Cowboys bracing for personnel losses; Ireland first to go as Miami GM Print
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Wednesday, 02 January 2008 14:58
NFL Headline News

 IRVING, Texas (AP) -The Dallas Cowboys started paying the price for success Wednesday with scouting director Jeff Ireland leaving to become the general manager of the Miami Dolphins.
Owner Jerry Jones had the chance to squash the move but didn't, partly because he appreciated the Dolphins allowing him to hire Jason Garrett away from them last offseason.
The twist is that Garrett, the offensive coordinator, might be the next one out of town - unless he's beaten out the door by assistant head coach Tony Sparano, who could also end up in Miami with Ireland and another familiar face, former Cowboys coach Bill Parcells.
Parcells is the executive vice president of football operations for the Dolphins, a title lofty enough that Jones could've argued Parcells is essentially the GM, thus making Ireland's new job not much different than his current one. If so, it wouldn't be the promotion needed to leave one organization for another.
``I don't want to and didn't want to do that,'' Jones said. ``This is a great opportunity for Jeff. It is, frankly, a good opportunity for us. I want people to see that if they come here and if they've got a good opportunity they can advance.''
Jones, who doubles as Dallas' GM, said he wouldn't change the structure of the Cowboys front office to try keeping Ireland or anyone else.
``I'm going to make the ultimate decision on the coaches and the players,'' he said.
The Cowboys may not even replace Ireland.
Jones said Ireland ``actually kind of had more of a broad view,'' overseeing the college and pro scouting departments. Now, the head of each unit will be in charge. That's Tom Ciskowski for the colleges and Brian Gaine for the pro level.
``We won't add anybody for the draft, as I see it right now,'' Jones said. ``We'll go with the people we got.''
Jones said the Dolphins don't have to give any draft picks or other compensation to the Cowboys for hiring Ireland, just like Dallas didn't have to give Miami anything for hiring Garrett. They did clear up one key sticking point: The draft preparations that Jones paid Ireland to compile, and the secrets he doesn't want the Dolphins to know.
``We've got that worked out to my satisfaction,'' Jones said. ``That was a concern, but it's not a concern any more.''
A more immediate concern might be Dallas' coaching staff - specifically, whether some guys might be thinking more about their next job and not about the next game.
Garrett and Sparano are interviewing Friday for the vacancy in Atlanta. Baltimore might call one or both, too, while the Dolphins could have an opening by then if Parcells - and Ireland - decide to dump coach Cam Cameron after going 1-15.
Assistant coaches are allowed to talk this weekend because Dallas has a bye. If the Cowboys keep winning, they can't interview again until the bye week before the Super Bowl.
``I know Jason and Tony are not going to let it bother them in our preparation to win this next ballgame one bit,'' coach Wade Phillips said.
Phillips said he thinks the league's interviewing format is fair.
``I've been there where we went to the Super Bowl and didn't even get interviewed,'' he said. ``I think it's a good way to do it.''
Jones has been through this kind of talent raid before, back in the mid-1990s when the Cowboys were winning Super Bowls. Now Dallas is 13-3 and the No. 1 seed in the NFC, so clubs are again interested in the people who made it happen.
``I don't worry about it at all,'' Jones said. ``I'm fully aware that if we do a good job around here that we're going to have other clubs come after our personnel, on and off the field.''
 

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