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Spagnola: Listen Up Before Conclusion-Jumping


FRISCO, Texas – Let's just see.


Let's just wait maybe a day or two, an OTA practice or five, maybe even a series or 10, a game or four, before passing judgment on yesterday's move on the Cowboys coaching staff.

Either way, hailing it as some bold move on the offensive side of the ball by making changes to the staff or panning the move fearing the these will amount to no more than the same.

The rude assumption since the head coach still is Jason Garrett.

Hey, not even the instant know-it-alls out there don't know it all or just how this is going to play out, promoting Kellen Moore from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator, naming interim offensive line coach Marc Colombo _the_ offensive line coach and bringing in former backup quarterback Jon Kitna as the quarterbacks coach.

And with regards to Cowboys former head coach Wade Phillips, who is advancing to Sunday's Super Bowl matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots as the Rams' defensive coordinator, let's borrow one of his favorite phrases from his three-and-a-half seasons with the Cowboys:

Listening is a skill.

Gosh almighty, he's right. Too many listen to only what they want to hear. Too many only side with whatever supports their own opinion, highly dismissive of any sort of counter thoughts. Far too many just have their ears clogged.

So thought this was quite instructive the other day when Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was making the mistake of listening to far too much talk radio while driving in his car, causing him to pick up the Bat Phone to try to set the record straight with the guys on his flagship radio station, 105.3 The Fan.

First of all, when addressing the impending changes to the offensive staff that really hadn't been that secretive for the past couple of weeks, Jerry said, "A lot of these guys with fresh ideas, they're going to be implemented. We want them. I was talking to them today, Colombo and Kellen.… I want their ideas. I want their preference. I want them to yell. I want them to lay in front of the train. I want them to do everything to get it implemented in what we're doing offensively.

"I'll assure that will be the way that we handle it. It will be a collaborative effort."

In other words, he's not looking for puppets. He's not looking for the same ol', same ol', and while he didn't mention his name, that includes Kitna, too, a 14-year veteran NFL quarterback who has done his coaching internship the past seven years as a high school head coach.

Then came the rejoinder that you needed to hear if you hadn't already, going out of his way to point out Garrett's now eight years of head coaching experience puts the Cowboys in position to lean on younger, less experienced assistant coaches.

"We've got a coach that basically now has a lot of experience – we want to benefit from it," Jones said. "(Garrett) is a great safety net for everything that we're going to do with a young staff like we've got.

"I think we're in an ideal position."

Now, Jerry didn't say anything disparaging about his head coach. He didn't deliver some ultimatum on Garrett, as most have assumed. That if the Cowboys don't advance to at least the NFC Championship Game in 2019 in the final year of Jason's contract, then he's a goner. Nor has he confirmed what everyone's sources are saying – funny how everyone seems to find a source on a story once the first person sources a story – that Garrett will not receive a contract extension, that he wants this thing to play out.

Then the next graph points out how Jason went through the same scenario in 2014 after his first three 8-8 seasons, working on the final year of his original contract, and voila, the Cowboys went 12-4, as if that pressure or something was the great elixir for Garrett producing his first winning season, first NFC East title and first playoff victory. And why his contract was renewed for five more years.

Then after that, so conveniently, it's pointed out that the next season the Cowboys fell to 4-12, as if no longer fearing losing your job was the reason. This while failing to point out the problems at quarterback that year when hopscotching from the injured Tony Romo to backup Brandon Weeden to making the ill-fated trade for a washed-up Matt Cassel to washing their hands with him and giving the final two starts to Moore.

Hey, you guys know Jerry. Until those words come out of his mouth, and certainly he doesn't have some great governor on his opinions, don't assume you know what he's thinking. Believe he issued same warning more than a week ago from the Senior Bowl with something like, "Until I say it …"

Look, Colombo earned his job after being promoted in the second half of this past season. Those guys up front responded to him. Kitna's quarterback experience will highly benefit Dak Prescott.

And as for Moore becoming the offensive coordinator, I'm told unless something changes, sounds like the first-time, 29-year-old coordinator will be calling plays on game day, with Jason involved in game plans and listening close on the headsets – just as he has been doing with Scott Linehan these past two seasons when the two had some game-day disconnects.

Who knows, with everyone now looking for the next Sean McVay, the Cowboys might have found one right under their noses. Remember, coaching is in Kellen's genes. His dad, Tom, was a highly successful high school head football coach in Prosser, Wash., winning a state championship. His grandfather, Bert Moore, was a highly decorated high school head basketball coach in suburban Chicago.

Why, Kellen's dad let him call plays during his senior year at Prosser. And ran across this quote from former Boise State linebacker Darrell Arcey back in December of 2010, addressing Kellen's knowledge: "It's crazy how much he knows about the game." That back when the Boise guys would regularly refer to the quarterback who went 50-3 in college after a 36-4 high school career – and remember, as an undersized, supposedly weak-armed quarterback ­ – as the "football nerd."

So my guess is Dak wasn't just offering lip-service from the Super Bowl when he said of Kellen, "He's obviously one of these young genius phenoms in the game. Just what he knows."

Hey, we hear you. Hear all of ya'll.

If, that is, we're willing to listen.

Appreciate ya, Wade. And oh, might want to get some pressure on Tom Brady, or else.