INDIANAPOLIS – The biggest question concerning the Cowboys’ coaching staff these days hasn’t been cleared up yet. And it probably won’t be for a few months.
Head coach Jason Garrett didn’t have that answer last week or Thursday when he talked to the media at the scouting combine. Owner/GM Jerry Jones didn’t have an answer either when he talked Saturday.
In fact, Jones said he doesn’t have a real preference anymore.
That’s basically the only change Jones said he made regarding the play-calling situation. As it stands now, offensive coordinator Bill Callahan will have a larger role in the offense this year and that means he could call the plays in 2013.
Jones clarified his stance, stating he has never told Garrett he won’t be calling the plays and wanted to make sure the word “demotion” was not used in this process.
“It’s just no longer a preference of mine,” Jones said of the head coaching calling the plays. “When he was made head coach, I did express a preference he continued to be coordinator and thought that was the best way to go. But then I backed off of it – not demoted – but I backed off of saying it was my preference. And there was no push back there.”
So why the change in Jones’ preference?
“A thing called 8-8 two years in a row,” Jones said. “I have changed my mind because of 8-8. When you’ve had two years the way we’ve had, it’ll make you change a few things.”
Jones met with former Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs many years ago and said Gibbs told him it was advantageous for the head coach to be a coordinator and call plays on one side of the ball.
“Years ago I spent some time with Joe asking him to give me his advice on putting a staff together and he shared with me that my preference is to have the head coach be one of the coordinators,” Jones said. “I listened to that and I accepted that logic and thought it was good logic. Chan Gailey, Barry was not, but after Barry, that far back is when I talked to Joe Gibbs, so Chan Gailey was a coordinator. Campo was not the coordinator, but was inches removed from being the defensive coordinator. We made Zimmer the defensive coordinator. Of course, Bill was no the quote unquote coordinator but had a big finger, inordinately so, in all phases.”
Wade Phillips then became head coach and defensive coordinator and Garrett has done the same the last two years.
Jones said Garrett was “certainly receptive” when he told him to make the decision on calling the plays.
“He could very easily have come right back to me and said, ‘I have looked at this thing and I am going to call the plays on gameday’, or ‘I am going to let Bill call the plays on gameday,’” Jones said of Garrett. “That’s what’s being worked on. That’s exactly what is being worked on. Whatever he comes up with is the way we are going to go. I am good either way he goes, absolutely. Let me unequivocally answer that. So whatever he comes up with, all I have stated is that it is no longer a prerequisite of mine him being the play-caller.”