IRVING, Texas – Just four days after the season ended, we've already seen a flurry of activity from the Cowboys in preparing for the 2015 season.
Here are some questions I've been hearing in regard to coaching hires and impending free agents.
Were you surprised that Rod Marinelli stayed with the club?
I have to admit that I was surprised. When reports broke at the end of the season that he might be heading to Tampa, I thought that was the end of his run with the Cowboys. With Lovie Smith now with the Buccaneers, where Marinelli spent the majority of his NFL career and the friendships that he has there, it would have been very easy to pack things up and head down there to finish his career.
I think it says a lot about what he thinks of Jason Garrett and these players but also Jerry and Stephen Jones. What I have learned over the years from working for Jerry Jones is that he has a persuasive way of operating, especially when it is dealing with his football team. Marinelli had to like what he was hearing from Jones in regard to the direction he was going to work on this defense in the off season and that he would have a hand in it.
In the big picture aspect, it keeps the continuity of the defensive staff together but more importantly helps Will McClay and the personnel department as they continue to look for defensive players.
Do the Cowboys re-sign DeMarco Murray?
If this front office wanted to sign Murray, they would have done it either before the season or tried to extend him during the year -- and neither of those things happened. I have a feeling that their plan is to make an offer to Murray that they are willing to live with, and if he accepts that would be great. If not, then he could move on.
There also could be some thoughts that with the way that the league has devalued these running backs and their compensation that Murray would go out and not find the market to his liking and returns to the club where he feels is a better fit if he is not going to get a better deal. It's a long shot because Murray's pride might not allow him come back but that is the risk you take when you make the offer you make.
In what direction do you go at right tackle?
If I were working in this front office, I would be making a passionate plea to try and bring Doug Free back. What I saw in the last month of the season and into the playoffs is that this offense was clearly different without him in the lineup. I don't mean this as a shot to Parnell, because other than some mental mistakes he had in the Detroit game, he managed to hold his own.
The line as a whole just appeared to click better with Free in there, especially when it came to running the ball. His ability to work with Zack Martin and these tight ends created more opportunities for the ball to either get around the corner, or when the ball went left, there was a cut back lane coming back to the right for Murray is to use.
Doug Free is in the prime of his offensive lineman career, in my opinion, and to allow him to walk away I feel would be a mistake given how well this unit played the entire season. I understand if they re-sign Parnell due to the fact that he might be cheaper and younger, but I feel like the consistency of play at the position and the group would not be as good. Doug Free would insure that would not be an issue.