Five hours after saying the Cowboys “don’t anticipate any significant changes on our staff,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett backtracked. He said in his season-ending press conference Monday that he and the Cowboys front office have not met to discuss offensive coordinator Scott Linehan or any of the team’s other assistant coaches.
“We haven’t had any substantive conversations,” Garrett said. “Scott did an excellent job for us this year. Again, I don’t know how I answered that question this morning. Nothing has changed. Again, I was in and around player meetings. I feel very good about what Scott Linehan did for us. Feel very good what Rod Marinelli, Kris Richard have done, Keith O’Quinn and everybody on our staff. We’ll have conversations about everybody as we go over here the next few days, and we’ll make a lot of decisions to put the staff together, put our team together as we go.”
The Cowboys overturned their coaching staff after last season but kept coordinators Linehan and Marinelli. It was anticipated that the Cowboys would move on from Linehan this offseason after finishing 29th in red zone scoring, converting only 48 percent of their red zone possessions into touchdowns and 80 percent into points.
Garrett’s latest comments about Linehan’s future follow what executive vice president Stephen Jones said on 105.3 The Fan after Garrett’s radio appearance. Jones said it was “a little early” to be talking about staff and player changes.
“It’s still pretty immediate right now,” Garrett said in his press conference. “Obviously, we played the game on Saturday night. The order of business over the last two days, I’ve been in player interviews. We’ve probably interviewed 65 or so of our players, and that’s really been our focus. We’re going to have our first real staff meeting here when I get done with the press conference, and we’ll talk about all of that staff stuff. So we haven’t had any substantive conversations in regards to our staff at all. There are some guys who are out of contracts, and we’ll have to address those situations. One of the things that we always talk about is the makeup of the staff. A lot of the decisions impact the other decisions that you make. So we haven’t had any conversations about any of that stuff up this point. I feel really good about the job our staff did this year.”
Garrett was asked if he had final say on coaching changes. (Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, of course, famously hired Garrett for an unknown position in 2007 before the Cowboys hired Wade Phillips as head coach.)
“Like with everything, they’re all collaborative decisions,” Garrett said. “I do not own the team. Jerry Jones owns the team, so ultimately he has final say over everything we do here. But I do believe our relationship is very collaborative. I have a tremendous amount of faith and trust in him. I think hopefully he has the same for me. We talk about all the decisions we make — any player, any coach — and we come to conclusions that we both feel good about. And we’ll certainly do that with every decision we make this offseason like we’ve done over the last number of years.”
If the Cowboys do make a change at offensive coordinator, tight ends coach Doug Nussmeier could earn a promotion if they stay in house.