When it comes to play-calling with the Dallas Cowboys, it seems coach Jason Garrett is now willing to relinquish that duty.
Owner Jerry Jones, speaking at the Senior Bowl workouts, said Garrett won't be calling plays next season for Dallas and the coach was the main influence behind the change.
“It’s not a step back for the Cowboys or a step back for him individually to change the way we basically are putting our game plan together or we’re calling the plays on the offensive side of the ball,” Jones said. “As you well know, differences of opinion, frankly, can be a step in a better direction.”
Offensive coordinator Bill Callahan will likely take over the play-calling duties.
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However, following through on his promise of change this off-season, Jones might go outside Valley Ranch and add another assistant with those duties.
“The reason I’m doing it and basically saying OK, ‘Let’s go differently,’ is because I think this will give us, with what we have in place right now, this will give us the best chance to get to the playoffs and be where we want to go immediately,” Jones said. “We’ve got, and are getting, coaches that will allow us in all phases of the game to have Jason’s skill and benefit, if we go in that direction, to be more focused on every aspect of the team.”
Garrett said at the Senior Bowl that he would be comfortable with Callahan handling the play-calling duties, and Jones said Callahan’s background would have a positive effect.
“If Bill Callahan has more influence – which let’s make that assumption for this answer – if he does, then you will see more of the things that have worked for him in his coaching career,” Jones said. “You expect that. That’ll be a plus for us.”
Jones said it would also allow Garrett to be a more effective game manager.
“In the case of being involved in the game, he’ll be able to make the decisions that he’s been making, that he’ll be able to do it with more focus on the overall game and the circumstances within the game,” he said. “The advantages of a walkaround head coach, one who doesn’t specifically spend every day making game plans and doing that, the advantages are that they can spend more time looking at the overall picture, not only on game day, but as we look throughout a week on a game week or as we look throughout a season.”
Garrett said he is more than willing to be a supervisory head coach and that he has never said “come hell or high water” he’d be the play-caller.
“That’s never been a mentality that I have,” he said. “The mentality I have is what’s best for our football team. At different times, we’ve had to make those decisions. We’ve concluded that it’s a good thing for us to do it the way we’ve been doing.”
Jones said he hired Garrett to be a play-caller as an offensive coordinator and insisted he continue to call plays when he was elevated to head coach.
But he was willing to rethink after two seasons out of the playoffs.
“I’m basically assessing the fact that after two-and-a-half seasons with Jason as head coach, we need to do some things differently,” Jones said. “We are not, and I know our fans are not, I’m not, Jason is not, we’re not at all satisfied with the fact that we’ve been 8-8 two seasons in a row when, given a different set of circumstances, we might have done better.”
In addition to evaluating players at the Senior Bowl, the Cowboys are also looking to hire more staff.
Jones said the Cowboys are working under no timetable to hire more coaches.