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Wade Phillips Fired? 5 Coaching Candidates For the Dallas Cowboys

Justin EisenbandCorrespondent IJanuary 14, 2017

Wade Phillips Fired? 5 Coaching Candidates For the Dallas Cowboys

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Last week, Jerry Jones proclaimed that Wade Phillips job was safe as Dallas Cowboys head coach. After an embarrassing loss yesterday to the Green Bay Packers, Jones' attitude was slightly different.

    Jones stated "there are a lot of people here who are certainly going to suffer and suffer consequences. I'm talking about within the team -- players, coaches who have got careers."

    Phillips did not return with the team to Dallas, but flew home with Jerry Jones on his private plane. As of 11 this morning, Phillips was not at the Cowboys's team facility. All of these signs suggested a reversal of strategy for Jones and the Cowboys.

    And this afternoon, in a move that was surprising to no one, Phillips was fired as head coach of the Cowboys. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett was named his replacement.

    While the Cowboys are already essentially eliminated from playoffs at 1-7, Jones is tired of the embarrassment. The Cowboys have lost five straight and appear to be headed for one of their worst seasons of all time.

    Tony Romo is out for at least another month and the Dallas running game is non-existent. The defense has been made to look silly giving up 35 or more points over the last three weeks.

    Any coach who takes over will obviously be given tremendous leeway. After all, you can't do much worse than what Wade Phillips has done this season.

    That being said, here are five possible candidates to take over for Wade Phillips:

Brian Billick

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Since being fired by the Ravens in 2007, Billick has been out of the league. As head coach of the Ravens however, Billick compiled an 85-67 record as well as a Superbowl victory.

    When he came to Baltimore, Billick had been known as an offensive whiz from his days as offensive coordinator with the Minnesota Vikings, but it was the Ravens's defense during Billick's tenure that gained a superb reputation.

    Billick has been out of the league for a while now and may be itching to return to coaching. While a 1-7 team does not offer the most promising position, the Cowboys are considered to have greater talent than their record would suggest.

    A high-profile position as Dallas Cowboys head coach would be tough to turn down by anyone.

Jon Gruden

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Gruden has been away from head coaching since his stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was ended due to poor performance. Now Gruden spends his time in the broadcasting booth with Mike Tirico hosting Monday Night Football.

    Gruden's track record is certainly impressive. He is the last coach to be truly successful with the Oakland Raiders and in his first year as coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he led them to a Superbowl Victory.

    Gruden is still relatively young for an NFL head coach, and at age 47, he may be the jolt of youth that this Cowboys team needs after the ancient Wade Phillips. Additionally, Gruden demands discipline and accountability from his players, something that has been severely lacking for Dallas under the Wade Phillips's regime.

    Luring Gruden away from the broadcast boast may be difficult, however. It seems there is more job security in television than on the sidelines these days.

Jason Garrett

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    Larry French/Getty Images

    Before Wade Phillips was hired, Jason Garrett had been a surprise contender for the head coaching vacancy in Dallas. Garrett would make the most sense as an interim coach because he already knows the team as its offensive coordinator and has experience within the organization.

    However, the Cowboys sputtering running game and offense has to be a cause of concern for Jerry Jones. Garrett produced the offensive schemes that led to the second-ranked Dallas offense last season, but despite numerous weapons this season, the Cowboys are 31st in the running game this year.

    A former quarterbacks coach, Garrett may not be the right man to improve the running game for Dallas. As the best internal candidate, he might have the easiest path to a head coaching position in Dallas.

    It will all come down to Jerry Jones's confidence in Garrett and whether he believes that Garrett will bring real change to the under-performing Cowboys. Plus, if Garrett doesn't work out as head coach, the Cowboys will need to fill both the head coaching and offensive coordinator positions this offseason.

Leslie Frazier

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    NFL Photos/Getty Images

    Frazier is currently the defensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings. Frazier has been mentioned as a possible replacement in numerous coaching vacancies over the last few seasons.

    Frazier's contract is up after this season and will likely be a hot commodity for several teams facing open spots at head coach. Despite a sub-par season, the Minnesota defense has played well this season and is seventh and tenth against the run and pass, respectively.

    The conventional wisdom would state that Dallas already has the offensive talent to succeed. With Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, and Roy Williams, the Cowboys offense simply needs to figure out how to run the ball successfully. The biggest change must come on the defensive end.

    Frazier could provide the tools to succeed defensively in Dallas. Jones may like the sexy, high-octane offensive picks, but a defensive, back to basics approach may be exactly what is needed in Dallas.

Brian Schottenheimer

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    Schottenheimer is currently serving as the offensive coordinator for the New York Jets; however, he has been mentioned as a head coaching candidate for numerous teams over the past few years.

    As the son of Marty Schottenheimer, he certainly has the coaching pedigree behind him. Known as an offensive whiz, Schottenheimer has been credited with the development of both Drew Brees for San Diego and Mark Sanchez in New York.

    Schottenheimer would certainly bring a youth element to Dallas. He is just 37 years old and would be one of the youngest head coaches in the NFL. Since it hasn't been very fun in Dallas lately, he might bring a little vitality down to Texas.

    With 13 years of coaching/coordinator experience, Schottenheimer appears to be ready to take the next step as head coach. With Rex Ryan firmly in place at Schottenheimer's current team, Dallas seems like a good match for the young promising coach.

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