Should Cowboys Coach Jason Garrett Hire An Offensive Coordinator?

Nobody throws the red flag more elegantly than Jason Garrett, but he doesn't need to be OC to do that.

Pre-game shows on any of the networks are usually not the first places that spring to mind when I'm looking for in-depth analysis about NFL football. And I'm not a big fan of most of the 'personalities' that crowd the desks in those shows either, so I don't really pay close attention when those shows are on. Keeps me halfway sane and my blood pressure in check. Win-win for me.

But in Sunday's pregame show on FOX, the talk turned to Jason Garrett, and former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson let fly with this little nugget:

"He needs to become a head coach. It may be time to think [and here Jimmy raised his index finger ominously] not for this year but for next year: hire an offensive coordinator to call the plays - and be the head coach."

When coach Johnson talks about the Cowboys, I don't usually dismiss it out of hand. So is there really something to his statement?

After the break, we look at what Jerry Jones had to say on the matter and look at the actual filmed segment of that pre-game show (which unfortunately also contains the insufferable Terry Bradshaw mouthing off on Garrett because Bradshaw, predictably, doesn't like smart coaches).

Here's the video of the short segment, the part on Garrett starts at the 50-second mark.

In his weekly radio show on 105.3 The Fan, Jerry Jones Jones said he doesn't agree with Johnson:

"Jimmy was what I call a walk-around coach." Jones explained. "[Bill] Parcells was a walk-around coach. Joe Gibbs is a guy who believes that the head coach needs to be in charge of either the offense or the defense and needs to be the coordinator. It brings you stature, it involves you in the game and gives you more respect with the players.

It's different schools of thought. I've always thought that Jason Garrett could handle coordinating as well as being the head coach."

For once, Jerry Jones is being circumspect with his answer, and rightfully so. Publicly questioning your coach's play-calling ability by voicing the need for an OC is probably not in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys.

However, it is not a discussion without merit. Jason Garrett is not without his share of detractors, but on a macro level, it's probably no more and no less than other teams who have a .500 record or thereabouts.

There's no point in bringing in an OC at this stage of the season, but would the Cowboys be better served with a dedicated offensive coordinator? Perhaps Garrett is just biding his time until the right candidate is available. We've already speculated on the possibility of Norv Turner returning to Dallas, but the chances of that are next to none.

Another name that has popped up repeatedly in the past is Paul Chryst, the current offensive coordinator for the University of Wisconsin. Garrett and Chryst worked together when Chryst was an assistant coach and Garrett was the quarterback for the San Antonio Riders of the World League of American Football in 1991 and ’92. They have remained friends and stayed in contact ever since.

The Cowboys have failed twice in bringing Chryst to Dallas (imagine how the press would have field days with headlines like that :-). Their first try was in January 2007, when Garrett became the Cowboys offensive coordinator and tried to hire Chryst as quarterbacks coach. In early January this year, the Cowboys went after after Paul Chryst again. Perhaps the third time’s a charm. Or it could be another candidate entirely.

But regardless of which other names might pop up as potential candidates, should the Cowboys follow Jimmy Johnson's advice and hire an offensive coordinator?

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