As the Dallas Cowboys season continues to slip away from them, the rumors regarding the future of head coach Jason Garrett continue to swirl. The chance that Garrett returns next season is highly unlikely. It is believed that it would require a miraculous finish and potential Super Bowl appearance for Garrett to remain the Dallas Cowboys head coach.
Dallas currently leads the weak NFC East with a 6-7 record. They have lost two nationally televised games in a row, to the Buffalo Bills and Chicago Bears. Pro Football Network’s own Matthew Cannata was at their most recent game and tweeted that the sideline was completely devoid of emotion. The team has quit on Garrett and Jerry Jones needs to make a move. Over the last few weeks, rumors have begun to surface that former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and current Oaklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley could be front runners to take over as the Dallas Cowboys head coach in 2020.
Jason Witten appears to be one of the few with energy on the Cowboys sideline.
— Pro Football Network (@PFN365) December 6, 2019
Shortly after last night’s disappointing loss, Jane Slater of NFL Media tweeted that Jones said Garrett would remain at the helm for the rest of this season. However, there is a legitimate interest in Meyer.
“Jerry Jones says Jason Garrett will remain the coach but I can confirm a very real interest in Urban Meyer. In fact, I’m told Stephen Jones spoke with him recently. Lincoln Riley remains a strong candidate & file this name as a possibility Clemson OC Tony Elliott per sources.”
According to reports, interest in Meyer stemmed from an interview he did with Colin Cowherd last month. During the interview, he was asked about the rumors that Riley could be heading to Dallas.
“That’s New York Yankees, that’s the Dallas Cowboys,” Meyer said. “That’s the one. Great city. They got Dak Prescott, Zeke Elliott. You got a loaded team. And I can’t speak for him obviously, I hate to even speculate because I don’t know him, that’s really not fair, but to me, that’s the one job in professional football that you say, ‘I got to go do that.’”
This wasn’t even in reference to him taking the position. After his response, Cowherd asked if Meyer would be interested in the role.
“Absolutely. Absolutely. That one? Yes.”
The belief that Meyer would one day return to coaching has been around ever since he announced his surprise retirement. Meyer coached Ohio State from 2012 to 2018. He has no NFL coaching experience, but his resume as a head coach speaks for itself. He has three collegiate national titles and is an impressive 187-32 throughout his career.
What about Lincoln Riley?
Last week, before Meyer was brought into the picture, reports started to surface that the Cowboys front office was “smitten” with Riley. There is also already a history between the college coach and the hands-on general manager/owner. Ian Rapoport reported that Jerry and Stephen had conversed with Riley in the past regarding Jerry’s grandson.
“I am told keep on eye on Lincoln Riley, the promising young coach out of Oklahoma. Here’s one of the reasons why. The Joneses, Jerry and Stephen, already have formed a close relationship with Lincoln Riley going back to the recruitment of walk-on quarterback John Stephen, who is Jerry Jones’ grandson. Lincoln Riley took a home visit with the Joneses … That is the time they realized what a genius this guy was at offensive football and how they became smitten with him”
John Stephen Jones is currently a quarterback at Arkansas, but he and his family reportedly met with Riley before committing to the Razorbacks.
Riley, a former QB, had coaching stints at Texas Tech and East Carolina before heading to Oklahoma five years ago as the offensive coordinator under Bob Stoops. He was promoted to head coach in 2017 and has amassed an impressive 35-5 record since. Thus far in 2019, he’s led the Sooners to an 11-1 record and a potential college football playoff appearance. Besides Jones’ grandson, Riley also has deep ties to Dallas, considering he is a native Texan.
Who would be a better Dallas Cowboys head coach?
Trying to figure out which of the two would be better suited for the Cowboys’ HC position would be difficult. Both coaches have their strengths and weaknesses.
Going with Riley would continue the current NFL trend of bringing on young, offensive minds. He would join the ranks of 33-year-old Sean McVay, 40-year-old Kliff Kingsbury, 38-year-old Brian Flores, and 36-year-old Zac Taylor. Riley is also known for his work with young quarterbacks. He coached both Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray into Heisman Trophy winners. Both were also number one overall selections in back-to-back NFL drafts. This could be a key talking point with Dak Prescott entering his fourth NFL season.
On the other hand, Meyer has a long history of success. During his time with the Buckeyes, they produced the second-most NFL draft picks and first-round picks this decade, behind only Alabama. He faced controversy during his time with Florida and Ohio State, but still built national championship caliber rosters.
Jones is not one to shy away from bringing in college coaches to take over America’s team. His most successful coaches were both right out of college. Jimmy Johnson had a 52-9 record at Miami from 1984 to 1988 and won a national championship in 1987. He won two Super Bowls with Dallas and was succeeded by Barry Switzer. Switzer was 157-29-4 and won three national championships at Oklahoma. Switzer also won a Super Bowl with Dallas.
Realistically, either decision would be welcomed with open arms by Dallas Cowboys fans. Garrett has guided this team to four seasons with a record above .500. He has had three postseason appearances with two playoff wins. He also won the NFL Coach of the Year award in 2016. Unfortunately, after this much time with the team, those accolades simply are not enough.