Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones Gushes Over Potential Coaching Candidates

Lincoln Riley

Getty Lincoln Riley

Naturally, because it serves his own purposes, Jerry Jones watched what went down at the house he built.

Last week’s Big 12 Championship between No. 7 Baylor and No. 4 Oklahoma, hosted at AT&T Stadium, was an instant classic. The teams traded scores for five quarters until the Sooners landed the overtime knockout blow — a five-yard Rhamondre Stevenson run — in their thrilling 30-23 victory.

It was a masterclass in coaching, a quintessential chess match involving Matt Rhule and Lincoln Riley, whom Jones reportedly is “very intrigued” by.

A presumption now confirmed as fact by the Cowboys’ czar himself.

“I’m impressed with him. But, boy, I’m impressed with Baylor’s coach, too,” Jones said Friday on 105.3 The Fan. “Those were two outstanding coaches at the stadium this weekend. … They’ve done great jobs. … That was a great chance to see a couple great coaches out there.”

Two of the best offensive minds on the planet, Riley and Rhule have resisted NFL overtures in recent years, but the temptation might be too great this time around. One or both could make the leap to the pros in 2020; the latter reportedly is “very interested” in the Giants’ soon-to-be coaching vacancy.

One or both may also wind up on Dallas’ candidate shortlist, as they’re expected to replace HC Jason Garrett after the season, barring a deep (some say improbable) playoff run.

Jones’ assessment is a possible indication that he’s scouring the collegiate ranks for the next up-and-comer rather than leaning toward a veteran retread as Garrett’s successor.

Former Ohio State head man Urban Meyer is considered the tentative frontrunner if (when) the Cowboys decide to conduct a coaching search.

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Jones Gives Pause to Hiring from NCAA

Nick Saban is Exhibit A in proving that success doesn’t automatically translate from college to the NFL. In fact, it rarely does. Some are simply better suited on the recruiting trail, appealing to 21-year-olds and being the big fish roaming a small pond. If they’re holding those positions, it’s usually for good reason: They can’t cut it at the next level.

Although he’ll likely cast a wide net to find the Cowboys’ new leader of men, Jones is aware that his choice can backfire the way so many others have if he picks from an inexperienced pool. Going into the unknown not knowing is a risky proposition, to say the least.

“College coaches, a head coach coming directly into (to the NFL) head coach, have the lowest percentage rate of success (in the NFL),” Jones said, via 105.3 The Fan. “It’s pretty obvious they have to get acquainted with personnel. College coaches spend Sunday working. It’s one of their biggest workday weeks. In many cases, they aren’t familiar with the personnel, and that’s a big deal.

“So, you pay a price for someone to get up to date that haven’t spent the prior months or years in the NFL. And just the nature of the game, college coaches don’t spend a lot of time watching this game. I’m reminded we won one football game the first year we came and brought Jimmy (Johnson) in.”

ESPN Personality Warns Meyer Not to Coach Cowboys [WATCH]

Paul Finebaum has advice for Meyer as he mulls the idea of taking over America’s Team: Don’t. Finebaum, a former columnist-turned-commentator known for his coverage of Alabama, appeared on ESPN’s Get Up on Wednesday to deliver a pointed message to Meyer, who’s reportedly interested in the Dallas job should it become available.

There’s room in this proverbial pond for a lame duck, Finebaum cautions, but not two big fish.

“Urban didn’t like the president of the university telling him what to do last year. He certainly is not going to like Jerry Jones [telling him what to do],” Finebaum said. “You start thinking about the worst possible marriages in history — Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton; go down the list — this would be the worst.”


“Because Urban Meyer and Jerry Jones would just butt heads from Day 1,” he said. “Urban’s an authoritarian figure. He runs everything. He’s a detail freak. And Jerry Jones talking to the media after his first exhibition loss would drive Urban off the deep end.”

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL

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