The initial report from ESPN’s Chris Mortensen was accurate, on both counts. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was stripping play-calling duties from coach Jason Garrett, and Jones was nudging Jason’s brother out of the building — a rare instance of resistance to the nepotism that has become commonplace in the NFL.
But the ultimate decision to let the man with the title of offensive coordinator fully coordinate the offense wasn’t as automatic and natural as it would seem when Jones gave the reins to Bill Callahan.
As we’d heard throughout the process, the Cowboys were looking beyond the building — and Garrett wasn’t happy about that. The external candidates included, among others, former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt.
But Garrett didn’t want an outsider who had been a former head coach, and Garrett was adamant that his system be used, even if he no longer would be running it.
While it appears that Jones and Garrett ultimately found a compromise, there’s a lingering sense that Jones tried to setup a showdown with Garrett that would result in an impasse between the two men that resulted in a severance of their relationship. It could be that Garrett has opted not to give Jones the satisfaction of pushing Garrett out. It could be that Garrett fears that if he quits and claims he was essentially fired he won’t be able to obtain a buyout.
Regardless, Garrett has both been emasculated and placed on notice. And with so many members of Jon Gruden’s former coaching staffs now firmly in place, the speculation will persist that, eventually, Gruden will be coaching the Cowboys.