Marvin Lewis

Cowboys Officially Part With Jason Garrett

The Cowboys have officially announced that Jason Garrett will not return as the team’s head coach next season. While the news does not come as a surprise, the team had yet to make an official announcement. The announcement confirms an earlier report from Jay Glazer of Fox Sports that Dallas had informed Garrett of the decision.

Garrett’s status had been under question for much of the season and when the Cowboys were officially eliminated from the playoffs his fate seemed sealed. While nothing was officially announced, Dallas began interviewing other head coaching candidates, including former Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy earlier this week.

The team’s statement refuses to call the move a firing, but rather says “the team would not seek a new agreement [with Garrett].” Garrett has long been held by Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones in high regard dating back to his days as a backup quarterback, but his inability to take Dallas deep into the playoffs forced Jones to make a move. In the end, Garrett finished his 10-year tenure as Cowboys head coach with an 85-67 regular season record and 2-3 postseason record.

 

Latest On Cowboys’ Coaching Search

Jason Garrett is still technically the coach of the Cowboys, but everything continues to indicate they’ll be moving on with the team already scheduling interviews with Marvin Lewis and Mike McCarthy. Here’s the latest on everything pertaining to Dallas’ search:

  • The Cowboys were conspicuously quiet for a while, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t working behind the scenes. The McCarthy interview news just leaked Friday morning but the former Packers coach was apparently originally scheduled to interview on Thursday before rescheduling to accommodate his Browns interview, according to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link). That proves owner Jerry Jones hasn’t just been sitting on his hands after the season ended.
  • Garrett, meanwhile, is continuing to lobby Jones for another chance, as Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reported in Sunday’s FOX pregame show. Jones has been steadfast in his decision to move on from Garrett, but Garrett is doing everything he can to keep his post. Meanwhile, the team’s interview with McCarthy went so well that McCarthy stayed an extra day in Dallas.
  • Baylor coach Matt Rhule and Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley have also been connected to the Cowboys’ job. The Jones family should have a good read on their potential interest in the job since they have the same agent as McCarthy, tweets Albert Breer of SI.com. Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network says that Jones will gauge Riley’s interest, but Riley is unlikely to leave Oklahoma at this point (video link).
  • The Lewis interview caught a lot of people by surprise, but there is one interesting link between the two sides. Jones is very good friends with Bengals owner Mike Brown, tweets Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic. Dehner writes that the two men “hold very similar view[s]” on handling their teams. Lewis, of course, was Cincinnati’s coach for 16 seasons and Brown was very reluctant to let him go. It’s possible that Brown recommended Lewis to Jones.
  • Speaking of Lewis, Rapoport says the former Bengals HC would require that the Cowboys — or any club — hire Hue Jackson as his OC (video link). That could be a deal-breaker for the Cowboys given the presence of Kellen Moore.
  • Garrett had told his assistants on expiring deals they were free to start looking for other work. Most assistants were on expiring deals like Garrett, but that notably excluded Moore and offensive line coach Marc Colombo, Breer tweets. The organization thinks very highly of Moore and he generally received positive reviews in his first year calling plays. Since both are still under contract, it’s quite possible the Jones’ will retain them even when they hire a new coach. Breer adds that Garrett hasn’t spoken to any of his staff since Monday.

Cowboys To Meet With Marvin Lewis

Things are moving fast in Dallas. Following news that Mike McCarthy will interview for the Cowboys head coaching job, ESPN’s Todd Archer reports that the team will also meet with former Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis today. We heard earlier today that Lewis could be a candidate for the gig. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the interview has already taken place.

While Lewis didn’t help the Bengals achieve any playoff success (0-7 in seven appearances) during his 16 years in Cincy, he did finish his tenure with a 131-122 record, including 10 seasons with at least eight victories. While the Bengals struggled between 2016 and 2018 (20-28), it was still a bit of a surprise when the organization moved on from Lewis last year. We heard that the 61-year-old would be well-positioned to secure another head coaching gig this offseason.

However, Lewis didn’t take any interviews last offseason, and he later revealed that he didn’t expect to coach again. He joined his friends Ray Anderson and Herm Edwards at Arizona State University as a special advisor back in May, and it’s believed that Lewis would consider an NFL gig if the right opportunity presented itself. The coach was mentioned as a candidate for the Redskins job before the organization hired Ron Rivera.

