Following the debilitating loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, Dallas Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones took to the media to voice his complaints about the coaching in Dallas.
Jones never plays it close to the vest, but he’s not one to insinuate that anything is going wrong with his franchise unless something is really going wrong. Jones is a salesman, after all.
Hearing Jones take the coaching staff to task in such a public forum feels like a turning point, and it has certainly left social media and sports outlets buzzing.
Did Jones just put head coach Jason Garrett on notice? If this is really the end for Garrett, who might be the man leading the team in 2020? Will a division title still save the coaches or was the New England game the straw that broke the camel’s back for Jones?
After all, Garrett has been on the sidelines in some capacity for Dallas since 2007, but the results have been pretty much the same in the post-Bill Parcells era, whether it be Wade Phillips or Garrett. No matter how many NFC East titles they have collected, they haven’t been able to take the team beyond the divisional round of the playoffs.
Here we sit in 2019 and the defending East champion Cowboys currently sit at 6-5. However, even after a most recent playoff ouster in the divisional round in 2018, the firm expectation for this season was to advance further in the playoffs than they have in any season since 1995, when they last played in a conference title game.
And while the team still sits atop the divisional standings, this season has left a lot to be desired in their stated pursuit of playoff glory. In fact, according to NFL Research, the Cowboys have had the second easiest go of things this season in terms of strength of schedule.
Given that evaluators saw this year’s squad as having one of the most talented rosters in football, an easy strength of schedule should have produced more wins than six in the season’s first 12 weeks, leaving many scratching their heads at the below expectations results.
With the disconnect between expectations and reality, and with Jones voicing his concerns, the Cowboys will need a massive step forward over the final five weeks of the season and then a triumphant run through the playoffs for the status quo to remain.
Considering the fact that that scenario is looking increasingly unlikely, it’s perhaps time to start pondering the next route for Dallas. One coach that should garner plenty of attention, should the Cowboys opt for a change, is Baltimore Ravens’ offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
Roman, who is a long-time coordinator and assistant, has yet to get his crack at becoming a head coach. However, given what he has done in his first season as the playcaller in Baltimore, and the success he has had with Lamar Jackson in the former Heisman winner’s first full season as a starter, it’s worth pondering just how much of a difference he would make in the Lone Star State if he were making the game decisions in Dallas.
Roman has spent the last three years with Baltimore, but this is the first season where he has been responsible for calling the plays. And the Ravens have responded with one of the most dynamic offenses in the league on their way to a 9-2 record where they sit atop the AFC North.
Roman has also made stops as an assistant in San Francisco and Buffalo. He was the offensive coordinator for the 49ers during the Jim Harbaugh era, which included an appearance in Super Bowl XLVII where, coincidentally, they lost to the Ravens. Spanning the years in which he has been coordinator, he has three straight seasons with the No. 1 rushing attack in terms of yards and touchdowns.
The Dallas Cowboys are built to run the football, which is a big reason why Roman would make some sense. This season, Dallas has had more success as a passing team, but there’s no question that they are designed to run. With Roman’s past successes, a union with him and the likes of Ezekiel Elliott and the elite offensive line would bode well in punishing opposing defenses.
For that reason alone, it feels like a match made in football heaven. Roman has also worked with mobile quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick, Tyrod Taylor, and now Jackson. And while Dak Prescott doesn’t match up with those guys as far as running the ball, one could imagine that Roman could find a way to get a competitive advantage with the former fourth-round selection turned MVP candidate. Dallas is often better when Prescott makes things happen with his legs.
The Cowboys most recently struggled to score nine points against the Patriots just a couple weeks after Roman’s Ravens faced that same squad. While, yes, it was a home game for Baltimore and a rain soaked disaster at Foxborough for Dallas, Roman found a way to attack the New England defense and used Baltimore’s advantages on the ground to beat Bill Belichick and the Patriots 37-20 to hand them their only defeat of the season.
Should things continue to look mediocre by the time the season ends for the Cowboys, it is worth kicking the tires on a fresh perspective from the coaching staff and, while there are surely big name candidates that will likely get a look, Greg Roman should definitely be on top of that eventual list.
Roman has paid his dues and should be looking to run his own team and the Dallas Cowboys have a roster that would make any prospective coach salivate.
Do you think it’s time to make a change at coach for the Cowboys? If so, share your ideal candidate with Patrick on Twitter @DraftCowboys.
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