Thoughts on Cowboys' play-calling thing

June, 11, 2013
6/11/13
5:10
PM ET

All right. Everybody happy now? A week after sloppy messaging was the focus and all anyone wanted to talk about was Jerry Jones undermining his coach again, Jason Garrett admitted Tuesday that Bill Callahan has taken over offensive play-calling duties for the Dallas Cowboys. Per Todd Archer from Day 1 of minicamp:
Garrett said Callahan will most likely work up in the coaches' booth during games and not on the sidelines.

Garrett said the move will free him up for game-management decisions as well as help his ability to oversee the entire team.

"Probably 27 or 28 teams in the league do it that way; that's the way we're doing to," Garrett said. "We were a little bit unique. There are a handful of teams that have had the head coach be the acting offensive coordinator and calling plays. They happened to be some of the best offenses, so there was always that argument that we made, 'Some of the best guys do it this way,' and so we had that tug and really have had that tug for the last couple of years. We finally decided this was the best way to do it."

The story says this has been the plan since January, which means Garrett's to blame for the flowering of the perception that he opposed the decision. If he didn't, then why not get out in front and control the messaging while he had the chance? Bad play by him, and he seemed to admit that Tuesday.

In the end, I still think this helps Garrett rather than hurt him, as it relieves him of an aspect of his job at which he did not excel. Garrett has proven adept, since becoming a head coach, at managing his locker room, setting the right tone for the team and delivering a consistent message into which his players have bought. He struggled at times with the in-game play-calling, mainly with the speed necessary for the decisions, and I think the fact that they're giving that to Callahan and moving him upstairs to do it tells you this has more to do with evolving the way the team is run than it does with Jones taking away a toy Garrett liked.

Garrett and Callahan are tied together in this. If the 2013 Cowboys flop, everybody assumes Garrett will be out, but I think along with that you have to assume Callahan would be out as well. It's in their best interests to do what they can to make the new arrangement work, and Garrett remains the head coach. If Callahan's not calling what Garrett wants, as head coach Garrett can surely overrule him and likely would, either during the game or more likely in the making of the game plan for the following week.

Things can come off as clownish in Dallas because the GM is the owner and therefore not accountable for anyone for the decisions he makes or the manner in which he makes them. But I think people are often looking for something that's not always there. These kinds of decisions happen with other teams, and maybe more smoothly, but it's in Garrett's interest that the offense run better in 2013. This could help, and I think it could also help him be a better head coach.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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