Jason Garrett

Cowboys Want To Keep Linehan, Marinelli

There will be some coaching changes in Dallas, but it sounds like the main coaches will be staying in place. In a radio interview on Wednesday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said that the team wants to retain offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli for 2018 (link via Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News). Scott Linehan

Starting this week, the team will evaluate the futures of assistants such as running backs coach Gary Brown, wide receivers coach Derek Dooley, and linebackers coach Matt Eberflus, who are on expiring deals. Quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson and secondary coach Joe Baker have already been fired, according to Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link).

Both Marinelli and Linehand signed extensions with the team last March. The length of Marinelli’s contract is unknown, but we do know that Linehan is under contract through 2019.

Meanwhile, Jones says that he has given no consideration to replacing Jason Garrett as head coach.

It’s not even a thought for me,” Jones said. “I do like the fact that we’ve invested, if you will. We’ve got several years of Jason evolving in this profession in the NFL. There’s no question the familiarity with teams that we’re playing, especially in our division, is a big plus. You pay a big price when you make a change at the head coach. You pay some price when you make a change at any position coach situation. On the other hand, freshness we’re talking about, new ideas, nothing set in stone, that’s a plus too. But I think that Jason’s in a good spot. We’re in a good spot with Jason. He certainly has the mentality of doing things differently, again not just to be doing them differently, but basically recognizing that we’ve got some things we do need to do differently. We’ll make that happen through our assistant coaches.”

While several jobs are up in the air, there is one confirmed vacancy on the Cowboys’ staff following the retirement of tight ends coach Steve Loney.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jerry Jones “Feels Good” About Jason Garrett

The Cowboys 2017 season was one of major ups and downs. Though, in the end, America’s team will not be in the postseason after losing to the Seahawks at home on Sunday afternoon. However, that doesn’t mean that owner Jerry Jones has soured on his head coach. Jones made sure to give Jason Garrett a vote of confidence during his postgame comments, reports Todd Archer of ESPN.com.

Jason Garrett (Vertical)

“Just so we’re clear about it, I do understand frustration right after you lose a game that has as much meaningfulness as this ballgame, but I get to look at a lot of different things and have been around a lot of head coaches and coordinators,” Jones said. “I feel good about our head coach.”

Garrett, 51, has been the head coach of the Cowboys since 2010, accumulating a record of 67-55 during his tenure. But on the other hand, he only has two playoff appearances to show for his efforts. In addition, Garrett has not led the team past the divisional round, despite being the number one overall seed in the NFC last year.

However, Garrett was without his star running back Ezekiel Elliott for six games during the stretch run of the season. So while the loss does hurt, especially considering that the team had rallied for three straight wins in the weeks prior, the team is still young and returns many of its key players in 2018.

It would seem like Jones is intent on keeping Garrett at the helm for at least another year, but the pressure will be on if the Cowboys continue to underperform with him at the controls.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jerry Jones Says Jason Garrett’s Job Is Safe

Mired in a season-defining swoon since Ezekiel Elliott‘s suspension went into effect, the Cowboys are on the verge of slinking out of the NFC race. It would mark the fifth time in Jason Garrett‘s seven seasons the team missed the playoffs.

But Jerry Jones did not mince words when asked about his head coach’s job security. The owner said the HC spot is not being evaluated despite the three consecutive blowout losses — two of those on national television.

Again, I don’t step out of the dressing room and evaluate the coaching position at all,” Jones said, via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News (on Twitter). “Candidly, and I don’t even want to say it so that somebody might repeat it. Absolutely not.”

Jones had a closed-door meeting with the team after its 28-6 loss to the Chargers

Garrett is the longest-tenured coach in Jones’ 28-year tenure running the franchise, having taken over during the 2010 season. He’s 63-52 in charge of the Cowboys. Wade Phillips received 3 1/2 seasons despite two of those ending in the playoffs. Jimmy Johnson coached five, although that run would have obviously been extended based solely on the team’s on-field performance.

