Scott Linehan was fired by the Dallas Cowboys on Friday after five years with the organization, and four as offensive coordinator. It was a dramatic move, since the Jason Garrett appeared set to enter next season with his entire coaching staff back.
This move also comes late in the hiring process for NFL coaches, with a number of solid coordinators already snapped up by other teams.
With that in mind, here’s a look at five potential replacements as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator.
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Ken Whisenhunt loves working with Philip Rivers as the Los Angeles Chargers’ offensive coordinator, so it might be difficult to pry him away. That said, the Cowboys have deep pockets and could put together an offer that would be hard to turn down.
In 2018 under Whisenhunt’s guidance, the Chargers finished 11th in total offense (372.6 yards per game), 10th in passing yards per game (255.6), 15th in rushing yards per game (117.1) and sixth in points per game (26.8). It was a balanced attack that did a phenomenal job of exploiting mismatches and maximizing the strengths the roster had on the perimeter.
Todd Haley’s short stint in Cleveland didn’t do much for his stock as an offensive coordinator, but he does have a solid track record. He lasted just eight weeks with the Browns and his contentious relationship with Hue Jackson was a major problem.
Haley was the offensive coordinator for the Cardinals when they made their run to Super Bowl XLIII. That earned him a head coaching job with the Kansas City Chiefs, where he was largely terrible. From 2012 through the end of the 2017 season, Haley led the Steelers’ offense as it put up big numbers. He’s been with the Cowboys before, as the team’s wide receivers coach from 2004 to 2006.
One thing you can say about Jedd Fisch, he definitely knows Sean McVay. Fisch just wrapped up his first season as a “senior offensive assistant” for the Rams after stints as offensive coordinator for Michigan (2015-2016) and UCLA (2017). Before that he was the Jaguars’ offensive coordinator from 2013 to 2014.
Fisch has an impressive resume for a 42-year-old. He’s coached for six different NFL franchises, is well-regarded as a quarterbacks coach and has had some success as an offensive coordinator. Oh, and did I mention he knows Sean McVay? Well, he knows Sean McVay.
Everyone is trying to import that Rams mojo, it’ll be interesting if the Cowboys go that direction as well.
Doug Nussmeier was brought in as Dallas’ tight ends coach this season and he has extensive experience as an offensive coordinator at the college level. Nussmeier had stops at Fresno State, Washington, Alabama, Michigan and Florida as an offensive coordinator at quarterbacks coach at each spot.
A former quarterback for the Saints and Colts, the 47-year-old Nussmeier knows how to run an offense. If the Cowboys decided to hire internally, he would make the most sense.
For years there have been whispers that Jerry Jones would love to have Sean Payton as his head coach. Well, if he can’t have Payton, maybe snagging one of his top assistants would be a nice consolation prize.
Joe Lombardi has been the Saints’ quarterbacks coach since 2016, but outside of two seasons as the Lions’ offensive coordinator (2014-15), he’s been with Payton and New Orleans continuously since 2007. He became the team’s quarterbacks coach just before the 2009 season and helped Drew Brees lead the Saints to a win in Super Bowl XLIV.
The 47-year-old is also the grandson of Vince Lombardi, so his bloodlines aren’t too bad.