The Dallas Cowboys ended their 2012 campaign this past Sunday night with a loss to the Washington Redskins with an average record of 8-8. This year’s team while competitive came up short of preseason expectations and is one of ten teams from the NFC not advancing to the postseason. While the defense had become compromised with all the injuries suffered, the offense for the most part had a relatively healthy season by NFL standards. Phil Costa barely played and DeMarco Murray missed significant time in the middle of the season, but the rest of the offense was able to dress for the most part.
Despite all of the injuries the defense sustained, it still kept the team in the games to the best of their ability, but it was the offense that seemed not able to pull their weight. The Cowboys were always playing from behind this year and had to let Romo try to get the team back into the game and come from behind in the final quarter. While the Cowboys ended up 6th in the NFL in total offense with 375 yds/gm, a closer look is a little more telling. The team was 3rd overall in passing with 296 yds/gm and 31st overall in the rushing with 79 yds/gm. By looking at the numbers, one would tend to notice that that one part of the offense is good, while the rushing attack seems to be lacking. At the same time, the passing numbers were poor if just looking at the first three quarters of the game.
Jerry Jones has long been a believer in Jason Garrett. After playing for the Cowboys from 1993-1999, Jones brought him back to the Cowboys organization in the role of offensive coordinator in 2007 after holding the position of quarterbacks coach for the Miami Dolphins in 2005 and 2006. Garrett’s name at this time was being mentioned more and more for other opportunities around the league, and Jerry Jones wanted to make sure that Garrett would be a Cowboy. In the 2007 season the team’s offense was 2nd overall in the league and Garrett’s profile became even brighter. In January 2008, Garrett interviewed and received head coaching offers from the Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens. Jones then proceeded to make Garrett the highest paid assistant coach in the NFL with a promise of the head coaching job when the time was right. Garrett who has great pride in being a Cowboy decided to stay with the organization. However, when looking back to the 2007 season that rose Garrett’s name to prominence, many have wondered was it truly Garrett’s offense. Some have wondered aloud that it was the offense of since departed Tony Sparano who had been brought to the Cowboys by Bill Parcells and was with the team from 2003-2007 and had play calling responsibilities prior to Garrett’s arrival in 2007.
Regardless of how the 2007’s team that went 13-3 offense was being dictated by, it clearly has not been an efficient offense in the years since. Norv Turner would be a great upgrade to the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff. While Jerry Jones likes what Garrett brings to the team in terms of leadership, Garrett’s play calling and game management skills have been questionable at best. Norv Turner coached with the Dallas Cowboys for three seasons (winning two Super Bowls in that span) as the offensive coordinator under Jimmy Johnson (1991-1993). Turner came in and created an offense that best utilized the talents of the personnel and turned around a unit that was dead last in total offense in 1990 to one that was ranked 9th in 1991, 4th in both 1992 and 1993. Instead of playing from behind like the Cowboy teams of recent seasons, Turner’s offense would get and play with the lead early on. In the second half, these teams would practice ball control and have long “clock-eating” drives to end the games and dominate time of possession.
Troy Aikman, who needs no introduction in these parts, has long called Turner the best offensive play caller he has ever known and believes he is the best in the NFL. With Turner having already held head coaching positions with the Washington Redskins, Oakland Raiders, and San Diego Chargers, he is becoming increasingly more known as an offensive coach instead of head coach. Much like what has happened to Wade Phillips; teams will bring Phillips in to fix the defense, but don’t want him to run the entire organization anymore. With this being the place Turner is at in his career, the relationship between Jimmy Johnson, Norv Turner, and Jason Garrett all being positive, and Jerry Jones desire to push the Cowboys into Super Bowl contention, this looks like a no-brainer. Turner will not be cheap, but the salary cap does not apply to coaches, and the Jones would be wise to bring the best caller around to his team that desperately needs it.
Follow Craig Cortemeglia on Twitter at @ccortemegliaTLH