Garrett’s teams, though, have won more playoff games (two) than any Cowboys coach since Barry Switzer. And they finished with fewer than eight wins in a season just once, the 2015 slate when Tony Romo went down, under Garrett’s guidance.

While Garrett’s status could certainly change if this run of routs persists, the eighth-year Dallas coach looks to be safe from a late-season firing.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Notes: Tyrod, Cowboys, Jets, Redskins

Andrew Luck‘s record-setting contract extension won’t affect Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor‘s next deal, writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Rather, the Luck pact will only impact signal-callers who could end up in position to become the highest-paid player in the NFL – as Luck is for the moment. Taylor – who’s set to make $3MM this season – doesn’t qualify, contends Florio, who expects the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder to either land an accord in the $15MM annual range between now and next offseason or get the franchise tag over the winter. That puts the soon-to-be 27-year-old in company with Kirk Cousins, not Luck.

More from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • If Cowboys owner Jerry Jones doesn’t sign off on the release of suspended linebacker Rolando McClain, it will further demonstrate that seventh-year head coach Jason Garrett has no real authority, argues Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. McClain is just one of several players with off-field issues Jones’ Cowboys have employed during Garrett’s tenure, which undermines the coach’s statements about “character” and playing “the right way,” notes Engel. Prior to the NFL slapping him with a 10-game suspension Friday for a violation of its substance abuse policy, McClain angered the Cowboys’ coaches by skipping OTAs, according to Engel. And now the Garrett-led staff has a chance to send a message by giving McClain his walking papers, though Jones would have to OK it. Cutting McClain, who missed four games last season because of a suspension, would save Dallas $2.63MM against the cap and leave it with $750K in dead money.
  • After signing with the Jets in free agency, defensive tackle Steve McLendon has a difficult task ahead of him in replacing elite run-stuffer and offseason departure Damon Harrison, but the longtime Steeler doesn’t see it that way. “He went somewhere else. I came here. So it’s not like I’m taking over for anybody,” McLendon told Darryl Slater of NJ.com. The 30-year-old McLendon also explained to Slater how he and Harrison differ as players, saying, “He was like the traditional nose tackle, do it all. Big, strong, explosive. I’m not as big as him. My game is built off quickness and strength.” Indeed, the 350-pound Harrison has 40 pounds on McLendon, who regards himself as a D-tackle. The Jets did deploy McLendon at nose tackle during spring practices, though that was just one of a handful of D-line spots at which they used him, per Slater.
  • Rich Tandler of RealRedskins.com highlights three under-the-radar storylines the Redskins will deal with in training camp, pointing out that they face uncertainty along both lines and at cornerback.

Extra Points: Coaches, Bell, Boykin

Here’s the latest from around the NFL:

  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports examined the job security of each NFL head coach entering the season. In La Canfora’s estimation, Rex Ryan (Bills), Gus Bradley (Jaguars), Jim Caldwell (Lions), Mike McCoy (Chargers), Marvin Lewis (Bengals), Bill O’Brien (Texans) and Jason Garrett (Cowboys) are the least secure coaches going into this year. Of that group, two (Lewis and O’Brien) were at the helm of playoff teams last season. Ryan has only been in Buffalo for a year, making him the shortest-tenured member of the septet.
  • Free agent running back Joique Bell told SiriusXM NFL Radio (audio link) on Friday that a few teams are interested in signing him. Bell added that he hopes to join his next team in July. The 29-year-old, who stated last week that he has “two or three offers on the table,” has been on the market since the Lions cut him in February.
  • One of Bell’s fellow free agents, cornerback Brandon Boykin, surprisingly can’t find work this offseason. One possible reason is a report that he has a degenerative hip problem – a rumor that Boykin blames Steelers defensive backs coach Carnell Lake for starting. Lake had a chance Thursday to walk back comments he made last week about Boykin’s hip, but he opted against doing so, as Chris Adamski of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review writes. “I made some comments that I had at fantasy camp and I’m not going to go back on that,” said Lake. “I wish Boykin all the best; he helped us when we needed him, and I wish him the best in his career.”

