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Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Cowboys' circus a tired act

By Todd Archer
ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas -- Tuesday was one of those "only with the Dallas Cowboys" days.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones implies offensive coordinator Bill Callahan will call plays in 2013. When Jones' comments are brought to Callahan not 25 minutes later, Callahan talks about the new responsibilities being an "honor."

"I'm flattered to be part of this and to take on the added responsibilities of calling the plays during the course of a game," Callahan said, holding a sandwich in one hand and a drink in the other.

And finally, the play-calling information is brought to coach Jason Garrett, who confirms nothing.

"We have a plan in place and continue to proceed," he said. "We just finished OTA Day 8 today, so that's what we're focused on and that's what we'll continue to focus on going forward. But we certainly have a plan. We've had a plan in place for some time."

It was all very Cowboys-ian.

Can there be any doubt as to why this franchise has won just one playoff game since 1996?

What happened Tuesday furthers the notion that Jones says and does what he wants no matter what it means for the head coach.

Yet Garrett does not believe Jones continues to threaten his authority inside the locker room.

Bill Callahan
Bill Callahan will take over play-calling duties from Jason Garrett this season.

Why?

"Because I know what I do each and every day in regards to the football team and I know how he and I work together and how this organization works and how well we work together and how well we communicate and how we come to decisions," Garrett said. "And then I know what I do when I get up in the morning when I come over here and I coach this football team."

They communicate well? At the Senior Bowl, Jones said he would like Garrett to give up the play-calling duties. Garrett said it's no big deal for him to continue to call plays. At the scouting combine, Jones said Garrett could continue to call plays. Garrett talked about working through the mechanics of the play calling.

And then there's the whole issue of Tony Romo's involvement with the offense. After Romo signed a six-year extension worth $108 million in March, Jones said Romo will spend "Peyton Manning time" with the coaches installing the offense and going through game plans. Garrett said there really is nothing different about Romo's involvement this year from previous seasons.

On Tuesday, Jones called it a "significant change in how much [Romo is] involved from the way it has been in the past."

As you can see, they communicate well.

At least Garrett and Callahan sounded as if they were on the same page when they discussed the collaboration it takes to put together a game plan.

"It's always been a team effort and will always be a team effort," Garrett said. "I think it's too difficult a job for one guy to say, 'Hey, I'm the playcaller. I put the whole playbook together, I put all the game plans together, I call the plays.' That's not the way we operate. That's not the way we have operated or will operate."

If it is a team effort and who calls the plays is not as important as what the plays are, Garrett just should have acknowledged Callahan's promotion.

Garrett did not do himself any favors by refusing to acknowledge Callahan's move to the role. Is he just being stubborn and holding out the hopes he will still call the plays? Is he just being stubborn to be stubborn?

The best part of Garrett's answer Tuesday is that he did not parrot his predecessor, Wade Phillips. When Phillips was presented with a question that began with "Jerry just said & " he would jokingly say, "Well, whatever Jerry says" -- which was the worst possible answer for a coach under an owner like Jones.

"I'm completely on board with all decisions we make," Garrett said. "We make collective decisions in this organization. We always have and we always will. There is no real advantage for us to reveal who's calling the plays explicitly and how we're going to do it in early June. It's just the way I feel about it."

One of the supposed pluses of Garrett's run as head coach is his ability to work with Jones. He knows how Jones works. He knows how to make things seem like Jones' idea when they weren't.

Maybe Garrett is on board with Callahan calling plays, but he's just sticking to his talking points as Jones once again swerves all over the road.

"Perception doesn't matter to me a whole lot," Garrett said. "Doing my job to the best of my ability matters the most."

But the owner hurts that ability far too often.