Friday, February 14, 2014
10 offseason questions: Scott Linehan hire
By Calvin Watkins
The Dallas Cowboys have major decisions to handle regarding their franchise this offseason. Todd Archer and Calvin Watkins, along with some guests, answer some of biggest issues for the Cowboys this week.
Is Scott Linehan a good hire?
The Cowboys brought in Scott Linehan to take over play-calling duties from Bill Callahan, who remains on staff.
Calvin Watkins: No. While Linehan is a good offensive playcaller and did wonderful things in St. Louis and Detroit, he brings drama to the Cowboys. Bill Callahan was the playcaller last season and while he was just OK at his job, the Cowboys should have released him of his duties. Instead, the team offers that Callahan is an excellent offensive line coach, which he is. But the demotion has upset Callahan and he wants to go elsewhere, something the Cowboys won't allow. Two NFL teams wanted Callahan to interview for offensive play-calling positions, but Jerry Jones won't let him out of his contract. So, Callahan will stew, or rather put his differences aside and allow Linehan to take over. If the Linehan move doesn't work, expect a bulk of the coaching staff to look for jobs when the 2014 season ends.
Todd Archer: Yes, but I think it would be better if Bill Callahan wasn’t here. I like the fact that Linehan is aggressive as a playcaller. Or at least looks aggressive. I think Jason Garrett was too passive as was Callahan. They were unable to consistently come up with a design that beat double coverage for Dez Bryant or Jason Witten. Linehan has a pass-happy bent to him, but he had to with the Lions. I think he will have more tools at his disposal here, especially with DeMarco Murray. The last time he had a back like him was when he coached Steven Jackson with the St. Louis Rams and Jackson had a 1,500-yard season. The fact that he comes at Garrett’s request should mean that Garrett will not be looking over his shoulder during the games. He won’t be afraid. I’m going to make this request: Can we see a flea-flicker or some sort of trick play? Just one?
Jean-Jacques Taylor: Scott Linehan is a good hire because Bill Callahan was a poor playcaller and Garrett has proved he struggles with clock management when he calls plays. Linehan is a good friend of Garrett, so he'll trust the new passing game coordinator to run the offense as he sees fit without second-guessing every move. That said, Garrett will still have to come up with something on game day to make him feel like he's contributing since he won't be calling plays and Rod Marinelli will be handling the defense. Adding Linehan is also a good move because Callahan is an outstanding offensive line coach and he should be able to make the Cowboys' offensive line and run game even better if he doesn't have to spend time putting the game plan together each. Linehan has historically done a good job of getting the ball to his playmakers -- no matter what team he has coached. The Cowboys struggled to get the ball to Bryant because they didn't know how and to Murray because they didn't choose to do it. Linehan should solve each of those issues.