Extra Points: Cowboys, Rams, Bills, Henry, Ford

Here’s the latest from around the league, beginning with two Southern California training camp teams who aren’t jumping at the chance to reconvene for joint practices.

  • Despite the teams now training near Los Angeles, Cowboys and Rams aren’t planning to partake in another training camp scrimmage due to the brawl that occurred last year when the teams had joint practices in Oxnard, Calif., Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. The Rams will be training at UC-Irvine this year, but Jason Garrett hasn’t engaged in any discussions on bringing the teams together again.
  • The Bills expect clarity on Percy Harvin‘s health status in the ensuing two weeks, Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News reports. Doug Whaley and Rex Ryan are open to the UFA returning despite Buffalo’s $6.9MM left in cap space. Harvin, whose troublesome hip issues ended up sidelining him for the season last November, would have to compete with newly signed Leonard Hankerson and players like Olympic long jump hopeful Marquise Goodwin for the Bills’ No. 3 receiver spot, however, and do so having missed 36 games over the past four seasons.
  • An NFC personnel man rates Arkansas’ Hunter Henry as the most complete tight end to be available in the draft in a long time, Mark Eckel of NJ.com reports. The unidentified evaluator sees Henry as a fit with the Jets, whose tight ends caught just eight passes last season after Jace Amaro missed the year with an injury. “I never liked Amaro,” the personnel man told Eckel. “(Hunter) is tons better than Amaro. Where do I see him going? That’s a tough question. (No. 20) might be a little soon, but he’s a first rounder. He’s definitely a first-rounder.”
  • Dee Ford figures to have a bigger role with the Chiefs in his third season. How much bigger will likely be determined by Justin Houston‘s health. John Dorsey and Andy Reid saw flashes of brilliance, per Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star, with Reid saying one of last season’s takeaways was finding out that Ford was “a pretty good football player.” The player who would be opposite Ford in a Houston-less look, Tamba Hali, believes the third-year player — who has been mostly buried behind Houston and Hali in his two seasons — needs to develop further mentally. “If I had to speak for him, I would like for him to take the next step in being a professional … basically (the reason) why they drafted him here is to take over the (starting) role. The season’s too long for me to focus on being a starter or a backup,” Hali said. “I think he’s in the position where he can kind of take the torch and go forward. That’s really mental; physically, the kid is gifted and he has it. But mentally we have to just make sure that he understands why we’re in this building and what needs to be done while we’re here.”
  • Former Ravens defensive tackle Terrence Cody has been handed a nine-month sentence in his animal cruelty case, as Pat Warren of CBS Baltimore writes. Cody was found guilty of negligence in the death of his canary mastiff who was starved to death. However, he was not found guilty of felony animal abuse because the court did not find his actions intentional, according to his lawyer. PETA issued a statement following the sentencing and implored the NFL to do more to combat animal abuse amongst its players.

Zach Links contributed to this report

NFC East Notes: Robinson, Weddle, Giants

Here’s the latest from the NFC East as Week 2 of free agency concludes.