For those questioning the fate of Jason Garrett, ESPN’s Ed Werder opines (on Twitter) that the organization will simply allow the coach’s contract to expire. The soon-to-be-former head coach’s deal expires on January 14th.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mike McCarthy To Meet With Cowboys

While the Cowboys haven’t said anything official about the status of head coach Jason Garrett, it sounds like the organization is preparing to meet with candidates. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is traveling to Dallas to meet with the Cowboys. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that the interview will take place today.

Rapoport adds that the organization is “laying the groundwork” for an inevitable head coaching search, with a particular focus on former NFL head coaches. To that end, Rapoport hints that Marvin Lewis could also be a candidate for the gig, with the former Bengals head coach receiving interest from some within the organization.

As our head coaching tracker shows, McCarthy has been one of the more popular names on the interview circuit, as he’s already interviewed for the Panthers, Browns, and Giants vacancies. McCarthy was out of the NFL for the entire 2019 campaign, but he spent the season studying film and designing plays in preparation for his next opportunity.

Now, the former Super Bowl winner becomes the first known candidate to (presumably) replace Garrett in Dallas. The former Packers head coach did have a pair of Hall of Famers (Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers) for nearly the entirety of his Green Bay stint, but he’d be inheriting an offense that has plenty of weapons of their own. His play-calling was also called into question towards the latter stages of his tenure, but it sounds like he was focused on improving that aspect of his coaching throughout the past year.

We heard yesterday that Garrett and the Cowboys were likely heading towards a divorce. The Cowboys were scheduled to meet with Garrett on Thursday, but that meeting was scrapped. Before the 86’d sit-down, the Cowboys were rumored to be considering a middle-ground scenario in which Garrett would remain with the organization in a different role. At this moment, a clean break seems more likely.

Earlier today, Rapoport reported (via Twitter) that the Cowboys aren’t expected to make any definitive announcement about Garrett until at least Monday. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Ed Werder tweets that the Cowboys head coach has been campaigning to keep his gig. Garrett’s contract is set to expire on January 14th.

Latest On Redskins’ HC Plans, Front Office

After little emerged on the Redskins front for weeks following Jay Gruden‘s firing, the struggling franchise is dominating the early-weekend news cycle. Bruce Allen‘s role as team president is not safe, with a Black Monday dismissal being considered.

The Redskins are considering firing their 10-year front office czar, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports, adding that Allen may have a chance to remain with the organization in a non-football role. That would be an interesting setup given Allen’s tumultuous tenure in Washington, but Dan Snyder is pondering widespread changes to his football operations department.

Replacement options for Allen include ex-Texans GM Rick Smith and former NFL executive-turned-TV analyst Louis Riddick, La Canfora adds, noting Snyder has done research on a few personnel execs. Smith resigned from his Houston post after the 2017 season but is open to returning to the league. Riddick worked with the Redskins from 2001-07, serving as a scout and pro personnel director. He subsequently held the same role with the Eagles.

As for Washington’s HC opening, Snyder has “strong interest” in Ron Rivera, per JLC. The longtime Redskins owner is also interested in Jets defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, ex-Jets HC and current Buccaneers DC Todd Bowles, longtime Bengals HC Marvin Lewis and former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer. These are consolation prizes, though, with La Canfora reporting Snyder’s primary hope is to work out a trade for Mike Tomlin. Snyder is not optimistic about such a deal. The prospect of bringing the Virginia native to Washington surfaced two-plus months ago.

The prospect of bringing aboard a defensive coach opens the door to Washington sticking with top offensive incumbents Bill Callahan and Kevin O’Connell. Snyder is high on both his interim HC and first-year OC, according to La Canfora. Callahan expressed interest in staying on, though it’s not known if he would stick around under another head coach, and O’Connell has been the primary Dwayne Haskins developer this season. Snyder was the driving force behind the Redskins’ Haskins pick, overruling Gruden.

Allen has not excelled in Washington, but neither have most of the head coaches under Snyder. The Redskins have not made the playoffs in consecutive seasons under the 21st-year owner.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Redskins Eyeing Marvin Lewis For HC

It sounds like the Redskins already have their eye on a potential head coach. SiriusXM’s Alex Marvez reports (via Twitter) that Marvin Lewis is a strong contender for the Redskins’ coaching vacancy. In fact, Marvez says Lewis may have already interviewed with owner Dan Snyder in the Bahamas.

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com echoes that report, and the reporter also provides context to Washington’s interest. Lewis previously served as the team’s defensive coordinator and assistant head coach under Steve Spurrier.

