment.