- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones wanted everybody to know Jason Garrett had the right to add Scott Linehan, demote Bill Callahan and Monte Kiffin, and promote Rod Marinelli.
In speaking with ESPN's Chris Mortensen, Jones said, "you just have to let your head coach have that latitude."
Well, it's about time. It should have happened before this with other coaches not named Johnson and Parcells. But the Cowboys don't need applause for allowing Garrett the right to make changes on the staff he felt necessary. Shouldn't that always be the case?
As I stated earlier in the week: Only with the Cowboys.
But if Garrett truly had his way then Callahan would not be back in 2014.
You don't need "sources" to tell you that. You need logic.
By bringing in Linehan, Garrett effectively told Callahan that he is not a good playcaller. We can go into the stats to back up Callahan or Garrett, but that has been done plenty of times already this offseason. I'm on record saying Garrett should have called them in 2013 and he should call them in 2014. I like the Linehan hiring because the Cowboys' passing game was stagnant last season. Tony Romo had five games in which he threw for 210 yards or less.
I don't view Linehan as a compromise candidate between owner and general manager Jerry Jones and Garrett. I view Linehan as a win for Garrett. A big win. If he wasn't going to call the plays, then his guy was going to call the plays.
When I asked Garrett the other day if he worried about Callahan being upset at losing the ability to call plays and being denied the chance to speak with other teams, he did not launch into a soliloquy about Callahan's chops as an offensive line coach.
"You make a lot of different decisions for the team and you do it always in the best interest of the team," Garrett said. "You're trying to put guys in roles where they will thrive and be best for the team and this is no different than that. Bill is a pro. Bill's been doing this a long time. He understands transition and change and all those things. He along with the rest of the staff will embrace this and hopefully as a team we'll be better."
In other words: "Suck it up, big fella, and do your job."
If you are looking for an unsung hero in the improvement of the Cowboys offensive line and run game in 2013, then look at assistant line coach Frank Pollack. He had more day-to-day control with them than Callahan. He had more game-day control of the group than Callahan. Callahan's duties of the playcaller during the week and during the game did not allow him to be involved as much, but the line and run game improved greatly from the previous year when he was completely involved with the line and run game.
The Cowboys are doing Callahan wrong by making him stay, but Stephen Jones told Mort that "we kept our promise that nobody was getting fired." Well, you don't have to fire Callahan. You can just let him leave. It's the same way you let John Garrett leave last year. He wasn't "fired" either. By the way, is it comforting to know that you can have the worst defense in the NFL and the worst in franchise history and not be fired?
Stephen Jones mentioned the Cowboys added payroll in adding Linehan to the staff. Well, if money was such a concern, then allowing Callahan to leave and join another team would free you up from most of his salary, which I'm told is a little less than $1 million annually.
Sure Garrett won this round, but it's like a win on a last-second field goal when it should have been a wire-to-wire blowout.
I guess the Cowboys made progress in allowing Garrett to mostly do what he wanted to do with his staff, but it is such a small step.