  • Patrick Robinson and Alfred Morris are scheduled to meet with Cowboys position coaches tonight and Monday after arriving in Dallas today. The former Chargers cornerback and Washington running back, however, spent time on the phone with Jason Garrett before he left for the NFL Owners’ Meetings in South Florida, Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones told media, including David Moore of the Dallas Morning News. “Jason’s spent some good time on the phone with them,” Jones said. “So have we. Obviously, we tried to get them in there before we left but in their particular cases it didn’t work out that way.”
  • Jones told media, including Moore, Eric Weddle was interested in joining the Cowboys, but the team wasn’t ready to go where the Ravens were financially to secure the 31-year-old safety’s services. Interested in coming to Dallas partially due to special teams coach Rich Bisaccia having been on the Chargers’ staff in 2011-12, Weddle ended up landing in Baltimore for four years and $26MM. Both Bisaccia and Garrett contacted Weddle during free agency, however, Moore reports.
  • John Mara and his top front office assistants thought the Giants had a realistic shot of signing two of the three high-priced players on Big Blue’s list of durable, in-their-prime free agents, Jordan Raanan of NJ.com reports. The cap-rich Giants instead landed their preferred defensive trio of Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison and Janoris Jenkins in hopes of fixing their last-ranked defense. Mara did concede that troika proved to be pricier than anticipated. “The three guys were a little more expensive than I thought they were going to be, but they are all young, they are all healthy and they fulfill needs,” Mara told media, including Raanan. Jenkins has missed four games in four seasons, while Vernon suited up for every Dolphins contest since 2012. Harrison played and started in each Jets contest since 2013. The Giants were the most injured team in the NFL in each of the past three seasons, per Raanan.
  • After allocating more money to this year’s class of free agents than they did in the previous four seasons combined, the Giants expect to dial it back significantly next spring, Mara told media, including Raanan (Twitter link). “I certainly don’t see us being this aggressive next year,” Mara said.

East Notes: Dolphins, M. Smith, Coughlin

In a fascinating post from Armando Salguero this morning, the Miami Herald scribe dives into the Dolphins‘ front office drama that the team hopes will come to an end in the Adam Gase era. In 2013, Salguero writes that the relationship between then-Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin and then-GM Jeff Ireland was on the rocks, and owner Stephen Ross ultimately chose to fire Ireland. Ross also debated firing then-offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, and in order to save his assistant and friend, Philbin privately blamed the team’s offensive struggles on quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

Although Philbin continued to toe the company line publicly, reaffirming his faith in Tannehill on numerous occasions–with one or two notable exceptions–his internal discussions had a much different tone. Philbin urged the team to draft Derek Carr in the first round of the 2014 draft, and even after Tannehill enjoyed a relatively successful 2014 campaign, Philbin continued to take out his frustrations on Tannehill, a trend that continued into the team’s difficult start to the 2015 season. Ultimately, that situation was one of the factors that led the Dolphins to hire Gase, who they expect to forge a relationship with the quarterback they’ve committed to and to make him the best player he can be.

Now let’s dive into a few more notes from the league’s east divisions, beginning with more out of South Beach.

  • James Walker of ESPN.com affirms that Dan Campbell‘s future with the Dolphins will be determined by Gase, but Walker does add that Ross would like to keep Campbell on the team’s coaching staff. In a separate piece, Walker writes that Gase will be calling the team’s offensive plays.
  • Mike Smith will interview with the Giants for their head coaching vacancy tomorrow, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter).
  • Mike Garafolo of FOXSports tweets that there were “rumblings” that the Giants would interview Hue Jackson for their head coaching job, but they may not get that chance, as there are multiple reports suggesting that the 49ers could hire Jackson as early as today.
  • Zach Berman of The Philadelphia Inquirer says former Giants head coach Tom Coughlin will meet with the Eagles tomorrow to discuss their head coaching vacancy. Interestingly, Berman calls the meeting an “interview,” and not a “feeling-out” as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com suggested yesterday.
  • Tyler Dunne of the Buffalo News compiles an offseason to-d0 list for the Bills, a list topped by an extension for GM Doug Whaley and a release of Mario Williams.
  • David Moore of the Dallas Morning News looks into why the Cowboys have been unable to land an adequate backup quarterback for Tony Romo, and Moore says head coach Jason Garrett should bear as much responsibility for that failing as owner Jerry Jones.

