Owner Jerry Jones said there is more urgency for coach Jason Garrett and the Cowboys to win in 2019
After 23 years without a Super Bowl title, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says he is desperate and hungry to win again.
Yet, Jones is not so desperate that he’ll fire himself as general manager.
And he wasn’t hungry enough to make a change at head coach with Jason Garrett.
Jones concedes that.
But he says they have made dramatic changes on the coaching staff over the last 12 months that included secondary coach Kris Richard taking over play-calling duties from defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli before the 2018 season and continued with the firing of offensive coordinator Scott Linehan in January.
The promotion of Kellen Moore to offensive coordinator and play-caller after just one year as quarterback coach represents meaningful change in the mind of Jones as the Cowboys are banking on youth and fresh ideas over experience.
He has mandated change in how the Cowboys do things and says Garrett is on board with it heading into what is a make-or-break season for him. Garrett is in the final year of his contract and is essentially coaching for his job in 2019.
“You’re not paying for experience here,” Jones said recently at the NFL Scouting Combine. “Having been there, done that. I’ve forgone that for fresh, new ideas that the people implementing them don’t know that they don’t work. That’s what I want. And I want that incorporated in a sound way to put the team on the field and execute on whichever side of the ball that we’re on. I want that. My job is to husband, making sure that every step of the way, right now and evaluating last year, looking at how we’re going to approach this year, OTAs all the way through, I’m going to witness changes. And that’s the emphasis. By the way, there’s no push back here. Jason is just as excited about this as you would want him to be.”
Jones said the Cowboys will be approaching everything in a different way, including a running game that has featured Ezekiel Elliott as the league’s leading rusher in two of the last three years.
There will be no more “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” attitudes on the Cowboys because change is the theme in hopes of getting past the divisional round of the playoffs for the first time in 23 years.
“You ask me how. So specifically, are we going to do different things in the passing game? The answer is yes,” Jones said. “Are we going to coordinate the running game with the passing game differently? Better? Hopefully, for the better. But yes. Yes, we are. Are we going to have more flexibility, are we going to be harder to guard? Yes. We will. We’re going to attempt to. That really is a theme. That’s a big-time theme here. OK? Just because it’s working, don’t hesitate to change it.”
Last season, the Cowboys promised that the offense would be more friendly to quarterback Dak Prescott with more college spread concepts to use his mobility. But that was shelved by Linehan, according to sources. Those expected changes are what Moore was put in place to do.
“One of the other things about Kellen that is positive is he is relatively young,” Garrett said. “He was a great college football player and he is close to the college game. If you follow the NFL, so many of the trends in the NFL are trickling up from high school football and from college football. I think Kellen has a good feel for those kinds of things and hopefully can help our offense.”
And Garrett is going to mentor Moore, 30, and put veteran coaches around him because he identifies with his situation.
Garrett was named the Cowboys offensive coordinator under head coach Wade Phillips in 2007 after one year as quarterback coach with the Miami Dolphins and two years after retiring from football.
He had a lot of good ideas but was thankful for the direction and push back at times given to him by a veteran staff that included offensive line coach Tony Sparano, running back coach Skip Peete, receivers coach Ray Sherman and quarterback coach Wade Wilson.
“The biggest thing I learned is that it is a collaborative process. You think about the guys we had in the room when I was the offensive coordinator in 2007; a lot of really good coaches. It was a collaborative effort. Those guys guided me in directions, maybe when I was going off course a little bit. I had a firm idea of what we wanted to be all about. But those guys helped that process. I do think we are going to try to create a similar dynamic with Kellen.
“We’ve got a lot of veteran coaches in that room he is going to benefit from being around, experienced guys who have done it before. I think the collaborative process will help our team play at the highest level.”
But it will be Moore calling the shots, representing the young and the change that a desperate Jones is mandating.
Change is the theme.