Nick Eatman - Email
DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer
February 16, 2007 6:10 PM
IRVING, Texas - His first week on the job has been anything but dull.
Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips said he would be busy putting together his staff, and he has been. In fact, he's almost done, although he does have a few high-profile jobs to fill.
Phillips has hired five new coaches this week, leaving the offensive and defensive coordinator positions, along with the special teams position, still vacant.
There is a chance his two coordinators are already on staff. Jason Garrett, the former Cowboys quarterback who was hired even before Phillips, is expected to handle most of the offensive coordinator duties, including play-calling. He currently does not have a coaching title, but it is expected he will serve as the coordinator and possibly even quarterbacks coach, which also has not been named. The Cowboys also have interviewed Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst for a potential role on the staff.
Both Phillips and Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said this week the entire staff could be finalized sometime before next week.
And while Garrett is a choice for offensive coordinator, last year's secondary coach Todd Bowles might be the top choice to run the defense.
Bowles, a former player with the Redskins and 49ers for eight seasons, has spent the last two years coaching the Cowboys' defensive backs. He interviewed for the head coaching job during the first few days after Bill Parcells' retirement.
While he might not have been a serious candidate to become head coach, it sounds like he is still a leading candidate for defensive coordinator.
"Todd is very impressive," Jones said Thursday night. "Really very smart and has that experience as a player. That's important."
The Cowboys will also look for a new special teams coach after Bruce DeHaven, who was here the last four years, took a job in Seattle before Parcells retired. Coincidentally, DeHaven worked for Phillips in Buffalo and was fired after the 1999 season when the Bills lost to the Titans on a last-minute kickoff return for a touchdown, also known as the "Music City Miracle"
Since taking over as new head coach, Phillips has hired his son Wesley as offensive quality control and former Cowboys linebacker Dat Nguyen as an assistant linebacker coach and defensive quality control.
Phillips then hired veteran coach Ray Sherman to oversee the wide receivers. Sherman, who has 19 years of NFL coaching experience, spent the last two years in Tennessee after a five-year stint in Green Bay that included coaching Terry Glenn in 2002.
The Cowboys also hired John Garrett, the older brother of Jason Garrett, to coach the tight ends. John Garrett has spent the last three years at the University of Virginia, but has also coached wide receivers (1995-98) for the Bengals and served as the Cardinals' quarterbacks coach (1999-2000), before returning to Cincinnati to coach tight ends from 2001-02 and then work in the scouting department in 2003.
Later in the week, the Cowboys hired longtime Raiders running backs coach Skip Peete to coach the backs here in Dallas. Peete, the older brother of veteran quarterback Rodney Peete, had been with the Raiders the last eight years.
The Cowboys have just four coaches left from last year's staff under Parcells, including Sparano and Bowles. The Cowboys also have kept linebackers coach Paul Pasqualoni and defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers. The club decided not to retain Vincent Brown, who spent just one year with the team as the inside linebackers coach.
With the NFL Draft still months away, most owners, general managers and coaches will be rather vague in terms of answering what player they might select.
Jerry Jones was no different Thursday night when asked to discuss the team's draft needs.
The Cowboys have the 21st overall pick following last year's 9-7 record.
Jones acknowledged the Cowboys have not drafted an offensive player in the first round since taking tight end David LaFleur in 1997, but said he expects the Cowboys to fall behind the popular draft cliché of "taking the best player off the board" once again this year.
"As all teams, we've got a long ways to go," Jones said. "This will be the classic 'the best one up there' at any position in the draft."
Jones has said several times this off-season he wants Terrell Owens back on the Cowboys roster in 2007.
While Jones didn't waver from his stance of wanting Owens back, he did mention some "tough decisions to make" regarding his players and contracts.
"He's part of our team. That's what I'm saying," Jones said of Owens, who is due a $3 million roster bonus on June 1. "I don't want it to look one way or the other. We're evaluating everybody, but still my plans are for him to be back."
Owens completely cleaned out his locker at Valley Ranch and removed his nameplate. However, he has also said he wants to return next year, and even called Wade Phillips to introduce himself last week.
The Cowboys have a decision to make on Terry Glenn, who is due a $5 million roster bonus due on March 2. Like Owens' bonus, the Cowboys have the ability to prorate the bonus over the length of the contract to lower the salary-cap hit.