The Cowboys are going to give well-deserved interviews to the men behind the Bears defense and Colts offense, once a little game you might have heard of is played.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the team could have a new coach as early as Tuesday, but that he plans to talk to two more candidates after today’s Super Bowl. Citing league tampering rules, Jones didn’t identify the coaches — although sources have indicated that Jones wants to talk to Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera and Colts quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell.
Despite the possible emergence of two more candidates, Jones still is leaning toward 49ers offensive coordinator Norv Turner, according to the sources. Jones said Saturday he “is leaning” in a certain direction, but that his mind remains open.
Jones said he could conduct the additional interviews after today’s game if he gets permission from the teams. “The time frame… is not an issue rule-wise,” Jones said. “But I want to be respectful of these teams and what they have their minds on. I will probably have an announcement [about the coaching hire] at the first part of the week, but I won’t dismiss that it could be longer.”
The interest in Rivera means the Cowboys aren’t tied to the 3-4 defense, which they have played the past two seasons. Rivera, who could come to Dallas as defensive coordinator under Turner if he is not the head coach, is a 4-3 coach. “The 3-4 is a consideration, but it should not stand in the way,” Jones said. “I can give you a good case where some of our personnel is suited to a 4-3.”
Jones said the only overriding issue in the hiring process is the continued development of quarterback Tony Romo. Jones said he spent two hours Saturday picking the brain of former Cowboys great Roger Staubach, who was a great improviser on the field. “We think there are similarities [between Staubach and Romo],” Jones said. “We think a lot of Tony. We like the way he got here. His development is a big part of [the coaching] decision.”
In addition to Turner, Jones has interviewed former Cowboys receivers coach Todd Haley; offensive line coach Tony Sparano; secondary coach Todd Bowles; Jason Garrett, whom the team has hired as offensive coordinator; Chargers defensive coordinator Wade Phillips; Saints defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs; and 49ers assistant coach/defense Mike Singletary.
My guess is that Turner is ultimately hired, but Jones owes it to all concerned to at least talk to Rivera and Caldwell. And Rivera has not ruled out the possibility of making a lateral move to get out from under the shadow of Lovie Smith.
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