Dark horse Cowboys HC candidate earned the job before Dallas choked vs Packers

Nov 19, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans (left) and offensive
Nov 19, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans (left) and offensive / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

There was always a possibility that the Dallas Cowboys would need a new head coach after the season. The hope was that Mike McCarthy would lead the Cowboys to at least the NFC Championship Game after they guaranteed themselves at least two home playoff games. That would've ensured McCarthy another year as head coach with maybe a contract extension to boot.

Since the Cowboys couldn't even survive the second week of January, though, there's mounting speculation that McCarthy's job is in danger. How could it not be? The Cowboys weren't even competitive against a 9-8 Packers team largely composed of first- and second-year players.

While we all wait for the verdict on McCarthy's future, Cowboys fans have wasted no time narrowing down their preferred candidates to replace McCarthy.

While the stars are seemingly aligning for Bill Belichick to reunite with old friend Jerry Jones, a dark horse candidate to be the Cowboys next coach has emerged during the NFL playoffs: Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik.

Cowboys should hire Texans OC Bobby Slowik if they fire Mike McCarthy

Hiring the young, innovative offensive mind doesn't align with how Jerry Jones conducts his business. The Joneses are more attracted to resumes, which brought them to McCarthy and explains why they're reportedly eyeing Belichick and would potentially consider a Mike Vrabel or Jim Harbaugh.

However, Slowik has put on a show in his first year as Texans offensive coordinator. It helps he's working with an ascending superstar at quarterback in rookie C.J. Stroud, but Slowik's offense ran circles around the Browns' vaunted defense in the Wild Card Round on Saturday. That defense is why numerous analysts picked Cleveland to upset Houston. Injuries notwithstanding, Slowik had them chasing shadows.

Even better is the fact Slowik hails from the Kyle Shanahan coaching tree. Sunday's loss to the Packers served as another reminder that the Cowboys have zero answers for Shanahan-inspired offenses. Slowik was on the same Washington staff in 2012 that produced Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay, Matt LaFleur and Mike McDaniel, who might be the five-best play-callers in the game today.

Slowik traveled with Shanahan to the 49ers in 2017 and eventually was promoted to passing game specialist in 2021 and passing game coordinator in 2022. From there, Slowik went to Houston to be DeMeco Ryans' offensive coordinator.

It's too early to say is Slowik is the next great offensive mind from the Shanahan tree, but the branches have produced nothing but home runs thus far. Slowik might just be next in line in that regard.

If the Cowboys were smart, they'd consider Slowik as McCarthy's replacement instead of Belichick. It's long overdue that they dip their toes into the Shanahan coaching tree that's given them fits in big games for years.

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