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Expect the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator hire to come within the organization

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This is Jason Garrett’s eighth season as head coach of the Cowboys. Here are some important facts about his tenure.
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This is Jason Garrett’s eighth season as head coach of the Cowboys. Here are some important facts about his tenure.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones likes one of the internal candidates to become the team’s next offensive coordinator.

Jones said the organization is “in no hurry” to make a decision, and used the word “flexibility” a number of times to describe the coaching situation for now.

Coach Jason Garrett could have an expanded role in play-calling, or could not. Jones said both possibilities are on the table.

“It could be more, or less. Either way,” Jones said from Senior Bowl practices on Tuesday. “But I’m comfortable with Jason Garrett. His involvement could be more or less, I emphasize both of them relative to what we’re doing with play-calling or what we’re doing offensively.”

Quarterbacks coach Kellen Moore is the leading candidate to become the offensive coordinator. Moore has spent just one season on the staff, but has made strong impressions in that short time.

Moore is a bright football mind, in the organization’s opinion, and is getting heavy consideration. Moore could handle play-calling duties, as well, although that wouldn’t be determined until the job is formally filled.

“Kellen is very unique to be as young as he is, fresh off of playing,” Jones said. “He’s really made quite a splash, quite an impression.”

Jones also mentioned tight ends coach Doug Nussmeier as a possibility. It doesn’t sound like the organization is giving strong consideration to running backs coach Gary Brown, who has coached three of the last five rushing leaders in the NFL.

“We’re very pleased with our staff. Gary has certainly done a great job with these backs,” executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “Three leading rushers and two of them were -- obviously they weren’t all Zeke [Elliott]. He did a great job with [DeMarco] Murray when he was here. So, lucky to have Gary. Certainly he’s in the mix, but what I don’t want to do is go through each one of them and handicap them, if you will, for coordinator.”

Expect the move to come from within nonetheless.

“I like the guys we’ve got in-house,” Jerry Jones said.

Jerry Jones added that he’ll value input from quarterback Dak Prescott “significantly” in any decision, much like he did with former quarterback Tony Romo on these matters.

The only coaching staff addition for now is bringing on former quarterback Jon Kitna. The Cowboys don’t know what his formal title will be yet, but like the idea that Kitna has spent time coaching at the high school level and should be another solid mentor for Prescott.

“High school is a very interesting place as to how it is impacting the game at the college and certainly at the pro level,” Jerry Jones said. “So he brings that. Obviously he’s real founded in his experience at that position and in the NFL. He’s a good combination to have input from right now in my mind from the Cowboys.”

Still, some may be skeptical that the Cowboys’ offense can improve significantly if they don’t go outside the organization for the coordinator job. But the Cowboys’ decision makers feel differently.

Stephen Jones feels a different voice and mindset such as Moore could make a difference. And Jerry Jones pointed to various schematic changes such as how they implement run/pass option plays with a new coordinator, even if it’s a familiar face.

“You obviously see it around the league with some of the young, talented coaches,” Stephen Jones said. “When they get opportunities, they run things a little differently than their proteges or the people they had a lot of respect for. But given the opportunity, they do things a different way. I think our young guys, not that they don’t have a tremendous amount of respect for Scott [Linehan], but given their opportunity to do things a little different.”

Added Jerry: “We’ve got a lot of flexibility in the duties on the coaching staff. I feel that we do. I know the attitude of our staff, they’re excited about our future, they’re excited about our players. And so this will be a very positive time. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves and learned a lot about the team this year. I want to emphasize again this staff was new and did come together in my mind as the season went along.”

As far as possible title changes on the defensive side of the staff, Jerry Jones refused to speculate. Kris Richard, the Cowboys’ defensive passing game coordinator and secondary coach, is viewed as a head coaching candidate. But it’s unclear if they’ll give him a promotion of some sort.

Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli made it known that he intends to return next season earlier this month.

“Right now I wouldn’t get succinct or specific about any of our staff’s specific responsibilities or duties,” Jerry Jones said. “We’ve got a lot of flexibility. I’m not avoiding anything. That’s what we’ve got the luxury of doing. We’ve got a great group of coaches under contract here and I’m excited about taking what we’ve done this year and building on it.”

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