Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett might or might not be taking a step back as a play-caller. He has yet to make a final decision on that, although he appears to be leaning in the direction of turning the play-calling duties over to offensive coordinator Bill Callahan and become a walk-around head coach.
The latter seems more fitting for Garrett.
Instead of viewing the possible play-calling change as a step back, it’s more of a natural process for Garrett entering his third full season as head coach.
After 8-8 records the past two years and a 21-19 record since taking over midway through the 2010 season, Garrett knows his job is on the line in 2013.
He is confident the Cowboys are ready to take the next step and break through because he believes this is finally his team.
From a philosophical standpoint, from the players on the roster to the coaching staff and even the dreaded play-calling decision, it will all have Garrett’s stamp.
As he prepares for his third draft class, Garrett says his program is firmly in place with his type of guys and 2013 is a big year to take the next step.
"Absolutely, that’s why this draft is so critical," Garrett said Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings. "You want to be able to continue to add to the culture we’ve developed the last couple years, and a lot of the culture has to do with who you are as a head coach, who your staff is and what they represent. A lot of it has to do with the people you bring in, the players you bring in, and what they’re all about. We’ve tried to do a really good job of that. We feel good about how we’ve drafted, how we’ve kind of structured our football team, and the kinds of people we’re bringing in.”
Only 16 players, including just seven starters, are left on the roster from the team that Garrett took over in 2010.
"I think we’ve done a good job over the last couple years, like we talked earlier, transitioning our roster from a lot of older players to some younger players, still keep ourselves in competitive situations at the end of the year, having a chance to compete for the division," Garrett said. "We brought in some young players who can be the cornerstones for us going forward to add to the Tony Romos, the DeMarcus Wares, the Jason Ratliffs, Jason Wittens, those guys who have been big, significant players for us in the past. Now you think about Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, DeMarco Murray, all those guys.
“The identity we’ve established together gives us a chance going forward."
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is firmly behind Garrett and also believes in the direction of the team. He also made it clear during this “uncomfortable” off-season that Garrett needs to win.
The Cowboys missed out on the playoffs in each of the past two years because of losses in the final game.
"There is a lot of resolve here and not a lot of patience with where we are," Jones said.
While Garrett feels good about the direction of the Cowboys, he knows that past results aren’t good enough.
"We have a very urgent mentality over there. I’ve been in this league for a long time as a player and a coach; there isn’t a day I haven’t been urgent. That’s just the way this league is. It’s a competitive league, and anybody who wants to be successful in it, that sense of urgency is critical,” Garrett said. “You want to make good decisions. You want to create the right kind of culture. You want to create the right kind of identity for your football team. We’re in the process of doing that, and now it's a big year for us to step up and take the next step."