That stint in Washington preceded the coach’s 16-year stint as the Bengals head coach. While Lewis didn’t help the Bengals achieve any playoff success (0-7 in seven appearances), he did finish his Cincy career with a 131-122 record, including 10 seasons with at least eight victories.

While the Bengals struggled between 2016 and 2018 (20-28), it was still a bit of a surprise when the organization moved on from Lewis last year. We heard that the 61-year-old would be well-positioned to secure another head coaching gig this offseason. However, Lewis didn’t take any interviews last offseason, and he later revealed that he didn’t expect to coach againHe joined his friends Ray Anderson and Herm Edwards at Arizona State University as a special advisor back in May, and it’s believed that Lewis would consider an NFL gig if the right opportunity presented itself.

In recent years, the trend has been for teams to hire younger, more offensive-minded coaches. Some front office insiders believe Lewis will be considered one of the most accomplished coaches available, so he may have options beyond Washington.

We heard yesterday that Snyder has been working on the team’s head coaching situation for several weeks. Former Panthers head coach Ron Rivera was mentioned as a potential name to monitor. Interim HC Bill Callahan would like to be considered, but it’s unlikely given Washington’s post-Jay Gruden performance that the team will go with the 63-year-old coach as its next full-time leader. The Redskins moved on from Gruden back in October, with the team going 0-5 before the move and 3-7 after the move.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Marvin Lewis

Former Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is well-positioned to have numerous opportunities to continue his head coaching career in January of 2020, with several front offices viewing him as a top candidate in what could be a 2020 hiring cycle that prizes experience, league sources tell Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.

Lewis, 61, who led the Bengals to a 131-122-3 record in 16 seasons, while making the playoffs seven times, was ready to take a step back from coaching for a while at the end of last season. He did not actively pursue jobs, although a few did have some appeal to him, and he was comfortable taking some time away from that particular grind, says La Canfora. La Canfora goes on to say that should the right opportunity arise, some close to Lewis believe he would indeed return to the NFL in 2020. He joined his friends Ray Anderson and Herm Edwards at Arizona State University as a special advisor back in May of this year.

This report by La Canfora differs from what Lewis was quoted as saying back in June, where he told Zach Gelb on CBS Sports Radio that he did not expect to coach again

Currently, eight coaches are in their first season with their respective teams, and 15 teams have hired new coaches since 2018. It’s unclear what potential job openings there will be besides the vacant Redskins job, which is currently held by interim coach Bill Callahan.

Lewis is seen as one of the most accomplished options available for teams looking to make a change at head coach, according to several executives and agents that La Canfora has reached out to, and has strong support from within the league office as well. In recent years, the new trend has been for teams to hire younger, more offensive-minded coaches, although most of the 2019 coaching class has generally struggled this year, with the Bengals being 0-9 under new coach Zac Taylor with a roster that featured a number of players Lewis led to a 6-10 record in 2018.

Prior to becoming the Bengals head coach, Lewis was a successful defensive coordinator, serving as the defensive coordinator for both the Ravens and Redskins before taking the Bengals head coaching job in 2003. After leaving the team last year, Lewis finished as the Bengals’ leader in wins as a coach, and his 131 wins rank 24th in regular season wins among NFL head coaches and 29th in all-time wins. With his track record, it would not be surprising to see Lewis back on the NFL sidelines in 2020.

 

Extra Points: Lewis, XFL, Manziel

When Arizona State announced they were hiring former Jets and Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards, the decision was met with a lot of ridicule. Nobody’s laughing now though, as Edwards has done a near-universally praised job turning around the program the last couple of years. Edwards has emphasized that he’s running the program like an NFL team, and he’s hired a bunch of ex-NFL guys to fill out his staff. Apparently, a few of those guys might be eyeing a return to the league. Former Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, who serves as an advisor to ASU, is going to be in “serious consideration” for an NFL head coaching job next cycle, reports Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter video link).

Lewis was fired by the Bengals following last season after 16 years at the helm in Cincinnati. He was never able to win a playoff game but he completely changed the Bengals’ culture for the better and turned them into a consistent winner, making the playoffs seven times and winning the AFC North four times. Lewis caught a lot of flak toward the end of his tenure in Cincy when things got stale, but the Bengals’ 0-6 start in 2019 sure makes him look a lot better by comparison. It’ll be very interesting to see if he starts getting interviews as Garafolo predicts.

