Would Urban Meyer or Lincoln Riley be the answer?


The Dallas Cowboys would reportedly have ‘very real interest’ in Urban Meyer and Lincoln Riley to be their next head coach but are they the right answer?

If the seat for Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett wasn’t hot prior to Thursday Night Football in Week 14, it’s scalding now. After a demoralizing loss to Buffalo at home on Thanksgiving, Garrett’s team laid another stinker at Soldier Field in a loss to the Bears that was not as close as the 31-24 final score indicates.

Losing in Chicago isn’t the end of the world for Garrett but the way the team lost was. Questionable play-calling, a seeming lack of motivation and urgency and the fact that the oft-maligned Mitchell Trubisky looked like Steve Young against a touted Cowboys defense do appear to be the end of the world.

In the wake of Dallas now dropping to 6-7 on the 2019 season, even if they still lead the NFC East, the rumors of Garrett’s eventual firing have been swirling furiously again. While reports have stated that the team won’t let the head coach go during the season, the frustration of Jerry Jones and the Cowboys fans at large is reaching fever pitch to where his dismissal feels inevitable.

Naturally, talk of Garrett being fired leads to the notion of who will replace him. On Friday, Jane Slater of NFL Network reported that Dalla would have “very real interest” in former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer as a candidate, in addition to Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley and seeming dark-horse Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott:

The formula of taking a highly decorated and successful college coach and bringing him to Dallas has worked for the Jones family before with Jimmy Johnson in the 1990s. But the question now is if Meyer or Riley, to focus on the two biggest names here, would be the answer for 2020 and beyond with the Cowboys.

If nothing else, both Urban Meyer and Lincoln Riley would bring innovation to the table. One of the biggest criticisms of Garrett and many of his regimes has been their lack of creativity both in terms of design and play-calling. These two college candidates to replace Garrett stand in stark contrast to that with how they’ve pushed the envelope on offense.

While that may be true and would certainly help the Cowboys, it does remain to be seen if the styles of Meyer and Riley would succeed at the NFL level. That’s a gamble the Arizona Cardinals took in 2019 by hiring Kliff Kingsbury and, while Meyer and Riley are more accomplished, it’s still a gamble.

Furthermore, Jones and the Dallas front office would have to surround either Meyer or Riley with a strong staff, particularly at defensive coordinator. It would very much need to be a situation not dissimilar to Wade Phillips heading up the defense while Sean McVay took over the Rams offense. They would need to work with the Cowboys offense and let someone with defensive expertise handle that side of the ball.

Frankly, the answer to the question of if Urban Meyer or Lincoln Riley would be the cure for the Dallas Cowboys is that we don’t know. But there are some things that we do know.

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If the Cowboys are wanting to take a risk to try and be progressive and make a massive leap, then hiring Meyer or Riley is the type of big-splash move that they need to make. If they want to play it a bit safe, however, perhaps someone like Ron Rivera or Mike McCarthy would make more sense. Those are the undeniable facts of the matter.

But even more undeniable is that something has to change on the Cowboys sideline. And no matter who it is (within reason, of course), that change will be welcomed by fans.


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