You can’t have it both ways, Cowboys fans.
You can’t wail that Jerry Jones is a puppet master, and scream that the addition of Scott Linehan as passing game coordinator makes for “too many cooks in the kitchen.” Hasn’t even been a week and already that phrase is aggravating.
Put another way, you can’t complain that too many coaches have input in the offense, and whine that Jerry doesn’t allow his staff the autonomy to make their own decisions. Either can be true; both can’t be true. If Jerry really is a puppet master, it doesn’t matter how many coaches he has on staff.
Still for many Cowboys observers, the Linehan hire is reason to complain. And if the Cowboys didn’t hire any new coaches, they’d complain the coaching staff didn’t change. And if the Cowboys fired all the coaches, they’d complain about a lack of organizational continuity. And if the Cowboys fired only some of their coaches, they’d complain the wrong ones were fired. Hey, Rob Ryan – am I right, or am I right?
It doesn’t matter what you do, Jerry. Folks will complain about it.
Think Callahan’s not needed because he’s no longer calling plays and the O line is in capable hands with assistant offensive line coach Frank Pollack? Think Callahan’s not wanted because Linehan was hired? Think Callahan doesn’t want to be in Dallas because his tender feelings were hurt?
Maybe keeping Callahan on staff is a mistake. Maybe the Cowboys haven’t fired him because his contract is guaranteed unless he resigns. Maybe they will fire him eventually; this story is only a few days old. Maybe they want him to stay because they think he’s a good coach.
The thing is, you don’t know if they’ll retain Callahan or let him go, and you don’t have any facts with which to formulate an opinion as to why they’d do either.
All you have is the assertion that puppet master Jerry runs a dysfunctional organization. That premise is the starting point for every opinion you form regarding every move the Cowboys make. And because you’ve traded your capacity for observation and reason for that conventional wisdom, you can’t see the truth of how smart this organization has become.
It was smart to hire Jason Garrett. A head coach’s chief organizational responsibility is culture, and Garrett replaced Wade Phillips’ culture of blasé entitlement with one of competition and accountability.
Show up to camp fat and slow, Andre Gurode? Take your four pro bowls down the road. Can’t cover a running back on a wheel route, Bruce Carter? Watch the rest of this game standing next to me. Can’t live up to your first-round pedigree, Morris Claiborne? You’re my new nickel corner, until I find one better.
It was smart not to trade out of the first round the past four years, instead using those picks to draft two eventual pro bowlers in Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith, and possibly a third in Travis Frederick. Who knows? It’s still early – in his third season, perhaps Claiborne pans out.
It was smart not to offer an expensive extension to a 31-year-old defensive tackle in the midst of an anomalous career year; it was smart to extend on the cheap an undrafted third-year safety who had just torn his Achilles, and would recover to lead all NFL defensive backs in tackles the next season.
It was smart not to deal draft picks for help along an injury-ravaged D line at this year’s trading deadline – mortgaging the franchise’s future for the possibility of short-term help.
This is an organization that values competition. This is an organization that hoards its draft assets. This is an organization that may have finally learned how to evaluate its own talent – knowing when to extend, and when to cut ties.
The NFC Champion Seattle Seahawks last won their division in 2007 with a 10-6 record, then went on to four straight losing seasons before going 11-5 in 2012. How did they do it? By bringing in a coach who created a culture of competition and accountability. By hoarding draft assets, and hitting on enough of them. By being ruthless in evaluating their own talent.
These Cowboys last won the NFC East in 2009, and have endured four straight non-winning seasons. 2014 is year five of their rebuild – the same year the ‘Hawks exploded into a contender. The Cowboys have rebuilt employing the same core fundamentals embraced by this year’s NFC champion. Smart.
Whatever they end up doing with Callahan, I’m ready to trust it.