NFC East: Todd Grantham

With the Super Bowl in the books, there are no more restrictions on the Philadelphia Eagles' ability to hire a defensive coordinator. If Baltimore Ravens assistant Ted Monachino is in fact a candidate, the Eagles are free to formally interview and even hire him, depending upon his championship parade commitments. Similarly, they can now go after 49ers assistant Ed Donatell, or anyone on either of the Super Bowl coaching staffs.

It had been believed for much of the week in New Orleans that the Eagles were in fact waiting until after the Super Bowl to hire one of the coaches from the game, and it's possible this will move quickly now, though Jeff McLane suggests here that it's possible national signing day this week could have an impact as well if Chip Kelly is looking to hire from the college ranks. Georgia's Todd Grantham is among those who have been mentioned.

When Kelly got the job, I wrote that his two most important decisions were at quarterback and defensive coordinator. He is now arriving at the time of the offseason at which he must make those two critical decisions. Especially if he plans to switch from a 4-3 defensive alignment to a 3-4, it's vital that he select a leader who can oversee that transition and make it as smooth and effective as possible.

Report: Phillips to return as Cowboys coach

January, 18, 2010
IRVING -- Wade Phillips will remain the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys for at least one more season, according to ESPN's Ed Werder. The Cowboys are reeling from Sunday's 34-3 loss to the Vikings, but apparently their performance down the stretch and the first playoff win in 13 years was enough to earn Phillips another season.

Phillips was in the final season of his contract, but the Cowboys have a team option for 2010 that will pay the coach roughly $3 million. There had been some talk that Jones would offer Phillips a two-year extension, but I think there's a decent chance he simply gives him a nice raise for next season. He wouldn't admit it, but I sort of think Jones enjoyed holding off on the contract this season as a motivating ploy. He knew that Phillips wasn't going to challenge him on the idea. But make no mistake. The last thing Jones wanted to do was make a coaching change.

If the Cowboys had faded in December and missed the playoffs, I'm not sure Jones would've had any other choice. But with the way Dallas played leading up to the divisional playoff game, there's enough evidence for Jones to believe that Phillips will eventually get his team over the hump. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo definitely had his coach's back Monday.

"His record speaks for itself," Romo said outside the Cowboys' locker room Monday. "He's done a great job, kept the team together through a lot of tough times this year. He's done a fantastic job as coach of the Cowboys."

Romo believes that it's important to keep the current administration intact. The Cowboys have already replaced defensive line coach Todd Grantham with former Dolphins defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni. But I don't expect any other significant changes on the staff. If Jason Garrett was in the running for any head-coaching jobs, I'm afraid that Sunday's 34-3 loss may have ended that thought.

As the week unfolds, we'll talk a lot about where the Cowboys go from here. It was certainly a successful season in many respects, but obviously things ended on a sour note. A special thanks to my colleagues, Calvin Watkins and Tim MacMahon, for contributing to the Werder report.

Cowboys hire Pasqualoni to coach D-line

January, 15, 2010
The Cowboys have hired a familiar face to replace defensive line coach Todd Grantham, who has accepted the defensive coordinator position at Georgia. Owner Jerry Jones and coach Wade Phillips didn't waste any time in hiring former Cowboys assistant Paul Pasqualoni as the defensive line coach.

Pasqualoni coached tight ends and linebackers from 2005-07 before joining Tony Sparano in Miami. Pasqualoni was fired as the Dolphins' defensive coordinator earlier this week in a move that surprised a lot of coaches around the league. Bill Parcells, the executive vice president of football operations for the Dolphins, had been a huge supporter of Pasqualoni's, but folks I talked to Thursday believed that Parcells was hoping to replace Pasqualoni with his old pal Al Groh, who was recently fired as the head coach at Virginia. Groh interviewed with the Dolphins on Wednesday but he decided to become the defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech today. Pretty interesting quote from Groh regarding his relationship with Parcells:

"Bill's not the coach," Groh said. "And the coach is the person you work with on a daily basis. Bill is very disciplined as he explained it to me to be non-intrusive in that process and let the coach coach the way he wants to, just as Bill always wanted it to be when he was the coach. ... There was just a set of criteria there that I thought that Paul's program and Georgia Tech met very well."

Sounds like Groh wanted no part of Tony Sparano, which is odd since Sparano served under Groh's pals Tom Coughlin and Parcells and is highly regarded in the league. Grantham will remain with the Cowboys until the end of this season.