FRISCO, Texas (KXAN) — The Dallas Cowboys appear to be on the verge of their first head coaching search in nearly a decade. ESPN reports that the Cowboys will “move on” from Jason Garrett, ending his 9.5 seasons as head coach.
So who could helm the Dallas sideline next season? Here are some of the candidates.
Disciples of Bill Belichick
Josh McDaniels – The New England Patriots offensive coordinator is once again a hot head coaching candidate. In 2018, McDaniels was announced as the new head coach of the Indianapolis Colts but changed his mind that same day and stayed with New England. McDaniels does have head coaching experience. He was the head coach of the Denver Broncos for two seasons in 2009 and 2010, finishing with an 11-17 record.
Joe Judge – The New England Patriots special teams coordinator is getting some interest this coaching cycle. Judge joined the Patriots in 2012 and was promoted to special teams coordinator in 2015. Last season he also served as the team’s wide receivers coach. Judge was reportedly set to join McDaniels in Indianapolis in 2018 before McDaniels changed his mind.
Brian Daboll – The Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator has been a quarterback whisperer in his two seasons with the Buffalo Bills, helping turn Josh Allen into a playoff-bound QB for the surprising Bills. Daboll first got his start in the NFL with the Patriots in 2000. He had two stints under Belichick, the first from 2000-2006 and later from 2013-2016. He also served as the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Alabama in 2017 when they won the college football national championship.
Hot coordinator candidates
Eric Bieniemy – Every year it seems like an Andy Reid disciple gets a shot as head coach. There was Doug Pederson in Philadelphia and Matt Nagy in Chicago. Now the Kansas City Chiefs’ latest offensive coordinator is rumored to be in the running for just about every open head coaching job. And speaking of running, Bieniemy is unique on this list in that he is a former NFL running back. The 50-year-old has been on Reid’s staff since 2013 and has served as offensive coordinator for the past two seasons.
Don “Wink” Martindale – Along with the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers, maybe no NFL team is known historically for its defense more than the Baltimore Ravens. Martindale was in his first season in Baltimore when the Ravens used that defense and a hot Joe Flacco to win Super Bowl XLVII in 2013. He has been in Baltimore ever since and was promoted to defensive coordinator in 2018. This year, Baltimore gave up the third fewest amount of points in the NFL.
Greg Roman – As the Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator this year, Roman guided the Ravens to the NFL’s top-scoring offense. Baltimore scored 33 points per game and 52 points more overall than the NFL’s second best offensive team. Roman helped revamp the Ravens’ attack to take advantage of Lamar Jackson, who many think will win this year’s MVP award.
Kris Richard – It might surprise many people to learn that the Dallas Cowboys actually gained more yards per game than any other team in the NFL, including the Baltimore Ravens. The problem was Dallas scored nearly 100 fewer points than Baltimore. A big reason for the Cowboys’ success was its efforts through the air. As the team’s passing game coordinator, Richard guided Dallas to 297 yards per game through the air, the second most in the NFL. It seems unlikely Dallas will fire Garrett and promote from within, but that’s exactly how Garrett got his job. He was promoted to head coach when Wade Phillips was fired during the 2010 season.
Coaches who could leap from college to NFL
Lincoln Riley – It would not be unprecedented for the Dallas Cowboys to look to the Oklahoma Sooners for their next head coach. They did so once before hiring Barry Switzer. Could they do so again? And would Riley want to leave Norman for Silver Star Nation? No college coach has had more success recently with quarterbacks than Riley. Two Oklahoma quarterbacks — Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray — won the Heisman Trophy under Riley’s tutelage.
Matt Rhule – The Baylor Bears head coach is rumored to be a popular name in NFL circles, especially with the Carolina Panthers. In just three seasons as coach, Baylor has improved from 1-11 in 2017 to 11-3 this past season. They finished 11-1 in the regular season but lost to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game and then to Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. Still, the 10-win turnaround in just two seasons has opened a lot of eyes at every level.
Urban Meyer – The former Ohio State Buckeyes head coach got out of coaching due to the stress of the job. It’s the second time he has quit while seemingly on top of the football world. He’s won national championships in 2006 and 2008 with Florida and then 2014 with Ohio State. The Cleveland Browns are rumored to be interested in Meyer.
Former NFL head coaches looking for another shot
Mike McCarthy – The former Packers head coach did not have the exit he would have wanted in Green Bay. Now he’s looking to return to the sideline with interest already confirmed both in New York and Cleveland. McCarthy won Super Bowl XLV in 2011, but critics say he perhaps should have won more with Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback.
Mike Pettine – The Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator served as the Cleveland Browns head coach for two seasons, finishing with a 10-22 record. This year the Packers have given up 353 yards per game, ranking them 18th in the NFL.
Gary Kubiak – Health reasons forced the former Denver Broncos head coach to resign after hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. But Kubiak didn’t stay away for long. He joined the Minnesota Vikings as an offensive assistant this year and is well regarded enough by many that if he wants to become a head coach again, he would likely be on a lot of team’s short-list.