Assistant Search is a 'Who You Know' Business

IRVING, Texas -- Recently spotted exiting Valley Ranch: Sparano and Ireland and Gaine and Pasqualoni and Rodgers and Bowles. Soon to be spotted exiting Bill Parcells' resume: Credibility.

New Dolphins czar Parcells' claimed reputation (most recently peddled by SI's Peter King) as somebody who wouldn't cherry-pick staffers away from friends in his football family is being disproven on a daily basis now, as Cowboys owner Jerry Jones continued to make offers to staffers who have declined, their formerly silver-and-blue stars now tied to the Big Tuna.

Yes, Jerry Jones considers Bill a friend. But as is often the case with Parcells, the friendship kinda only goes one way.

The moves are typically Parcells – but the resulting panic from some followers is unnecessary. In fact, the departures actually allow Wade Phillips to assemble under him some "Phillips Guys.''

"We can't afford to lose Sparano!'' Really? Because Hudson Houck, who comes to Dallas as the O-line coach in Sparano's place, has TWICE the resume.

"We can't afford to lose Ireland!'' Really? As one NFL scout told me today, "Jeff Ireland didn't make the decision on top picks for the Cowboys. Parcells did. And does anybody think Ireland will run this draft (in Miami)? If he's going to run the draft, what's Bill going to do?''

Bill Parcells will run the draft.

At least he will run the top of it. "Buy the groceries,'' remember? And, at the risk of being too harsh, Sparano and Ireland will run to get Parcells' coffee and donuts.

And now it's "Oh, no, we're losing Bowles, Pasqualoni and Rodgers to Miami, too!'' Listen, I'm not downgrading any of their work; 13-3 speaks for itself. I am saying that Dallas can fill Pasqualoni's role as the LB coach immediately by elevating junior-staffer Dat Nguyen. And then Dallas could – just thinking out loud here – go back to Miami to grab a couple of assistants who were placed in limbo in Parcells' hostile takeover.

This isn't "inside information,'' but rather simply an acknowledgement that NFL coaching is a "who-you-know'' business.

(Consider Houck's connections: Worked under Jerry in Dallas, worked alongside Jason Garrett in Miami, worked alongside Wade in San Diego. Who-you-know.)

There is no shortage of quality football men who can teach and communicate and coach; it's simply a matter of which assistants fit with which rosters, staffs, head coaches and front offices. Wade can look anywhere in the NFL, he can look to his previous stop in San Diego, or, ironically, he could look to the Dolphins staff purged by Parcells.

Big for-instance: Miami's ex-defensive coordinator, Dom Capers, is available. Had Jason Garrett become a head coach, he would've considered the venerable Capers as his defensive chief. This is just a for-instance because Capers will do better than a low-rung spot in Dallas, but the point is, Todd Bowles is not a better D-coordinator than Dom Capers. … But Todd has a job with Parcells and Dom does not.

Little (but maybe more applicable) for-instance: Brett Maxie and Mike Dumas both played in the NFL. Both were 2007 defensive assistants with the Dolphins. Both are now available.

What was Maxie doing in 1985? He was playing for the Saints – who were coached by Wade Phillips.

What was Dumas doing in 1994? He was playing for the Bills – who were coached by Wade Phillips.

As with Capers-vs.-Bowles. … Is Kacy Rodgers a better assistant football coach than Maxie or Dumas? No idea. But Rodgers is trusted by Bill. And maybe Dat or Maxie or Dumas is trusted by Wade. DallasCowboys.com suggests we should throw deposed Ravens assistant Dennis Thurman, an ex-Cowboy, on this pile.

A "who-you-know'' business, I tell you. So quit sweating this. Between Jerry and Wade, they know pretty much everybody. And we'll find us a few assistants.

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