Mediocrity is not something that sits well with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and in recent years, he’s seen plenty of it from his team on the field. In fact since the Cowboys last Super Bowl win in 1995, Dallas has posted a tepid 141-140 overall record. Dallas finished the 2012 season at 8-8, while a .500 record would have been welcome in say, Jacksonville this season, another average finish is not sitting well with Jones. He took to the airwaves on Wednesday and said that changes are definitely coming for the Cowboys this offseason. After publicly issuing his support of head coach Jason Garrett, you have to wonder if perhaps Jones hasn’t been talking to former head coach Jon Gruden behind the scenes.
Gruden was rumored to be assembling a coaching staff behind the scenes for the last several weeks. On Black Monday, it was reported by CBS Sports that the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach was open to interviewing with NFL teams and had been quietly contacted by clubs in recent weeks. With seven coaching vacancies open and the interviewing process in full swing, Gruden has not been linked to any interviews with any franchises looking for a coach. Why?
On Monday, Pro Football Talk reported that Jerry Jones was seen a few weeks ago in Tampa, Florida. Coincidence? Perhaps. Then again, I reference the CBS report by Mike Freeman that states Gruden has been quietly contacted by clubs over the past few weeks.
Jones is visibly upset over missing the playoffs. He is upset over the lack of performance by his team.
The Dallas Morning News speculates that perhaps defensive coordinator Rob Ryan could be a coaching victim this offseason. There is a chance of that happening, but parse these words from Jerry Jones after appearing on KRLD-FM. “There’s quite a challenge here, but the point that I would like our fans to know is that I’m very upset, I’m very irritated. We’ve got to have a way to play football that maximizes what Tony does best. I can assure our fans this, that it’s going to be very uncomfortable, from my standpoint, it’s going to be very uncomfortable for the next few weeks and months at Valley Ranch.”
The last time I checked, Rob Ryan coaches defense, not Tony Romo.These words do not sound like a resounding endorsement of Jason Garrett. Jones speaks out of both sides of his mouth and has hired a coaching staff while currently employing a head coach. See the hiring of Bill Parcells.
Gruden is going to want to return to coaching on his terms. He is not going to want to join a team that needs a complete makeover. He has not worked well in the NFL developing young talent, he likes veteran players. I would wager to guess that he’s not wanting to return to the sidelines of a team without a quarterback and put in place a three-year plan. He’ll be returning to the NFL in order to win another Super Bowl and likely wants to compete for a championship quickly.
Currently, the only two coaching vacancies in the NFL that have teams with quarterbacks that are established are the Chicago Bears (Jay Cutler) and the San Diego Chargers (Philip Rivers). Philadelphia, Cleveland, Kansas City, Buffalo and Arizona all have serious question marks surrounding the quarterback position, a likely reason why the head coaches have been fired.
For two seasons, I have speculated on this site that Gruden would be the eventual successor to Norv Turner in San Diego. I think he could work with Philip Rivers, just as he did with Rich Gannon in Oakland. He likes warm weather climates. There are some solid pieces in place in San Diego he could work with.
However, enter the Dallas Cowboys head coaching job. Arguably one of the highest profile coaching jobs in professional sports. Tons of national exposure. A team with an offense that has explosive scoring potential. A team with a quarterback that desperately needs some fine tuning. A team with a rich NFL legacy. There is no way Jon Gruden walks away from that job if it’s offered to him.
Jones and Gruden are both personalities with strong egos. There could be the potential of the two butting heads over personnel decisions, but then again Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells both coached for Jones, so why would Gruden be any different. Jones and Gruden both have the same desire in mind, win another championship.
Personally, I think Jones in his interview just laid out the groundwork for the eventual firing of Jason Garrett in the coming days. I would not be shocked to see Jon Gruden named as the next head coach of the Dallas Cowboys by the middle of this month.