Mangino isn't listed here in this story, but anyway...
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It's your move again, Jerry

History says Cowboys owner/GM will find coach on his terms

10:41 PM CST on Monday, January 22, 2007



Tracking the coaching hires of Jerry Jones, we see he's tried the college whiz (Jimmy Johnson), the couch potato (Barry Switzer), the NFL assistant (Chan Gailey), the Cowboys assistant (Dave Campo) and the legend (Bill Parcells).

So what does Jerry do now that Parcells has retired again?

Maybe something he's never done before, and if early indications have any bearing, it's not a good sign.

Could he follow the NFL's latest trend? Other than Atlanta's hiring of Bobby Petrino, every other team looking for a new coach is trying the up-and-coming assistant.

Arizona took a chance on Ken Whisenhunt. Pittsburgh hired Mike Tomlin. Miami is gambling on Cam Cameron, never mind he was 18-37 at Indiana and won't be bringing LaDainian Tomlinson with him, either.

Oakland? Can't even get a college assistant to take the job.

Never can tell when you might turn up the next Sean Payton or Lovie Smith, the latest success stories in the untried assistant genre. Pro sports teams in general are notorious copycats at that. Once Theo Epstein built Boston's World Series champs and finally beat the curse of the Bambino, everybody else in baseball was hiring boy wonders.

But here's the book on Jerry Jones: He's no copycat. Good or bad, he goes his own way, as he will now.

Bob Stoops? Not as hot as he once was, and I'm not sure he's cut out for the media exposure a Cowboys coach endures, but he's still an interesting name.

Pete Carroll? He gets Michigan's vote, anyway.

Jeff Fisher? An early contender, he's tied up in a new deal in Tennessee. Bill Cowher? Taking a year off. Charlie Weis? Too expensive to buy out.

Frankly, I'd take any of the above. You should, too. Only a few organizations in sports have the Cowboys' cachet, meaning the latest NFL vacancy should attract the best candidates.

But that's not how Jerry works. From all indications, he may already have his man. Or he should. Just because the head coach made him wait two weeks while he decided what to do, Jerry didn't need to be held hostage.

And if Parcells was simply waiting on an extension, then Jerry played it just right.

Bet that he's been compiling a short list of candidates all along.

Bet this, too: If you hadn't heard from Jerry by the time Bill Parcells' statement hit the news Monday, forget about coaching the Cowboys.

The names circulating for weeks have been Wade Phillips and Norv Turner, a couple of logical candidates for many reasons, particularly if you understand Jerry's history.

Phillips is appealing because of his long experience with the 3-4, something Mike Zimmer didn't have. And unless you want to remake the Cowboys' roster Jerry doesn't making this defense work should be a priority.

Turner? He'd be an excellent mentor to Tony Romo, and he'd fix an inconsistent offense. He's also one of Jerry's favorites, a friendly reminder from an era that seems more distant every season.

Both Phillips and Turner are also players' coaches. Don't discount how much it means. Parcells didn't know how to reach his players anymore. Or wouldn't. Buck Showalter couldn't, either, and that's why Ron Washington is running the Rangers now.

The Cowboys, like the Rangers, will benefit from a looser atmosphere, from the coaching staff on down.

But a warm and fuzzy locker room is not necessarily why Jerry will go with Phillips or Turner, either.

He hired Parcells because he had to sell a new stadium to a public that didn't trust him. Parcells gave him credibility, at least temporarily. He also got him his beloved JerryWorld.

From the stadium perspective, Parcells served Jerry well. The Cowboys are also better than when he got here.

But even if the two egos never clashed publicly, as so many predicted, it was never a happy marriage. Parcells wanted total control, and Jerry resented yielding it.

Now, with Parcells gone, Jerry returns to his former role. And with Phillips or Turner or someone similar in charge, no one gets in his way.

Maybe Phillips or Turner could win big here. But nothing in their combined history suggests it. In 14 years between them, they've managed six winning seasons and a 1-4 playoff record.

Bottom line: If he does, indeed, go the retread route, Jerry will have run the gamut on coaching types. But it doesn't mean it promises anything new.
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"Wise men still seek Him..."