There certainly is a lot of cooks in the kitchen when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys and their offensive coaching staff. The Cowboys retained their offensive minded head coach, Jason Garrett as well as their offensive coordinator, Bill Callahan, after a lackluster 8-8 2013 season. To pile it on, owner and general manager, Jerry Jones, all but created a new coaching staff position when he hired Scott Linehan as his passing game coordinator for the upcoming 2014 campaign.
Scott Linehan has made stops with the Minnesota Vikings, Miami Dolphins, and Detroit Lions as an NFL coordinator with a brief head coaching stop with the St. Louis Rams. Based off of his coaching history, what should Cowboys fans expect out of Linehan this season?
Linehan has always had the pleasure of coaching some of the leagues best receivers. And, this year, he inherits another all-pro in wide receiver, Dez Bryant. Among Linehan’s best receivers are all-time greats such as Randy Moss, Calvin Johnson and assorted pro-bowlers such as Chris Chambers and Torry Holt.
In the first year under Linehan, Moss, Johnson, Chambers, and Holt averaged 1159.25 yards and 8.25 touchdowns, including a year where Calvin Johnson suffered nagging injuries and missed two games. These figures are slightly below Dez Bryant’s 2013 output– 1233 yards with 13 TD’s.
What about running the ball? Linehan may be the “passing game coordinator,” but he will be calling both running and passing plays for the ‘Boys this year. Cowboy’s running back, DeMarco Murray, amassed 1121 yards while only averaging 15.5 attempts a game last season. Cowboy fans who complained about Murray’s touches last year may have something to cheer about with the new play caller. Under Linehan, in his first year of calling plays, his teams ran the ball an average of 27.34 times a game– an extra 6 touches a game compared to last years Cowboys.
Yardage wise, at best Murray can be Steven Jackson– at worst he can be Kevin Smith. Linehan hasn’t always had the best running backs to coach. Although yardage totals under Linehan in his first year vary from 747-1,528 yards, Linehan’s teams average 4.48 yards per attempt in his first year– that’s par for the course compared to Dallas last season.
All in all, under Linehan, the Cowboys faithful can hope for a more balanced attack with a standout year by Bryant. However, with so many coaches to account for in the Cowboys offense, it’s hard to tell what the on field product will yield. Will Garrett and Callahan allow Linehan to be Linehan? Only time will tell.