- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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Whether Jason Garrett likes it or not, someone else could be calling plays for the Cowboys next season.
That’s perfectly logical, considering the Cowboys have been consistently mediocre as a scoring offense during Garrett’s tenure as the play-caller. The Cowboys ranked 15th in scoring offense this season, the fourth time in five years they fell between 14th and 18th.
Really, Jerry Jones is late to realize that Garrett could probably be a better head coach if he delegated play-calling duties. At least Jerry seems to be getting over his silly notion that a “walkaround” head coach can’t win, which always seemed bizarre considering the head coaches who hoisted Lombardi Trophies during his tenure didn’t call plays.
This should all be considered encouraging, as long as Jerry doesn’t try to recruit Norv Turner to Valley Ranch.
This is probably a moot point anyway -- with Turner indicating to the San Diego Union-Tribune earlier this week that he didn’t see the Cowboys as a fit for his next stop -- but adding the architect of the Dallas dynasty’s offense would simply increase the dysfunction in an already dysfunctional power structure.
Garrett already has to deal with the unique challenge of working for an owner who prides himself in being the face of the franchise and has a history of allowing players to go over the head coach’s head to him.
With all due respect to Turner’s offensive genius (just don’t look at this season’s Chargers for evidence of it), it’d do Garrett absolutely no good to have an assistant coach on his staff could be perceived as his superior.
It’d be a challenge for Garrett to maintain his authority in the locker room if he’s stripped of his play-calling duties after making a stand on the subject during his Monday end-of-season press conference. Jerry hasn’t helped by continually claiming that a head coach needs to call plays to earn that authority in the locker room, only to suddenly consider reversing field on the issue after the Cowboys’ second consecutive 8-8 season.
However, it’s very much a manageable situation if Garrett gives that responsibility to offensive coordinator Bill Callahan, a proven play-caller already on staff. In fact, that should have happened when Callahan, who called plays for an explosive offense on a Super Bowl team in Oakland, was hired last offseason.
The addition of Turner would essentially strip Garrett of all of his authority in the locker room. It’d be human nature for players to perceive Turner, who almost was hired to be Garrett’s boss in 2007 before Wade Phillips got the gig, to be at least Garrett’s equal and his probable replacement if the season didn’t go as planned. That’d be a problem.
Plus, do you really think Turner would want to work for a guy whose football diapers he used to change when Garrett was a third-string quarterback scrapping to keep his roster spot? How awkward would it be for Garrett to have a mentor of his supposedly reporting to him?
The speculation about Turner’s return to Valley Ranch conjures up wonderful memories of the Cowboys’ dynasty days. But that’s the past. Adding Turner to this staff would simply add to Garrett’s pile of problems in the present.