Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Jerry silently accepts fault for 2013 failures
By Tim MacMahon
If actions speak louder than words, Jerry Jones has accepted the lion's share of the accountability for the Dallas Cowboys' failures in 2013.
It might have required a lot of convincing from head coach Jason Garrett, but the fact of the matter is that the moves announced Tuesday night were about attempting to clean up the mess created by the owner/general manager during Jones' infamously "uncomfortable" offseason a year ago.
Bill Callahan was a poor fit as a playcaller in Garrett's system. Monte Kiffin is no longer a competent NFL defensive coordinator, much less an elite one as he was back in the day with Tampa Bay. Their authority has been stripped with a couple of the most politely phrased demotions in recent NFL history.
Garrett got to pick his playcaller, bringing in good buddy Scott Linehan, whose offensive philosophy is much more in line with the head coach's. He has a defensive coordinator who has proven he could be effective this decade with Rod Marinelli's promotion.
It's a bit puzzling to force Callahan to stay at Valley Ranch as the least powerful offensive coordinator in the NFL, perhaps even welcoming dysfunction on the coaching staff. Kiffin's title of assistant head coach/defense is amusing, but it at least makes sense for him to serve as a trusted advisor to his loyal, longtime lieutenant Marinelli.
So the staff's construction isn't perfect, but the compromises represent a major offseason win for Garrett.
For Garrett's sake, the Cowboys better follow the moves with the first winning season of his tenure as head coach.
Whether Jones verbalizes it or not, the blame for 2013 falls at his feet first. He created the perception that his head coach was a puppet and got nothing but another 8-8 season to show for it.
Garrett, who always managed to maintain his dignity and respect in the locker room, showed some serious backbone by fighting for the changes he felt were necessary. Good for Garrett.
It shouldn't be considered a significant development for a head coach to be able to make the staff changes he thinks are best for his team, but that's life at Valley Ranch. It's newsworthy any time the GM with bulletproof job security gets out of the way.
Garrett, the only person quoted in the Cowboys' Tuesday evening press release, got what he wanted. They better result in a winning record. Odds are his job is riding on it, although most thought the same thing at this point last year.
After all the dust cleared, however, Jones basically took the blame for 2013. Garrett got to keep his job and had some power restored. It's on a temporary basis at this point, but Garrett will gladly take it.
And Garrett will take the fall if these changes don't work. If 2013 is on the GM, the head coach's "Armageddon year" has officially begun.