While it still seems likely offensive coordinator Bill Callahan will take over that role, Garrett never provided a direct answer to the question everyone wanted answered at his first press conference at Valley Ranch since season’s end: Who will be calling plays in 2013?
“We’re going to work through the mechanics of that here through the offseason,” Garrett said. “I don’t want to definitively say that one way or the other. Again, like I said, there’s been an evolution here of me trying to delegate a lot of responsibilities I had as an offensive coordinator as I became the head coach. So we’re trying to move in that direction.”
As they work through those mechanics, don’t expect a final announcement to be made any time soon.
Garrett said he’ll ultimately be the one to decide the play-caller in 2013. It’s possible he could make that decision before Organized Team Activities begin, but it’s also possible it could take even longer.
“We’ll probably play a preseason game in early August, and hopefully we’ll have it worked out by then,” Garrett said.
It’s likely the Cowboys’ staff and head coach have a better idea of which coach will assume the play-calling duties
than they’re letting on, but Garrett said people make too big a deal out of naming a play-caller, since all the coaches game plan together collectively.
Garrett answered more than 10 questions relating to play-calling without ever naming the next play-caller. Among the few definitive answers, Garrett clearly stated that the coaching staff is set and no new coach from the outside will be hired to fill the play-calling role, leaving further reason to believe Callahan may be calling plays.
“Bill and I have talked about different ways that we can do it,” Garrett said. “The way we have done things around here, candidly, is there’s been a primary play-caller, which has been me, but these have always been collective exercises, how you game plan, and the communication you have during the game, both in the run game and the pass game. Bill was very involved in the play-calling part with the run game this year. What we’re trying to do is work through the mechanics of that and as we get close to playing the game we can fill you in more specifically.”
Garrett said Callahan should have a comfort level with the offense and the players should have a comfort level with Callahan by now. As the ultimate decision-maker regarding the next play-caller, Garrett wants to make a choice that will put the players in the best situation to be successful.
Being the run game coordinator for a team that finished 31st in the league in rushing isn’t something Callahan envisioned, but it’s obvious Garrett respects the opinion and professional expertise of the former Raiders head coach.
“Bill wouldn’t be on the staff if we didn’t have shared values,” Garrett said. “My respect level for him as a person and as a coach is off the charts. He’s an outstanding football coach, and I think the biggest thing for me is the transition. He’s been with us for a year now. He understands what we’ve done on offense. He’s brought a lot of stuff to our offense.”
As Garrett stated, he’s slowly
delegated more and more offensive responsibilities to the rest of his staff in order to serve more as a head coach. He said the discussion regarding who should call plays has gone on for the last two and a half years since he became head coach after serving as the offensive coordinator.
“I’ve told you before I’ve never been a guy who has (said) come hell or high water, I’m the play caller,” Garrett said. “That’s not me.”
A couple of Garrett’s responses would lead one to believe he might want to hold onto the role of play-caller. He said over the last few years most of the best offenses around the league include a head coach calling the plays, but he still sees benefits to handing those duties over.
“A couple years ago, Sean Payton gave that responsibility to his offensive coordinator,” Garrett said. “There are a lot of responsibilities you have as a head coach. Ultimately, you’re the head coach of the football team, so you want to make sure you give the offense, defense and kicking game equal amount of time, equal amount of attention to address those things. And there are a ton of personnel issues that come up and a lot of other issues that you have.
“There are only 24 hours in day. You want to make sure you’re doing justice to everything as you go forward. I’ve tried to delegate a lot of the different coordinator responsibilities over the last couple of years just to alleviate that so I can pay more attention to the head coaching responsibilities that I do have.”