With the Thanksgiving battle against the Buffalo Bills on tap, the prevailing belief in NFL circles is that Jerry Jones will either fire head coach Jason Garrett prior to the season's end, or he will not renew the expiring contract. Jones has maintained that he hasn't made a definitive decision just yet, but recent reports suggest otherwise. According to Mike Freeman of Bleacher Report, Jones already has his top targets picked out to replace Garrett.
In an article about the current state of the Cowboys, Freeman reported that Jones has two specific figures in mind as the next potential head coach of America's Team. Per his sources, Freeman has identified those options as current New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and former Ohio State University head coach Urban Meyer.
Jones has long shown considerable patience with Garrett and the Cowboys, but the recent criticism of the coaching staff after losses to winning teams has made many around the league believe that the longtime owner is tired of "mediocre" performances.
Meyer would be a Jones kind of hire. He's high-profile, known as a football savant, and to Jones he'd bring instant credibility to the job.
He'd also be a risky choice. He's never been a head coach in the NFL, and getting respect from a professional locker room is a vastly different enterprise than getting respect in a college one.
McDaniels would be different, safer in a lot of ways. He's a longtime Patriots assistant, and coaching under Bill Belichick (not to mention coaching Tom Brady) brings a universe of clout. Plus, he's been a head coach in the league before, so he knows the drill to an extent.
McDaniels is best known as the coordinator that helps make the Patriots' offense productive, but he also served as head coach of the Denver Broncos from 2009-2010 after signing a four-year contract. In his short tenure, McDaniels went 11-17 prior to being fired amid a videotaping scandal.
Despite having his brief stint as a head coach marred by a losing record and a scandal, McDaniels has long been a popular choice for teams around the NFL due to his offensive acumen and history working with Bill Belichick. He was reportedly hired as the Indianapolis Colt head coach in February 2018, but he backed out of the job the same day to return to New England.
Meyer, on the other hand, has been viewed as one of the best coaches in college football due to his time with Utah, Florida, and Ohio State. The now-retired coach led Utah to a 22-2 record in two seasons, including a victory in a BCS Bowl game, before heading to the Gators and leading them to two National Championship victories in three seasons. He would later add a third championship ring to his jewelry box by leading the Buckeyes to victory over the Oregon Ducks in 2015.
Both Meyer and McDaniels are viewed as favorites to be hired by Jones and the Cowboys, but they may not be the only option. According to Freeman's report, the team would also consider New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, Michigan Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh, and San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.
Ultimately, the future coach of the Cowboys is unknown until Jones makes a decision to part ways with Garrett and hire someone new, but there will continue to be rumors about his potential selections. According to Freeman, the top options are McDaniels and Meyer. Will that change in the coming weeks?
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