Even though Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett rose to his current job by calling his own plays, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said it wasn’t a demotion to have those duties taken away.
Jones said earlier today that Garrett will no longer call plays, with every indication that offensive coordinator/line coach Bill Callahan would take over those duties.
“It’s not a step back for Jason. It’s actually a step forward for Jason in my mind,” Jones said, via Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News. “Make no mistake about it, when I hired Jason to come into the organization as a coach he was hired specifically for his skills for his abilities to call the plays. When he became the head coach, it was at my insistence that he continue to call the plays. It was not at Jason’s insistence.
“It is not a step back for the Cowboys or a step back individually for him to change the way we basically are putting our game plan together or are calling the plays on the offensive side of the ball. As you well know, differences in opinion can frankly be a step in a better direction.”
Prior to Jones talking, Garrett himself said he was open to changes, also indicating that Callahan was the guy.
“I’ve never been a guy where it’s been hell or high water that I’m going to call the plays,” Garrett said. “I’ve been on teams where it’s worked a lot of different ways. This idea that there’s no way you can call plays and handle the game situations, . . . we’ve come back in a lot of games and handled game situations really well and sometimes we haven’t handled them as well.
“It’s my responsibility and I have to make sure we do it better. Watch the games. Coaches who don’t call the plays don’t have the corner on handling game situations the right way. But having said that, that’s an added responsibility that you have during games that you have to manage and work through.”
Jones can spin it any way he likes, and Garrett can smile and nod and play along and collect a handsome salary. After all, play-calling was the thing Garrett was good at, and the reason he got the job to begin with. There have been times he looked lost handling in-game situations, although he drew high marks for his handling of the Josh Brent situation late in the year.
Still, it’s hard to view it as anything but Jones cutting the legs out from under Garrett (especially with Garrett’s brother leaving for and/or being nudged to a lateral move), and the precursor to the eventual next move Jones makes with his head coach.