The Dallas media’s odd obsession with the Cowboys’ offensive playbook took a turn for the weird this week as reporters and columnists began questioning whether head coach Jason Garrett should reclaim play-calling duties from offensive coordinator Bill Callahan. Yes, the big off season nonstory is now a very obnoxious bye-week nonstory.
It’s hard to imagine this is anything more than a ploy designed to generate web clicks during bye week. Followers of the team already endured an avalanche of play calling speculation (most of it wrong) during the preseason. The web traffic must have been electric, though, as those who control content have gone back to that well in a slow news week.
For us consumers of Cowboys news, scanning the web for answers after a 49-17 beat down in New Orleans, this manufactured storyline is akin to watching The Dukes of Hazzard 2 – the first one was pretty lame fellas; doesn’t anyone have a new idea?
To illustrate, back in June Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw correctly wrote, “Callahan isn’t coming here to introduce a new playbook. He’s a coach who was already here who was involved in the offense last year and now he’s going to call the plays with input from Garrett. That’s the extent of the change.”
Following the Saints loss, Cowlishaw got weird: “Even if no Lombardi Trophies were added to Jones’ office in Garrett’s six years as play caller here — both as coordinator and head coach — this team did move the football. And quite well.”
Not to single out Cowlishaw, who’s a fine columnist, but this is selective memory. No one, Cowlishaw included, would in their right mind trade this offense for any the team has had since 2007. Why? Because the point of this game isn’t to amass yards – it’s to find the end zone.
Remember how maddening it was to watch Dallas drive 85 yards to kick a 19-yard field goal? Anyone want to go back to that? In Garrett’s first two full seasons as head coach/play caller, Dallas ranked 20th in red zone TD scoring percentage, punching it in for six points barely 50 percent of the time they made it inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. This year, with Callahan calling the shots, the ‘Boys are second in the league behind only Denver at 67 percent red zone conversion.
Ah, but those stats are a dirty lie, because surely the Cowboys have fewer red zone opportunities this year since they can’t move the ball, right?