MOBILE, Ala. – It seems the Cowboys are one step closer to naming a new play-caller next season.
Owner Jerry Jones said he's always insisted on keeping Jason Garrett as the play-caller throughout Garrett's tenure as head coach, but he could see the positives of a switch and hinted that change could be coming soon. Jones didn't specifically state Bill Callahan would be the new play-caller, but all indications seem like that will be the case if a switch is made.
"Theoretically, when (Garrett) doesn't do as much of the offense as he's been doing, that means he's going to do more with the overall team," Jones said. "He has never felt that that wouldn't work (well) and possibly better. The insistence that he called the plays as well as be head coach was me."
Allowing Garrett to hand over the play-calling duties elsewhere would give him the opportunity to work in other areas of the team more extensively. Jones said Garrett's ability to focus more on every aspect of the team could be helpful.
"The advantages of a walk-around head coach, one that doesn't specifically spend every day making game plans, is he can spend more time looking at the overall picture, not only on game day, but for us as we look throughout the week on a game week or we look throughout the season when we're in the offseason right now," Jones said. "Jason's very involved, will be just as involved in who we draft, who we bring in in free agency."
Jones said Garrett's always been on board with making whatever change necessary at play-caller. Garrett also told reporters he would be comfortable and would welcome that switch, as well as the addition of Callahan in that role, though he didn't specifically say if or when that would happen.
Jones emphasized he's always wanted Garrett to be a head coach and play-caller, but he's also realized there's another way to do it. There are also various degrees of changes that could be made regarding the preparation of the game plan, implementation of the game plan and the specific duty of calling the plays.
"It's very likely that we'll have, with the way we're going to be structured, some additions to the philosophy in what we're doing offensively," Jones said. "Even though Bill Callahan, let's say, has been here one year, we'll have some new things. That's not out of plan there. That's not out of the possibility that we would have been doing it with him remaining, technically, where he's been in the past. We're talking degrees more than anything the way we look at it. Rest assured, this would not be being done if our head coach Jason Garrett wasn't absolutely all in."
Jones said Callahan could incorporate some elements of the old Raiders' offense he coordinated, if he becomes the play-caller. That could mean more of a West Coast style.
"If Bill Callahan has more influence, if he does, then you will see more of some of the things that have worked for him in his coaching career," Jones said. "You expect that, and that will be a plus for us."
Jones stressed that the direction of the team shouldn't be misinterpreted. He said the changes are a coordinated effort and are being built upon, and Garrett's a focal part of those decisions. He said the changes shouldn't be seen as a step back for Garrett, but a step forward.
He also said differences of opinion can ultimately lead to a step in a better direction. Jones thought the Cowboys would be in a different position right now after a couple seasons with Garrett at the helm, but the owner said Garrett's put things in place that the team can build off of. He said the team is keeping the good parts and moving on to improve the other parts, one of which appears to be at play-calling.
"If we make a change there, it will be more of a concession on my part to go forward with a different procedure as to how we put the offense out there," Jones said. "After two and a half seasons with Jason as head coach, we need to do some things differently. We are not, and I know our fans are not, but I'm not, Jason's not, we're not at all satisfied."