The Jason Garrett mantra about process is a bit of a running joke around here, but sometimes there is truth in humor. The Dallas Cowboys are engaged in the process of correcting the problems from last year, and I saw some things today that I found interesting in that light.
One of the big topics of discussions around here has been the need to hire an Offensive Coordinator to help Jason Garrett out. Well, turns out that happened already with the announcement that Bill Callahan is now the Dallas OC as well as the O Line Coach. The play calling is still up in the air.
Callahan was named the offensive coordinator but it's not known if he'll call plays, something Jason Garrett has done since joining the Cowboys.
This is still a positive move, I would think. Callahan has head coaching experience at both the NFL and college level, and made it to the Superbowl with the Oakland Raiders. He certainly has a lot to bring to the table in developing the offensive strategy and game planning. Assuming that Jason Garrett is on board with this and it's not being forced on him by Jerry Jones, it would seem to show that the focus is on doing whatever it takes to fix the problems. It is likely that the OC position was part of the negotiations to bring Callahan to Dallas and was part of the overall plan all along. I don't know that for certain, of course, but it seems to fit the way things have been run ever since JG5000 took over the reins. At the very least, that's one thing we no longer have to gripe about in the comments threads.
More after the jump
The other coaching hire, Secondary Coach Jerome Henderson, is getting talked about by the management a lot.
"I think he is going to be a really nice coach for us," Jones said Thursday during a radio interview on The Ticket (1310-AM). "Fans, anybody could see that we have struggled, in particular on the back end of our defense. We have to improve ourselves. That makes it two years running now we have struggled. We have to get better back there."
That is not news to anyone, I think. But I was struck by one thing. The Jones referred to is not Jerry, but Stephen. (You may have suspected that because the statements were clear, concise and easy to understand.) I got to noticing that Stephen has been popping up in the media a lot lately. In addition to his comments on Henderson, he also addressed the draft, free agency and the salary cap in the same interview.
"We've got all the running room to improve our football team, whether that means going after a high-powered free agent if that's what we want to do. We can draft, we can move up in the draft, we can do all the things we want to do. And that's what's important at the end of the day."
That is a big and very encouraging statement. With all the holes on the team, it is encouraging to see that the team is prepared to go after personnel to fix things, and that the ownership thinks that they have the money issues well in hand. The announcement today that Jon Kitna will retire will undoubtedly help a little with that, too.
Cowboys backup quarterback Jon Kitna has informed the team he will retire, a move that was expected after he went on injured reserve Dec. 14 with a back injury. Kitna did not return phone call or email messages.
His experience and leadership will be missed, but I think everyone can see the wisdom of his decision.
But beyond just the financial maneuvering, it is also encouraging to see Stephen out front on these topics. Above and beyond the fact that you don't have to reread his quotes several times to figure out what he is actually saying, it at least hints at him taking a more active role in the decision making, something most of us here would see as a positive step. He has also been speaking out on other topics a lot lately, including developing a "killer instinct" with the team and on Dez Bryant's ongoing legal hassles.
I do not buy into the Jerry Jones as dictator and manager by whim meme. In the relatively brief time I have been deeply immersed in trying to figure out all things Dallas Cowboys, I have come to believe that JJ talks too much, but does not rule with an iron hand. I think the promotion of Jason Garrett was a major step in JJ admitting tacitly that the team needed some other leadership influences, and I think the suspected growing role of Stephen is evidenced by these recent statements. Clearly, he is speaking for the team here, and I hope he continues to do so, both because it shows his growing influence, and because he does not require translation. I even have some unfounded speculation that he had something to do with getting Callahan named Offensive Coordinator, just because it would fit my hopes for what is happening with the team.