Owner Jerry Jones didn’t sound like a man who feels the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff needs major turnover.
Jones voiced his support of coach Jason Garrett and also backed offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli returning for the 2018 season during his 105.3 The Fan radio show Tuesday.
Instead, Jones said changes to the staff will come more at the assistant coaching level. Several assistants are on expiring contracts including quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson, wide receivers coach Derek Dooley, running backs coach Gary Brown, secondary coach Joe Baker and linebackers coach Matt Eberflus.
As far as the top of the coaching staff is concerned, Jones reiterated his support of Garrett.
“It’s not even a thought for me. I like the fact that we’ve invested several years of Jason evolving in this profession,” Jones said.
Jones said he wanted Linehan and Marinelli to return. Garrett said he has not made any determinations about his staff, but had positive things to say about his two coordinators.
“Obviously both those guys have been really good at their jobs for a long time in this league,” Garrett said at his season-ending news conference. “They’ve provided very good leadership for us on either side of the ball and we’ve been productive in those areas since those guys have been here. Always room for improvement. We have to get better. Each unit has to get better. We get that. We understand that and we’ll continue to try and do that.”
Linehan has been the coach under most scrutiny after the offense took a step back this season.
The Cowboys had the 14th-ranked offense – both in yards and scoring – compared to the fifth-ranked in each category a season ago.
The Cowboys struggled to adjust when star running back Ezekiel Elliott started serving his six-game suspension. The offense failed to produce at least 10 points in three consecutive games, the worst stretch of futility in franchise history.
Several players had down years, too, particularly among the receiving corps.
Dez Bryant went a third consecutive season without 1,000 yards and failed to produce a single 100-yard game; Terrance Williams had no touchdown receptions for the first time in his career and had a career-low in receiving yards (568); and Cole Beasley saw his production more than cut in half.
Defensively, the Cowboys struggled at times. The Cowboys lost two games despite scoring 30 points in each early in the season.
But the defense has consistently improved under Marinelli since he became defensive coordinator in 2014.
They had the 19th-ranked defense in 2014; the 17th in 2015; the 14th in 2016; and finished eighth this season. This season marked the first time the Cowboys have had a top-10 defense since 2009.
Marinelli, 68, expressed interest in coaching what would be his 45th year in the game next season, and his players defended his scheme and coaching after the season. Linebacker Sean Lee referred to him as a “Hall of Fame coach.”
The same can be said for Linehan, who had the full support of quarterback Dak Prescott and others after the finale.
Now, both have the support of the most important person in the organization – Jones.