Thursday, January 19, 2012
Jason Garrett discusses play calling
By Calvin Watkins
IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Thursday afternoon he can see himself giving up the offensive play calling duties in the future. But it won't happen in 2012.
During a late afternoon news conference to introduce new secondary coach Jerome Henderson and offensive line coach/offensive coordinator Bill Callahan, Garrett said the head coaching position changes from year-to-year.
"Absolutely, absolutely," Garrett said when asked if he will one day give up play calling. "I think you just get to a point where, 'Hey, I'm going to turn that over to somebody else,' and you've seen that around the league at different times and that's just part of the process that we'll go through."
The Cowboys have finished in the top 10 in total offense three times since Garrett took over, with their lowest finish coming in 2008 at 13th. In the 2011 season, the Cowboys finished 11th overall averaging 375.5 yards per game.
For the first time since joining the Cowboys in 2007, Garrett will not have the title of offensive coordinator. That goes to Callahan, who is a former head coach with the Oakland Raiders and the University of Nebraska. In the last four seasons with the New York Jets, Callahan was the offensive line coach/assistant head coach.
Callahan earned praise for the development of several young offensive linemen including Nick Mangold, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Matt Slauson and Vladimir Ducasse.
Callahan will help in the development of the offense if needed, but it's Callahan's main job to take over an offensive line that had numerous injuries and inconsistency during the 2011 season.
"I'll say this about titles in the National Football League -- everybody is into titles and I think titles are great for organizations for structure," Callahan said. "(Garrett) will be the play caller and my job as the assistant coach, coordinator, however you want to deem it, is to serve the head coach and help the organization the best that I can."
Callahan's experience -- he will enter 2012 as a 14-year coaching veteran -- should also help Garrett on game days. Garrett was criticized for his failure to manage the game clock at the end of a loss to Arizona, which resulted in him icing his kicker Dan Bailey. Garrett apologized to his team for his mistake.
Garrett said at no point during the 2011 season did he think of giving up his play-calling duties.
"I think that would have been disruptive to our team," Garrett said. "I think it's important to be consistent through the good times and some of the times where you struggle a little bit and you certainly want to make change when things don't go well. We feel like the way we want to progress going forward (is) just keeping the structure in place the way it's been."
Garrett did say he will rely on Callahan, much like he does most of the coaching staff. But the future could mean a change in what Garrett does on the sidelines in terms of calling the offensive plays.
"I think that's something that will evolve and that probably evolves for a lot of head coaches as they grow into their role more and more as they assemble the staffs around them," Garrett said.
"So again our starting points will be how it's been in the past both in terms of how we set it up in the offseason each week and during the game but I have a tremendous amount of confidence in him and his role will be significant and we'll see how the whole thing evolves."
Calvin Watkins covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com.