Another case of 'Only with the Cowboys'

January, 27, 2014
Jan 27
11:15
AM ET
IRVING, Texas -- So many times I’ve been able to answer questions about the Dallas Cowboys with four simple words: Only with the Cowboys.

So many things happen with the Cowboys that just don’t happen with other teams in the NFL. Just one example: The owner and general manager answers questions in the locker room after every game, which is great for the media and fans but sometimes creates headaches.

The latest installment is the team's pondering the addition of Scott Linehan as a passing game coordinator complete with play-calling duties.

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UPDATE: A source tells ESPN's Chris Mortensen the deal is indeed done. Linehan was at Valley Ranch in meetings on Monday with the assistant coaches. When word of the Cowboys’ interest in Linehan got out, a source told Calvin Watkins that Bill Callahan, who called the plays in 2013, was not keen on the idea.

Clearly, this was a move Jason Garrett wanted.

He and Linehan are good friends. They worked together in 2005 with the Miami Dolphins. They share similar philosophies. They run similar systems.

There was tension between Garrett and Callahan during the season -- which is not always a bad thing, by the way -- but especially when Garrett started to relay the plays from Callahan to the quarterback, either Tony Romo or Kyle Orton. Garrett maintained Callahan called all of the plays. There are those at Valley Ranch who believe otherwise.

Quick aside: If all Garrett did was relay the plays, then he is as culpable as Callahan for not taking the pass-tag off the play in which Romo was intercepted late in the Green Bay game. Garrett should have taken the tag off himself, seeing that, you know, he is the head coach.

But why rehash old wounds at this point? Let’s stick to the new one.

At the Senior Bowl, Jones said Callahan and Monte Kiffin are under contract and would return in 2014. A day later, Garrett said the same but added that roles could be different.

That was followed by the news of the Linehan discussions.

Now we know why no major decisions have been made regarding the coaching staff with the offseason about to turn one-month old.

Only with the Cowboys.

There was a thought last season that the Cowboys had too many cooks in the kitchen when it came to the offense. Remember, this was still Garrett’s offense. But Romo was given more involvement in game plans. Callahan brought his twists to the scheme, as well, especially the running game.

On paper, the numbers look nice with the Cowboys averaging 27.4 points per game, Romo passing for 31 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions, and DeMarco Murray rushing for 1,000 yards and being named to the Pro Bowl with Tyron Smith, Jason Witten and Dez Bryant.

But numbers can lie. Romo had five games in which he threw for 210 yards or less. In games he started and finished, he had just 10 contests like that since taking over as the starter in 2006.

Take away the 48 points they scored against the Denver Broncos and did this offense ever seem like it was rolling? Not really.

So now one of the possible solutions is to add another cook to a crowded kitchen. In what world does this make sense? Linehan will bring in his own ideas, different than Garrett’s, different than Callahan’s and different than Romo’s.

Coaches like to talk about the importance of chemistry on a roster. What about on a coaching staff? What about on the same side of the ball on a coaching staff?

Only with the Cowboys.

Garrett is entering a win-or-else season with his contract up after 2014. If he wants Linehan to come on board and call plays, then Jones should allow it. It was Jones’ idea to have Callahan call plays and Kiffin coordinate the defense and it got the Cowboys the same 8-8 record.

If Callahan does not like it, then he can either pout or leave. If he pouts, then that wouldn’t be good for the staff, which wouldn’t be good for the players, which wouldn’t be good for Jones, which wouldn’t be good for the fans who still believe this team is capable of not only making the playoffs, but winning a game or two in them. If he leaves, then the Cowboys can name Frank Pollack the offensive line coach.

But this is a decision Jones needs to make.

Right now, all the Cowboys seem to be trying to do is make everybody happy, from which all they would get at best is a fake smile from all those involved.

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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