Here’s more from around the football universe:

  • Lewis isn’t the only one on ASU’s staff who might get poached. Linebackers coach Antonio Pierce is “going to be a coach in the NFL sometime very soon,” Garafolo says. Pierce spent ten years as a linebacker in the league, most notably with the Giants. The former pro bowler, who last played in 2009, won Super Bowl XLII with New York. Garafolo also highlights former NFL receiver and Arizona State alum, Derek Hagan, as someone who could make the jump to the NFL soon. He currently serves as an analyst for the Sun Devils.
  • The XFL draft was held recently, and Johnny Manziel wasn’t one of the names called. That’s quite foolish from the league’s perspective, opines Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com. Florio notes that Manziel has expressed interest in playing in the upstart league, but XFL commissioner Oliver Luck said the league’s interest “remains to be seen” a few months ago and hasn’t provided an update since. “The sooner they add him to a team, the sooner the XFL will build the buzz that it sorely is lacking,” Florio writes. It’s hard to argue with Florio on this one. Manziel played briefly in the AAF, but hasn’t gotten any known interest from an NFL team in quite some time. He’s already burned a bridge with the CFL, so getting added to Vince McMahon’s league would seem to be his last option for the moment.
  • Recently released Buccaneers linebacker Devante Bond has been suspended four games, a source told Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Laine reports that he tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Bond was just cut a few days ago, and it’s highly possible the Bucs knew this was coming when they decided to part ways. Bond was drafted by Tampa in the sixth-round out of Oklahoma back in 2016, and missed his entire rookie season due to a hamstring injury. He’s started six games the past two seasons.

Kevin O’Connell Serious Candidate For Redskins’ HC Job

Redskins offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell is expected to receive serious consideration for the team’s head coaching post, as Mark Maske of the Washington Post writes. O’Connell, 34, has been with Washington since 2017, and this season is his first as the Redskins’ OC.

Before Washington elevated him from passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach in January, O’Connell garnered interest from multiple other teams. For all of the Redskins’ problems, they have had a number of young and talented coaches rise through their ranks — Sean McVay, Matt LaFleur, and Kyle Shanahan, to name a few — and apparently there is a belief that O’Connell can follow in their footsteps.

Washington is near the bottom of the league in points per game and yards per game this year, but the offense is largely bereft of talent at the skill positions and along the O-line, so it would be difficult to hold the performance of O’Connell’s unit against him. As Maske notes, the real question will be whether O’Connell, interim HC Bill Callahan, or an outside candidate will be best-suited to maximize Dwayne Haskins‘ potential.

Owner Dan Snyder has not had much problem luring big-name head coaches to the nation’s capital; the problem has been making it work once those coaches arrive. Plus, team president Bruce Allen could be an obstacle. One of Maske’s sources, an agent who represents coaches, said that no coach worth his salt will accept an HC job with the Redskins as long as Allen is in charge of personnel.

In addition to O’Connell, Maske names Gregg Williams, Marvin Lewis, and Mike McCarthy as big names who could attract Snyder’s interest.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Marvin Lewis Doesn’t Expect To Coach Again

We previously heard that Marvin Lewis may be looking to return to the NFL, but the former Bengals head coach’s tone changed a bit during a conversation with Zach Gelb on CBS Sports Radio. When asked if he’ll ever coach in the NFL again, Lewis responded “I don’t think so. I’m fine.” (via Yahoo’s Shalise Manza Young).

We learned in May that Lewis would serve as an advisor for Herman Edwards‘ Arizona State program. Some NFL sources believed he was keeping his toe in coaching with an eye on getting back into the NFL in 2020. Lewis’ recent comments would seem to contradict that report, but it’s also understandable for him to take a bit of a break following his 16-year run with Cincy.

In other words, it wouldn’t be shocking if Lewis doesn’t return to the NFL by 2020, although a future hiring shouldn’t be taken lightly. As our own Zach Links pointed out, it remains to be seen whether Lewis would garner head-coaching consideration in a league that seemingly values youth. However, given Lewis’ reputation as a defensive-minded coach, he should at least garner some interest as a defensive coordinator.

Lewis, 61 in September, went 131-122-3 with the Bengals, giving him the most wins in franchise history. While Lewis inherited one of the worst teams in the NFL and turned them into a winner, his legacy is marred by the Bengals 0-7 playoff record during his tenure. The former head coach was asked to reflect on his lack of playoff success during his interview with Gelb.

“The other team ended up with more points,” Lewis said. “You become an NFL coach for one thing, and that’s to win the championship – and we were unable to do that. That’s the unfortunate part.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.