Cowboys Fire Defensive Coordinator

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

The Dallas Cowboys fired defensive coordinator Brian Stewart on Friday after two seasons, the first big coaching move after the team limped to the finish line and missed the playoffs again.

More moves may come soon. Cowboys offensive coordinator Jason
Garrett remained among the finalists for the St. Louis Rams' head
coaching job.

The Cowboys began last season with Super Bowl expectations and
ended it with a blowout loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on the
final day of the regular season. Stewart is the second Dallas coach
let go; the Cowboys earlier this month replaced special teams coach
Bruce Read with Joe DeCamillis.

Stewart coached the San Diego Chargers' secondary for three
seasons before following coach Wade Phillips to the Cowboys.
Stewart also spent two seasons as a defensive assistant with the
Houston Texans.

Though Stewart had the title of defensive coordinator with the
Cowboys, his responsibilities were unclear. Phillips, a former
defensive coordinator, sometimes took over play-calling duties and
other times left it unclear who was making the defensive decisions.

The Cowboys gave up 22.8 points per game, which was 20th in the
league.

During what has become an annual December decline, the Cowboys
suffered a painful loss to the Baltimore Ravens in a game in which
Willis McGahee and Le'Ron McClain ripped off long, record runs each
time Dallas got close in the final minutes.

Still, all the Cowboys needed to do was beat the Eagles in the
final game and they would at least salvage a playoff berth.
Instead, they were stomped 44-6 and finished with a 9-7 record.

The Cowboys have lost nine consecutive season finales.

Before the Eagles loss, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was asked
about changes that might occur if Dallas failed to make the
playoffs again.

"Look, can y'all not understand statements?" Jones said. "The
coaching staff is in place. The coaching staff is in place. The
building is here. You want to ask the question, what if it blows
down?"

The Cowboys fired Read following a season in which his special
teams unit made several costly mistakes this past season, including
a blocked punt in overtime at Arizona that resulted in a
game-winning Cardinals touchdown. The Cowboys also finished last in
the NFC in average punt return yardage.


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