'Urban Cowboys'? The Top 4 Reasons Coach Meyer Is A Jerry Jones Fit
FRISCO - The Dallas Cowboys would prefer this be on the down-low. But they've already made contact with Urban Meyer as a possible successor to lame-duck head coach Jason Garrett. And I say there are four reasons it makes sense to keep him atop the wish list.
1) Meyer has expressed a strong interest in the job. At the time, it seemed ... random. But maybe Meyer used a Fox TV appearance to actually pitch himself for the job.
“That’s the one (job),” Meyer responded in October when asked if Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley would have interest in coaching the Cowboys. “That’s New York Yankees, that’s the Dallas Cowboys. That’s the one. Great city. They got Dak Prescott, Zeke Elliott. You got a loaded team. ... But, to me, that’s the one job in professional football that you say, ‘I got to go do that.’”
Meyer said in that interview that he'd never been contacted by the Cowboys. Jerry says the same.
I wonder if that's entirely true.
2) His "winning-at-every-level'' credential (hopefully) transfers. As a head coach at Utah, he went 22-2. Then he went to Florida and won two national titles. Then he went to Ohio State and won another one. Running an NFL program is different than running a college program, to be sure. But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made that work in the grandest way with Jimmy Johnson. It could work again.
Meyer would bring to the job three things that figure to translate: He has a fearsome aura, he has a CEO mindset, and he knows brilliant talent.
3) His years away from the game frees his staff-building. Meyer has been out of the game for two seasons, citing health reasons for why he left the Buckeyes. But in addition to still knowing the talents of today's young NFL prospects, Meyer is respected as a "relationship-builder'' with college and pro coaches.
Consider the obvious thread that runs from Meyer to Dallas already: The Cowboys always get a gold-plated invitation to scout Ohio State kids. That's one of the reasons a Meyer kid named "Ezekiel Elliott'' landed here. Meanwhile, Dallas QB Dak Prescott is from Mississippi State, where his coach was Dan Mullen - who comes from the Meyer coaching tree.
Combine the connections with his absence from the game and see the logic: While a coach who is presently employed (Sean Payton or Lincoln Riley or whomever) would surely insist on bringing the bulk of his existing staff with him (Payton, I bet, would want to clean house at The Star all the way down to the janitors), Meyer doesn't have coordinators who are at his side.
Therefore, when the Joneses suggest to the next coach that he retain, say, Kellen Moore or Kris Richard or Marc Colombo (and that's how the Joneses have always operated here) Meyer will be receptive.
Of course, coaching in Dallas, Meyer would have to be "receptive'' to lots of things, including his bosses doing four radio shows per week, sometimes contradicting the message he's trying to send.
But to work on "The Big Stage'' ... what if you're satisfied not being the star because you're the director?
4) Meyer is the "anti-RKG.'' Garrett himself announced 'The Death of The RKG,'' recently spewing nonsense about the Cowboys. “The guys who earn the playing time by playing the right way,'' Garrett insisted, "are going to play more.'' (Who have they been giving playing time to in the previous 14 weeks if not for Jason's precious "Right Kind of Guys''?
RKG is dead. It might be time for "Right Kind of Player.'' Or, to paraphrase Cowboys booster/advisor Michael Irvin, "Right Kind of Dawg.''
That is Urban Meyer's way. And in that sense, my comparisons are to Bill Belichick in New England (the control freak who somehow never knows anything about when his staff cheats, over and over again) and to Pete Carroll in Seattle. The Seahawks offer up a lovable, clean-cut poster-guy in QB Russell Wilson. But the truth about Carroll's roster over the years? Lots of scoundrels. Lots of guys you wouldn't let date your sister. Lots of "dawgs.''
If it almost sounds like I'm describing an Urban Meyer-led return to a Jimmy Johnson-like attitude toward building the Team of the 90's, it's because I am.