Dallas Cowboys

Jason Garrett can be mum about staff changes for now, but his future is at a crossroad

Kris Richard calls Cowboys a first-class organization, says there was no guarantee he would have left for a head coaching job

Kris Richard calls Cowboys a first-class organization, says there was no guarantee he would have left for a head coaching job
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Kris Richard calls Cowboys a first-class organization, says there was no guarantee he would have left for a head coaching job

Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett declined to talk about the impending changes to his coaching staff at the Pro Bowl this week.

Nothing is decided and he doesn’t want to add fuel to the fire until it’s all resolved.

Per a source, a final decision on staff changes should come next week.

Quarterbacks coach Kellen Moore is expected to be promoted to offensive coordinator. Former backup quarterback Jon Kitna, who has already been hired, will likely take his old position. Left to be determined is whether Moore will fly solo as the play caller or whether Garrett will handle those duties partly or solely for the first time since 2013.

Let’s tiptoe around the issue, for now — at least, until it’s all made official.

Garrett actually hasn’t commented on the coaching staff since declaring there would no staff changes on Monday after the season-ending loss to the Los Angeles Rams in NFC Divisional playoffs before backtracking after push back from the front office and then firing offensive coordinator Scott Linehan four days later.

So it’s likely best that he be quiet.

But what can’t be hushed is that this decision is the final crossroad for Garrett’s coaching tenure in Dallas.

He is entering the final year of his contract.

Per a source, there have been no talks of an extension — despite what one of the best coaching jobs of his career, taking the Cowboys that started 3-5 to a 10-6 finish, an NFC East title and a wild-card playoff win.

At the end of the end of the day, the Cowboys were still no step closer to reaching the Super Bowl than any of the other 23 previous seasons since their last Super Bowl title in 1995.

A year after replacing the quarterback coach, the tight end coach, the offensive line coach and the receivers coach, Garrett fired Linehan. And that’s not even including the offensive line coach fired at midseason.

If things don’t work out in 2019, the coach who will be replaced is Garrett.

Even owner Jerry Jones won’t be able to save him. And probably won’t want to with fiery secondary coach Kris Richard on staff and a viable replacement option.

Garrett will be entering his ninth full season as head coach. He has three division titles and two playoff wins on his resume.

The Cowboys are a decidedly young team and seemingly committed to the futures of quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott, receiver Amari Cooper, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence and young linebacker corps of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch.

There have been open talks of contracts extensions for Prescott, Elliott, Cooper and Lawrence and the team management is hoping to find a solution to accommodate them all.

Yet, with Garrett, it’s been silent so far, just like he wants to be with the coaching moves.

Could the Cowboys extend Garrett after the coaching decisions on finalize?

Maybe, but why is that necessary if you are promoting from within?

And certainly, the decision to look inside the organization for help on offense to an unproven coach one year into the profession rather than going outside doesn’t speak to an exhaustive process.

No one doubts Moore’s ability to develop a game plan but no one knows what he’s got when the opening script runs out.

And will he truly be bringing something different to the table, different from Linehan and different from Garrett’s core offensive principles?

In the end, none of it matters.

It’s Garrett who is at the crossroads with this decision.

A year from now, either we will be speaking loudly about his future or talking in hushed tones about the final coaching change of his career in Dallas.

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Clarence E. Hill Jr. has covered the Dallas Cowboys as a beat writer/columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 1997. That includes just two playoff wins, six coaches and countless controversies from the demise of the dynasty teams of the 1990s through the rollercoaster years of the Tony Romo era until Jason Garrett’s process Cowboys.