IRVING, Texas – It’s been one of the most widely-discussed questions of the Cowboys’ offseason, but it finally appears to be answered.
Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones hinted Tuesday after practice that the team had decided on an offensive playcaller for 2013 “weeks ago.” Though Jones declined to confirm who, the widely-held assumption that the job would fall to offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Bill Callahan turned out to be the right one.
Callahan confirmed for reporters following Tuesday’s OTAs that he would be taking over playcalling duties this coming season, though Cowboys coach Jason Garrett would still play a role in the process.
“I’m really honored and I’m flattered to be a part of this and to take on the additional responsibilities of calling the plays during the course of the game,” Callahan said.
Despite that confirmation, Callahan stressed the collaborative nature of the playcalling process.
“The essence of any playcaller across the league is to gather information and data from everybody that’s involved in decision making, and everybody is involved,” he said. “Of course the buck will stop at a certain point, but everybody has that responsibility of implementing their thoughts or giving their ideas.”
Garrett agreed with the importance of collaboration, but he was much less forthcoming with information about his offense’s setup at his Tuesday press conference, opting instead to focus on the task of finishing OTAs. Callahan said Garrett’s input is still something that will factor heavily into the offensive gameplan.
“Jason has placed a lot of trust in the staff and what we’re doing,” said Callahan, who has not assumed playcalling duties since his tenure as Nebraska’s head coach. “Again, he’s still involved in the aspect of gameplanning … and rightfully so. He’s the head coach – this is his expertise, this is his offensive system.”
The issue came about to begin with during an impromptu press conference Jones conducted with reporters following practice. He wouldn’t confirm a specific playcaller, but Jones’ wording was enough to give the correct impression.
“I’m not assuming anything, and I don’t want to say,” Jones said. “But the big deal is if you’ve been looking at practice, you can get a pretty good idea of how it’s going out there and you can see Bill getting very involved in what we’re doing out there.”
The revelation that his team had decided on a playcaller wasn’t one that Garrett appeared willing to discuss during his press conference, opting instead for his preferred reticence.
“We certainly have a plan – we’ve had a plan in place for a long time. I don’t want to get much into that right now,” he said.
This raises an obvious question about the nature of the relationship between general manager and coach in the Valley Ranch facility – an easy talking point given Jones’ willingness to discuss topics Garrett deems private.
Garrett, for his part, downplayed those concerns toward the tail end of afternoon media availability. The fourth-year coach said his relationship with Jones is a good one, emphasizing that outside opinion doesn’t hold much sway on his focus on the job.
“Perception doesn’t matter to me a whole lot. Doing my job to the best of my availability matters the most,” Garrett said.
He added: “(Jones is) an outstanding owner because he cares a great deal about this football team and making the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys great. And when you’re in an environment like that, working for a guy like that, the pedal is down, and that’s a good thing.”
Asked if the pair had differing opinion on how to release information, however, Garrett had to smile.
“I think you can draw your own conclusions,” he said.