- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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Norv Turner returning to Valley Ranch to run the Dallas Cowboys' offense just made too much sense.
So of course it won’t happen.
Turner is on the verge of becoming Mike Zimmer’s offensive coordinator with the Minnesota Vikings, ESPN's Adam Schefter and Ben Goessling report. It’s a shame that Turner isn’t being reunited with Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, a pupil of Turner’s during the Cowboys’ glory days.
There’s no good reason for the Cowboys failing to make an attempt to bring back the best offensive coordinator in the franchise’s history. It’s silly to keep Bill Callahan around to call the plays for Garrett’s offense -- an odd fit anyway considering Callahan’s West Coast offense background -- instead of having one of the original architects of the offense fill that role.
Really, the Cowboys should have recruited Turner last offseason instead of essentially giving Callahan a promotion that he didn’t earn. One of the possible concerns at the time was that there would be an awkward dynamic with Turner working for Garrett, potentially blurring the lines of command and eroding Garrett’s respect in the locker room.
Let the irony of Jerry Jones worrying about blurred lines of command sink in for a moment.
Garrett somehow survived Jones’ infamously “uncomfortable” offseason a year ago without losing any dignity or respect from his players. If that’s the case, those critical intangibles certainly aren’t going to be harmed by hiring an incredibly qualified offensive coordinator who used to coach Garrett.
If you gave Garrett truth serum, here’s betting he’d tell you that he wanted Turner here to help an offense that ranked 16th in the league in yards last season, which is far too low for a unit with explosive weapons at the skill positions and a rebuilt offensive line that has become a strength for the Cowboys.
How much would Tony Romo have benefited from working with a playcaller whom Troy Aikman gives much of the credit for his success? How much better could Dez Bryant have been with an offensive coordinator who helped Michael Irvin set a bunch of franchise records and Cleveland’s Josh Gordon become the NFL’s receiving leader this season?
We’ll never know.
Garrett has wisely watched his mouth about potential staff changes, being intentionally vague immediately after the season and saying nothing publicly since. However, if he wanted Callahan to continue calling plays, it’s logical to believe he would have made that clear.
There were rumblings at Valley Ranch in the days after the season ended that Jones would allow Garrett to make the staff changes he thought best. Weeks later, that doesn’t appear to be the case.
If Jones doesn’t trust Garrett enough to choose his own coordinators, he should have just fired his head coach. Maybe then the Cowboys could have hired Zimmer, a former Dallas defensive coordinator who would have been on the short list of candidates, and made the no-brainer decision to bring Turner back to Valley Ranch.