When the Cowboys 2012 season reached its conclusion this past winter, there were numerous issues that contributed to another 8-8 finish and missing out on the playoffs. Some of the issues that were causing problems have at least been addressed (premium draft pick on the offensive line and a durable running back prospect) while others as we are coming up on Memorial Day Weekend still have not been. Over the next few weeks, I will produce a series that will list some of these items, and dig a little into each of them.
The first issue that still remains unsolved at this time is “who will have play-calling responsibilities on game day”? As recently as this week, Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett have yet to come out and give any clarity on this situation. This is truly a sad thing for the team and fans in general. When the season ended, Jerry Jones came out and stated that it would be “uncomfortable” within the Cowboys organization and those that worked for the team this off-season. After a few weeks of rhetoric coming from Jerry, some action finally took place.
Jones actions of making things uncomfortable were to relieve the defensive coaching staff and hand pick a new staff to replace the outgoing one. Jones also went on and brought in Rich Bisacia as new special teams coordinator. Finally, Jones acted to remove John Garret (Jason’s older brother; tight ends coach and passing game coordinator) to continue the theme of “uncomfortablility” for Jason.
With Jerry personally making these substantial changes to Garrett’s staff, it looks as if Jason drew a line and said to Jones “you can change everything around me, but the one thing I won’t let you take from me are my play calling duties”. With over three months having passed since these moves have been made, no clarity has been brought to this situation still. There have been reports it may be a shared responsibility between Garrett, Bill Callahan, and Tony Romo. There have also been reports that it will get settled during training camp.
Regardless, the unfortunate thing is that no new voices/ideas were brought in. The same offensive brain trust that did a poor job with play calling in 2012 will be responsible for the 2013 season as well. With options (Norv Turner and others) being available for the team to bring into this role, the Cowboys stood pat again. While I respect Garrett as a “leader of men” and head football coach, I long have been dis satisfied with his ability to call plays. While Jones loves Garrett’s Princeton pedigree and his ties as a former Cowboy, I think Garrett’s future in the team will hang in the balance with his play calling this season.
The team finished 8-8 again, and the only reason they had that average level of success was due to Romo calling the plays in the fourth quarter when the team was in catch-up mode. Garrett’s poor play calling would prevent the team from putting points on the board, and then (and only then) once the team was down two or three touchdowns would Garrett let Romo freelance and call his own stuff. Now that the defensive staff has been made up now of former Tampa Bay defensive coaches, there are two prominent former head coaches with Tampa Bay roots that could very well be coaching in Dallas for the 2014 season. Jon Gruden and Lovie Smith would both love to coach the Cowboys, and if Garrett can’t get it right, he may very well have to follow his brother John out the door just one year later.
Follow Craig Cortemeglia on Twitter at @ccortemegliaTLH