No Room to Advance: Dom Capers Turns Down Dallas Cowboys

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No Room to Advance: Dom Capers Turns Down Dallas Cowboys
Maybe Dom Capers just wants a break. He's been on an NFL staff every single season for over two decades, not even taking a year or two to rest behind a studio desk and tell the audience why others failed without having to worry about making the same game-time decisions that could end up in letdown himself.

But it's odd that he would not leap at the opportunity to join a recently successful franchise like the Cowboys. That's exactly what Capers did recently as he declined to accept a defensive position in Dallas. He was presented with the possibility to be a consultant or perhaps coordinator, but instead it looks as if he'll be sitting out the season. Why would he throw out the Golden Ticket wrapped around his Wonka Bar, refusing to join the ranks of a recently successful team with a seemingly promising immediate future?

This is especially true when one considers that Capers spent 2006 and 2007 inhabiting the Bizarro world as part of Miami's plummeting squad. He was fired last month, just as one would expect a coach on a one-win team that finished 23rd in defense. Since then, Capers was given the option to not only rebound but bounce much higher to a team already playing at an elite level. Yet, he said no: Capers just turned down the prospect of rib eye for dinner every night after two years of bologna sandwiches.

It's tough at first glance to determine why Capers would have passed. He seems like a perfect leader for Dallas' 3-4 defense, long his specialty, particularly when factoring in that he wouldn't have to build it from scratch. Capers' decision is baffling in that regard, but the job he was offered is not the issue: the concern has to do with the next highest post.

The problem is that there's no hope for promotion to the top job on Dallas' staff. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett may as well be Jerry Jones, Jr. when it comes to not only retaining his current title but also in terms of who heads the short list as potential future head coach; in truth, it's almost certainly a very short list comprised of exactly one name. That had to have been a drawback for the candidate who just rejected the team.

Only 57, it's likely that Capers wants another shot at being the boss. It's understandable if he finally wants a chance where his first year isn't the franchise's first year, too, as it has been during his previous tries. While Capers has an ostensibly poor 48-80 record as a head coach, that is of course distorted by the fact that he led two expansion teams for their respective initial four seasons. The probability that Capers could be looking for another upgrade paired with Garrett's seemingly inevitable ascension means that, in this case, a 13-3 playoff team was an unattractive choice.

Capers might want to eventually be the head coach of an established team for once, and that's why he was willing to wait for either another squad's offer or until next season for a new gig. The lack of opportunity for growth, the same reason that a minivan full of ex-Dallas assistants bolted for Miami, is why a former Dolphins employee in Capers wouldn't head the other way.

While it means that some qualified assistants may leave or never come to Dallas in the first place, the positive view is that there's not anything fundamentally unappealing about the Cowboys' situation, namely some looming evidence of an upcoming drop-off. That should make the frustration of being unable to attract an employee like Capers a little easier to bear.

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