For the record, the Dallas Cowboys have on their current coaching staff a head coach, an assistant head coach -defense, an offensive coordinator, a defensive coordinator, and a passing game coordinator. At least to the outsider, the team has not addressed the issue of who is really in charge of what. It is a situation where the potential exists to create controversy and confusion about who is really in charge on the sidelines. Former Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith addressed his view on the situation recently in a phone interview with Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News.
"Me personally, I think there’s too many cooks in the kitchen. You got an offensive coordinator in Jason Garrett, you got Linehan and you also have Bill Callahan. You have three guys that have been head coaches in some cases and offensive coordinators in a lot of different places. The question for me is how is all that going to jell together? Who is going to trump who? I just think it creates problems. There’s no clear direction there. - Emmitt Smith
Emmitt also took the opportunity to expand on his views regarding how he sees the current coaching structure in Dallas when he sat down with Blogging The Boys own K D Drummond. The Hall of Fame RB stressed how he felt that focus and clarity played a key role in the success experienced by the '90's Cowboys.
It is completely different than what I'm accustomed to... when I played, Norv Turner was our offensive coordinator and there was no question about it. Hudson Houck was our offensive line coach, there was no question about it. At the end of the day, if there was a run game that needed to be taken care of Hudson Houck was that guy, but Norv Turner was the OC. But they both had worked together and understood the offensive system that we were running... and there was a commitment, the key word, there was a commitment to running the football.
Smith raises a valid question, and one that needs to be resolved prior to the start of any off-season team activities. Regardless of titles, the Cowboys need to resolve a clear chain of responsibilities and they need to effectively communicate those responsibilities throughout the organization. In fact, the team would be well served to make their working chain of command known outside the organization as well to help eliminate the "coaching controversies" that will undoubtedly show up in the various media outlets around the league.
In spite of the potential issues that may arise from what appears to be a case of having "too many cooks in the kitchen", team owner and general manager Jerry Jones sees the current power structure as being an advantage to the team. In fact, Jones' argument makes as much sense as does Smith's case.
"He [Jason Garrett] encourages and welcomes and seeks out the idea of having those experienced head coaches involved. You add that to Monte Kiffin and we have a staff of resources to Jason that are really impressive. For Jason’s future, to have these head coaches, these people who’ve go the experience in what they’re doing, Mike Pope included, this is the greatest way in the world to put into Jason’s computer great head coaching experience." - Jerry Jones
That brings up the real question, "Which man is correct?"
I suspect that both are, to some extent, and that should present the Cowboys with an opportunity to figure out a way to make their non-traditional chain of command work. All parties involved need to have their duties and responsibilities known as soon as possible. After all, each man has an interest in seeing the Dallas Cowboys experience renewed success. The only way that they can make that happen is if everyone involved not only pulls his assigned share of the load, but he must also pull it in the correct direction. I suspect that balancing egos will become a huge factor in determining the fate of the team.
The responsibility for the balancing act will fall on the shoulders of two men, Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett. If both men are willing and able to define a clear organizational strategy and structure, and if they can get the other top level coaches to "buy in" to the vision they create, the chances are good that they can experience success. If they chose to "play it by ear", they will fail. Many things, including Garrett's future, depend on the type of environment they create in 2014, and they only have one chance to get it right.