Tuna Casserole

Now that the retirement dust has settled, and the reclamation process has started, let's take a few last looks at the Parcells' tenure and forward glances to the new regime.

It would be almost inappropriate to take parting shots at Parcells as the Coach does deserve credit for putting this organization in a competitive position for years to come. The new regime will be trusted with building on the Parcells' foundation. However, there are many mysteries to solve and issues to address. The Parcells' Era ended far more somber than the heralded arrival. A mere email message sent for good bye purposes. It had as much personality as the Coach himself. The downfall was simply a matter of endearment and diminishing returns.

As Father Time levied his hand on both Parcells and his teams, the rebuilding, productivity and overall results gradually diminished. From two-time Super Bowl winner with the Giants, a Super Bowl appearance with the Patriots, an AFC Championship game showing with the Jets, it dwindled to a mere display of mediocrity with two winless playoff games while manning the Cowboys. His style of play and general demeanor were the catalysts of the demise in Big D, but Parcells would never admit to either.

Bill Parcells is not an endearing man. Unless a member of his hand-chosen inner circle, he's just a cold-hearted, calculating, egotistical Jersey boy. By personal choice, Parcells never made himself part of the local community. Maybe he would have come across as the slick-backed Giants fan embarking on Gilley's in the Bud Lite commercial, but he should have at least tried. If given a test on Metroplex sites of interest, historical landmarks and world-class restaurants, the results would have resembled Vince Young's first shot at the Wonderlic. Needless to say, he was a hermit, and the crab rarely left its shell. Most unfortunate as he could have had the city squarely in the palms of both hands.

Well, that was then, and this is now. Thank you, Lord. New blood means new ideas and renewed hope. While some feel invigorated by the winds of change, others would have you believe the Grim Reaper, sickle in hand, just rolled into Valley Ranch. The cry of "Jerry is back to his old tricks" resonates throughout the Cowboys' Nation. What's the cause of this renewed consternation? The hiring of Jason Garrett. Local DFW writers feel this is no way to go about the search for a new head coach. Their thoughts are completely short-sided when considering the availment of Garrett. While it may not be conventional protocol, it makes perfect sense in this particular instance. Sure, every head coach would welcome the opportunity to hand pick his own staff, but circumstances and timing dictate differently in regards to the Cowboys and Jason Garrett.

This was purely a matter of opportunity presented and opportunity taken. Cowboys' Faithful, you should be most thankful for Jerry's actions and quick decision. It wasn't like the Miami Dolphins were allowing Garrett to talk to every suitor. The requests for his services were abundant and so were the denials from Dade County. Starting years ago, the demands for Jason Garrett began to mount. This year was no different, and only the Cowboys, due to past history, loyalty and allegiance, were allowed to visit with their former back-up quarterback. Suffice it to say, Jason Garrett was not leaving Valley Ranch without an offer to return to his playing roots. Anyone thinking Garrett's arrival is prohibitive to the head coach search doesn't fully realize the magnitude of Jerry's latest acquisition.

The toughest decision remains, and Jones can very easily reduce the degree of difficulty with his very next hire. The next hire will undoubtedly be the head coach, but the toughness of the decision is whether to make Jason Garrett that selection. Hopefully it won't come to that at this particular juncture. For developmental reasons, Garrett does not have to be the head honcho. This is in no way suggesting he couldn't handle it, but why push the issue if you really don't need to? In order to facilitate his growth at the coordinator level, Jerry's next hire will be tricky due to stipulations. In order for the candidate to fully accept the stipulations, the contract and monetary outlay has to account for a potential "flip flop" hire.

A what?

A flip flop hire.

If Jerry Jones has convinced himself Jason Garrett has the potential to be the team's head coach in the future, he must convey the same to all head coaching interviewees. Guys like Ron Rivera, Jim Caldwell, Ron Meeks and others were basically eliminated from consideration as soon as Garrett arrived on the scene. It will take the right guy to fully accept Jerry's futuristic thoughts while holding down the seat for a year, two or three while Mr. Garrett is groomed to lead America's team. If Jerry is wise and wishes to offer security, he'll either ensure or virtually guarantee his next head coach a coordinator position (flip flop) when Garrett is ready to climb into the saddle. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the tricky part of the equation. Jones must insulate himself with a head coach who is already a proven commodity at the coordinator level. One capable of performing admirably on Garrett's watch.

Thus, the Cowboys essentially have a pool of three, and this triumvirate has been invited in for a visit with Jones. The threesome is Wade Phillips, Norv Turner and Gary Gibbs. Spend a little time viewing the forum boards on this website, and you'll quickly discover none of the three, especially Turner, receive resounding endorsements from the fandom. Well folks, unless something earth shattering happens between now and the day after the Super Bowl, one of these guys is likely to be your next head coach. In order of probability, you're most likely looking at Turner, Phillips and then Gibbs. In reality, Norv presents the only real possibility of carrying out the flip flop move. Otherwise, Garrett would have to be an awful quick study on the defensive side of the ball to execute the flip flop with either Phillips or Gibbs.

If you're Gary Gibbs, you're grateful to the Cowboys for the visit, but you respectfully decline the position. Stick to the current post under Sean Payton, and he will be called upon rather quickly for vacancies in a year or two. Phillips and Turner are more likely to accept the offer in hopes their third chance to lead a team will result in a championship. For a shot at the Lombardi trophy, while earning some major coin, why not?

Let's conclude this with the actual prediction. Jerry Jones will hire Norv Turner as the franchise's seventh head coach. It makes too much sense (and cents), and contrary to popular belief, it has absolutely nothing to do with "puppet hood." The masses are already convinced otherwise, but Norv Turner has an opportunity to thrive here, and some would argue deserves the chance to prove himself.

Is he the "sexy" hire? If you equate sexy to looks and the number of skins on the wall, then most likely not. If you define sexy as driven, knowledgeable and endearing, then bring on the sex pot. For all the Norv naysayers out there, did he really ever have the right environment to succeed in his two previous head coaching stops? As soon as he arrives in Washington so does Danny Boy Snyder. A trip to the West Coast puts him under the scrutiny of Al Davis. Dan Snyder and Al Davis? In actuality, he may have landed in the two worst NFL venues as related to success and opportunity. He might as well have inserted his head immediately into the leash. And you think Jerry Jones keeps a tight grip on his coaches not named Johnson and Parcells. Please. Norv gets a vote of confidence for having survived those commando missions and living to tell about each. Like any coach, the right environment is needed for success.

Is Dallas that setting?

Only time will tell, but he's going to get his chance to test the Cowboys' waters. If Norv brings Mike Singletary with him to run the defense, that would make a pretty stout one-two punch from the Bay area. Don't rule out Turner calling up ol' buddy, and local, Joe Avezzano to head up the special teams, and if someone could roust up Charles Haley to teach "pressure" techniques, then strike up the band. Hail, hail the gangs all here! So, if the choice is Tuna Ball or a chance with a Norv-A-Lous offense, welcome back to Dallas, Mr. Turner. You and Mr. Garrett simply have two very important tasks at hand. Continue the molding and maturation process of #9 and take this organization where it was born to play. The drought must subside.

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