Some speculation to pass on about the team's "mystery interviews"
I just read this whole thing before posting, and sorry for the length. Those of you who aren’t turned off by the length may be turned off by the content. But hey, it’s a long offseason ahead.
I heard this a few weeks ago, amid the rumors that the team was quietly reaching out beyond the organization for possible new blood in the football side of things, but didn’t pass it on. After hearing Jones’ comments about “Change will come” today, I started thinking about it again, so decided to post this. If you decide to bomb me, at least spell my name right. ☺
So I heard the same thing as others mentioned – that the team was conducting some quiet conversations. I think this was around the time of the Cincinnati game or so. Nothing new there, I just heard it, supposedly coming from inside the organization. Take that with the usual grain of "I have insider info" salt.
BUT, here’s the second part. This part is total speculation, just someone connecting the dots, and in no way was represented as coming from anyone associated with the team. I didn't remember reading this angle here at the time, and it made some sense, so here ya go:
The scenario described was this: They weren’t necessarily “interviewing” for the head coaching spot. And it wasn’t necessarily from the pro ranks. The name that got tossed out (and have I mentioned that this part was totally unconfirmed speculation?) was Nick Saban. The idea was to bring someone in, maybe in a similar role to what Dan Reeves was rumored to be offered awhile back. Not necessarily as GM (I still can’t see Jerry doing that unless he was VERY desperate), but as a mentor to Garrett, to give input about college personnel, and as another football mind to pick. So somewhere between sort-of unofficial GM and advisor/consultant.
This made some sense, from several points of view.
1) There were stories floating around earlier in the season that Saban was burned out and tired of the pressure to keep reaching the ridiculously high bar he had set at Alabama. Saban’s wife was quoted as talking about the extreme pressure, that he wasn’t having fun anymore, etc. He's in his early sixties and has accomplished about everything you can possibly accomplish in college. He quickly squashed that (what else would he do?) But if he’s ready to step down from the pressure cooker, semi-retire but stay in football, this wouldn’t be a bad choice for him.
2) Garrett and Saban are close, and Garrett has credited Saban for helping form his ideas about the whole process thing and his approach to building a team.
3) Jerry is aware that he needs something, partly from a football perspective and partly from a business/marketing/pr perspective, to regain some local fan interest that has shown some signs of weakening, with lower local ratings. He’s got a stadium to fill, ratings to rebuild, public perception to change, a buzz to recreate.
4) Saban would bring the same kind of strengths that Jimmy did, especially a very intimate knowledge of the college personnel coming into the draft for the next 3-4 years. He recruited or coached against the best, like Jimmy did, and his record at Alabama has demonstrated a pretty good eye for talent.
Now, I don’t know if they reached out to him. IF they did, I have no special knowledge what he might have said... it could have been a polite but firm “No Thank You”. But I suspect that there was something to the rumors that they made some contacts, and if I was Jerry and didn’t want to replace Garrett, but wanted both a good football mind and mentor in the organization and wanted a big buzz hire, I’d quietly contact Saban in a heartbeat if I thought there was a snowball’s chance that he’d be interested.
So the idea has intrigued me. If not Saban, then someone else that would either help Garrett, or help in some GM duties, or both. Garrett likes and trusts and respects Saban, so I think that he would represent less of a threat than some others might. Hearing the “change is coming” talk from Jerry, I could see some kind of scenario like this happening. In fact, I’m all but expecting something like this - maybe or probably not Saban, that’d be a dream too good to come true for the organization in my opinion, but some move like this.
I think Garrett will be back for at least another year (and yes, I’m in the camp that he SHOULD be back for another year), and I just can’t see Romo going anywhere (and yes, I’m in the camp that he SHOULDN’T go anywhere). So bringing in a good football mind that Garrett would be on board with is an intriguing idea.
And once again, the Saban thing is speculation, I'm not even pretending to have any inside info. It was just too enticing an idea not to throw it out here.