Dallas Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones promised things would get uncomfortable around their headquarters at Valley Ranch and for some it certainly has. Gone are defensive coordinator Rob (I’ll have another job in five minutes) Ryan, running backs coach Skip Peete, tight ends coach (and brother to head coach Jason Garrett) John Garrett, defensive line coach Brian Baker and special teams coach Joe DeCamillis. Yet to be determined is the status and future of receivers coach Jimmy Robinson.
There are new coaches in place for many of these positions, but seeing all these coaches come and go has appeared to be chaos at best. It would seem that the Cowboys are just acting (or reacting) without a plan. Despite what the sports media has to say about Jerry subordinating his head coach with all of these actions, they appear to have Garrett’s handprints all over them. For one thing, Garrett has always appeared to me to be very patient.
The deliberation that has gone into selecting the right coach for running backs, tight ends and possibly receivers certainly shows a lot of patience and is completely opposed to what we have seen from Jerry over the years. Jerry has always acted with more speed when he has been the one in charge of bringing in someone new. The thing that I have found a bit surprising is the secrecy surrounding who the new hires will be.
I guess we all have an idea, based on media speculation, but there have been no official announcements as of yet, despite how long it’s been since the media “broke” these stories. So, the question is, will the team eventually announce that these coaches have joined the Cowboys, or will it be someone else whose name has not appeared in connection with the Cowboys? After all, when Garrett was spending all of his time at the Senior Bowl interviewing candidates, there must have been more than one being interviewed for each open position.
And it’s not just the sports media, but the media in general, that are so eager to be the first one to break a story they run with it without confirming the facts. That’s why they have already told us that Derek Dooley will be the receivers or tight ends coach and that Sam Gash will coach running backs. None of these stories have been confirmed and may never be. As I said earlier, with as much time has passed since the stories were written, it could be someone completely different.
To put what I am saying into perspective, didn’t we read that Rob Ryan was going to be hired as the St. Louis Rams defensive coordinator to then read later that they were not going to hire him at all? As I inferred in my column last week, don’t let the media lead you by the nose, because they will likely lead you astray.
There has been a lot of speculation on Garrett’s job security. Obviously he needs the team to take a step forward during the 2013 season but, are all these changes an indication of lack of job security and control of his staff, or is it his way to ensure the team does take a step forward this coming season? In other words, is it a case of Garrett deciding that since it is his job on the line, it’s time for him to put his stamp on this team, rather than to go down in flames while still relying on coaches he inherited or that Jerry hired?
We don’t know the inner workings of this team and not knowing who the next coaching hires will be is a strong indication of that. But I do believe that things have changed at Valley Ranch and that Garrett is more in control of the situation than he has ever been. For all we know, Garrett might prefer to have someone else call the plays, but did not assign it to someone else before now, due to his manager’s insistence he call the plays. Who will call the plays is the subject of more speculation and I hope it’s answered soon.
There is fine line between going 8-8 and going to the Super Bowl. If not for the clock management issues at the end of the game, the Cowboys would likely have beaten the Baltimore Ravens. There were a few other games the Cowboys botched as well, that were the difference between going 8-8 and winning 10 or 11 games along with the division. Let’s hope that Garrett getting his kind of guys on the coaching staff, along with relinquishing play calling, is the difference that takes them where they (and all of us) want them to go in 2013.