Coaching/GM Notes: Pagano, Browns, Fins, Cowboys, Lions

The latest news on various teams’ coaching and front office situations as Black Monday approaches:

  • Colts owner Jim Irsay will meet with Chuck Pagano on Monday to discuss the head coach’s future, writes Mike Wells of ESPN.com. After helping lead the Colts to playoff berths in his first three years with the team, Pagano’s club missed out this season during an injury-riddled, tumultuous campaign, going 8-8. As a result, the Colts are expected to let go of Pagano, whose contract is up, according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora (Twitter link).
  • With Ray Farmer out as the Browns’ general manager, the franchise might turn its football operations over to executive vice president/general counsel Sashi Brown, Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News reports (Twitter link).
  • Adam Gase, Jim Mora Jr., Mike Shanahan, Teryl Austin, Mike Smith, Dirk Koetter and Doug Marrone are all currently connected to the Dolphins’ head coaching job, according to Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald (Twitter link).
  • Not surprisingly, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones confirmed Sunday that Jason Garrett will return in 2016 for his seventh season as the team’s head coach. “Let me be real clear: There’s no thought of replacing Jason. At all,” Jones said, according to Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Twitter link). Jones acknowledged that Garrett’s staff could change, though, as four assistant coaches’ contracts expire (Twitter link via Williams). Whether those changes happen will be up to Garrett, who Jones says is “the ultimate-decision maker” when it comes to the coaching staff (Twitter link via Fox Sports’ Matt Mosley).
  • Lions president Rod Wood says the club’s search for a new general manager will begin in earnest Monday, tweets Tim Twentyman of the team’s website. Interim GM Sheldon White will be among those interviewed, according to Wood (Twitter link via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press), and Greg Gabriel of NFPost.com reports the Lions will also talk to Giants assistant GM Kevin Abrams (via Twitter). Another Giants executive, Marc Ross, could also get a look, tweets Fox Sports’ Mike Garafolo.

Coaching Staff Notes: Browns, Lions, Jaguars

Mike Pettine isn’t giving up his position as Browns head coach without a fight, as he has already offered up the suggestion that he would make significant changes to his coaching staff if the ownership decided to retain him, writes Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon-Journal.

It is unusual for a head coach to be so willing to give up his staff in exchange for his job, which points towards the likelihood of him getting fired. However, owner Jimmy Haslam vowed not to blow up the franchise back in August, and might consider keeping Pettine for continuity’s sake.

Here are some more notes involving current coordinators and coaching staffs in the NFL:

  • Despite offensive struggles this season, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has not lost any confidence in Scott Linehan’s ability to coordinate the offense, writes David Moore of DallasNews.com.
  • Jim Caldwell may be on the hot seat in Detroit, but his coaching staff is even more uncertain. Many Lions’ coaches could be in the running for better jobs elsewhere, while others could decide to jump ship if any opportunity should arise, writes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
  • Of all the Lions’ staff, defensive coordinator Teryl Austin is least likely to return, as he will be a top head coaching candidate around the league this hiring cycle, writes Michael Rothstein of ESPN.
  • The Jaguars offensive took a big step forward this year, but defensive coordinator Bob Babich might not have done enough to keep his job into 2016, writes Ryan O’Halloran of Jacksonville.com.
  • The Bears are expecting offensive coordinator Adam Gase to be offered a head coaching job this year, after interviewing with five teams a year ago, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains will be in consideration, as could Ken Whisenhunt and Pat Shurmur.
  • Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan looked like a head coaching candidate during the team’s 5-0 start, but the disappointing finish put that status into question. Still, Shanahan is excited to be back with the team in 2016 to build on what the offense started, writes Vaughn McClure of ESPN.
  • Despite completely turning the Seahawks offense around midseason, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell isn’t receiving much head coaching buzz this season, writes Sheil Kapadia of ESPN. He has been in the discussion the past two offseasons but has not been able to come away with a job. His 2015 performance might be the best offense he put on display, but he doesn’t seem to be as hot as other candidates.
  • Some changes will be made on the 49ers coaching staff, but defensive coordinator Eric Mangini believes they won’t wait long to find out, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com. For one, linebackers coach Clancy Pengergast is expected to leave to join USC’s coaching staff.