The biggest winners in the Dallas Cowboys’ decision to hire Scott Linehan as passing game coordinator and play-caller are likely to be quarterback Tony Romo and receiver Dez Bryant, according to owner Jerry Jones.
One year after being given Peyton Manning-like input into the offense, Romo is expected to be even more involved under Linehan, the former Detroit Lions offensive coordinator.
“Yes. He’ll have more [power],” Jones said of Romo. “How and where and what it has to do with depends on how comfortable he is. ... He was absolutely ecstatic over us getting Linehan. He had serious discussions with Detroit’s quarterback [Matthew Stafford] and got a great feel for Linehan’s imagination and what Linehan does to maximize skills in the individual players.”
Although the Cowboys were attracted to Linehan because of his prior relationship with coach Jason Garrett and his offense, Linehan not only brings a change in style but also a change in terminology.
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“Linehan gives us a complete real change of our offense with our terminology,” Jones said. “Although [Garrett and Linehan] have been together coaching, you can’t see a lot of what we’ve been [doing] in what they did up in Detroit. He’s got a track record of really zeroing in and building the offense around the talent, the specific talent and the qualities of the players.”
Despite Bryant being the team’s most dynamic weapon — with back-to-back seasons of more than 92 catches and 1,200 yards, and catching 25 touchdowns the past two years — there were times when he disappeared from the offense for long stretches.
Jones said that won’t happen with Linehan, pointing to his use of Pro Bowl receiver Calvin Johnson in Detroit and specifically his 14-catch, 329-yard, performance against the Cowboys last season.
“Look hard at how he maximized Johnson’s skills,” Jones said. “They designed stuff to take advantage of Johnson getting there. We’re not going to give any coach credit for Johnson, [but maybe] that’s not really the way it should be.”
Jones said Linehan has made the most of his assets passing and running dating to his days in Minnesota with Randy Moss and Robert Smith, both All-Pro players.
“He really does make adjustments to the personnel that are dictated by the scheme and the philosophy,” Jones said. “... He’s a proven imaginative coach, relative to using his talent, their particular skills.”