5 coaching candidates for Dallas

After a 1-7 start and the removal of Wade Phillips, here are our top five candiates. The Ranch Report takes a sneak peek into its crystal.

Who should be considered as a replacement?

It starts right here with this list:

Perry Fewell
The New York Giants' defensive coordinator pilots arguably the NFL's most dangerous defense. Yes, bringing him to Dallas would mean turning the Cowboys back into a 4-3 defense, but it also would mean a system in which pass rushers like DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer would be turned loose on just about every play, creating havoc in the opposing backfield. As the Cowboys saw Monday, the Giants employ a deep front seven that features fresh players being rotated in constantly to keep the energy level high, and an aggressive style that allows the defense to attack an offense from a number of different directions.

In addition, it's safe to assume Jones would enjoy the double benefit of improving his team while weakening an NFC East rival, right?


Jon Gruden
The former coach of the Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers — where he guided his team to a victory in Super Bowl XXXVII — is one of the premier analysts in the business.

But he also is a fiery coach who is a protégé of Bill Walsh and a teacher of the so-called "West Coast offense." In terms of personality, Gruden is sort of the anti-Phillips; he is as famous for his "I know something you don't know" smirks as he is for winning games. The players seem to genuinely like Phillips, but most of his past players absolutely love Gruden, and play with a passion that reflects his personality.


Leslie Frazier
The Minnesota Vikings' defensive coordinator has been rumored for several years as one of the next hot, young head coaches in the NFL. Like Fewell, Frazier commands one of the league's top defenses, and like Fewell's system, Frazier's operates out of a 4-3 alignment as its base formation. The difference is that while Fewell's system starts with dynamic defensive ends and outside linebackers, Frazier's "inside-out" system is built around a pair of monstrous defensive tackles and a standout middle linebacker who anchor the defensive line and plug up the inside running game and create pressure up the middle.

He'll be a head coach one day - likely one day soon. Why not in Dallas?


Brian Billick
The former Baltimore Ravens coach seems to be enjoying his life as an announcer and beer pitchman, but the man is a proven coach, and it appears he would like to get back into the game.

Billick made his name as offensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings when Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss were part of the NFL's most potent passing attack; in 1998, Billick's Vikings set a record for the most points in a season. After his tenure in Minnesota, Billick was hired as head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, where he took his team to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons … with three different quarterbacks, including a Super Bowl title in his second season at the helm. Billick, who interviewed over the offseason for the Buffalo Bills head coaching job, went 80-64.


Bob Stoops
It's true that a lot of coaches struggle when making the leap from the college ranks to the NFL, but Jones has enjoyed success in the form of Super Bowl titles with Jimmy Johnson, who arrived in Dallas from the University of Miami, and Barry Switzer, who came to the Cowboys after a legendary career as the head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners.

Would Jones look to Norman again for another coach? Maybe. Jones knows the track record of college coaches making the jump to the NFL, but he also has unabashedly admired Stoops for years. The former Kansas State and Florida defensive coordinator was named head coach at OU in 1999, where he has amassed a record of 123-30 (.804 winning percentage). He has won six Big 12 titles and guided the Sooners to the 2000 national championship, earning the nickname "Big Game Bob" in the process.

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