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Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Callahan would be best of bad situation for Jason Garrett

By Todd Archer



IRVING, Texas -- Just a few days after the Dallas Cowboys' season ended, it was clear that Jason Garrett's days as a play-caller were going to come to an end.

When we talked to Garrett the day after the regular-season finale, the coach said he anticipated the status quo when it came to the calling of plays in 2013. The next day on KRLD-FM, owner and general Jerry Jones said everything was up for discussion and then Garrett told the station he would be open to giving up the duties.

Funny how that stuff works, isn't it? Remember when Garrett said the team would look at other kick returners early in the season only to be followed the next day by Jones saying Felix Jones would remain the kick returner? Well, what do you know, Felix Jones remained the kick returner. It's the same sort of deal here, and it's a reminder that this is and will always be the Jerry Jones Show, especially if coaches don't win.

He was happy to stand to the side for a few years when Bill Parcells came on board but then got itchy. And when the team didn't win a playoff game in Parcells' four seasons, Jones did not try to talk Parcells out of retirement. It gave Jones the chance to say, "Hey, I tried it your way and it didn't work, so we're going back to my way."

Garrett had two full seasons to do it his way, so to speak, and produced a 16-16 record. Now Jones is showing he's in charge.

Which is why Bill Callahan looks to be the next play-caller if you want to read between the lines on Jones' comments from the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

Yes, the move would neuter Garrett, to a degree, but it'd actually be the best of a worst-case scenario for Garrett.

Should the Cowboys go outside the Valley Ranch surroundings for a new play-caller -- someone like Norv Turner, Pete Carmichael or Hue Jackson -- Garrett would be further muted as head coach.

Garrett would have had no say over the offense if an outsider had come on board.

Turner would've run the same offense, but he would've been all-powerful when it came to the game-day specifics. With Carmichael or Jackson -- or any other coach outside the building -- Garrett would not have had the background in the new offense.

And if the Cowboys want to go that route, then Jones just needs to put an end to the Garrett Era.

If Callahan is the choice, Garrett will be able to keep his thumbprint on the offense. The plays will largely be the same the Cowboys have run since Garrett joined the team in 2007. Callahan was not in the passing game meetings last year; Garrett ran those. Callahan does not have the depth of knowledge in Garrett's passing game as he does in a West Coast scheme. And they will not be making a seismic shift to the West Coast offense with Tony Romo as the quarterback.

If they do that and make a seismic shift on defense from a 3-4 scheme to a 4-3 scheme, then this team will not compete in 2013. It might not be able to compete anyway, but two gigantic changes would make Garrett's job even more impossible.

With Callahan calling plays, Garrett could be in Callahan's ear and offer suggestions that can be viewed as commands.

When Sean Payton and Tony Sparano called plays for the Cowboys, they ran Parcells' offense. Parcells did not let either coach go off on their own when it came to calling the plays. He kept a strong hand on top of them -- which some of you might remember more as a bad thing than a good thing -- and would intervene at times.

Jones will attempt to spin the move as a positive for Garrett, but it's not. Would Jones the general manager be happy if somebody came in to make the draft decisions? Of course not. And that will never happen, as we all know.

But, for Garrett, the move to Callahan would give him some chance to maintain a sliver of offensive control.

It would be up to him to use it as he sees fits, but I can't imagine he would just goes quietly into that good night during the week and during the games.