Good and bad: red-zone offense among best; first down woes - Nick Eatman, The Mothership
In a review of the 2013 season's positives and negatives, Eatman selects red zone production as a promising plus and shoddy defensive performance on first down (the Cowboys surrendered 6.20 yards per first down play) as a troubling negative stat.
Cowboys Weekly Draft Notebook - Episode #2 - Bob Sturm
In the second installment of his draft series, The Sturminator takes a detour from looking at potential draftees and offers some thoughts on the Scott Linehan hire. Linehan, Sturm points out, may be the only playcaller who eschews the run with greater fervor than our own Jason Garrett. This is problematic for Bob:
But, we cannot lose sight of the fact that the sport of football is one of disposition and attitude at its core. You cannot watch the Seahawks and 49ers take over the NFC with this bully-football and ignore it. There has to be some recognition that physicality is still alive and well in the NFL and it is still a blocking and tackling league.
I am sorry, but dropping back into shotgun and pass protection play after play is like a boxer who is never allowed to attack. He must simply accept punishment as an offensive lineman and never dish it out. I don't like that and I never have. I also don't believe that many great coaches believe in it either. Yes, this is a passing league and the numbers have never been higher. So, why then, did Seattle and San Francisco take over the conference without a QB who can throw for 200 yards on a regular basis?
Smash-Mouth-Football. Offensively and Defensively. They are going to make you cry.
The days of Marion Barber finishing off games against beaten defenses who had lost their desire to hit him seem far, far in the distant past...
Lack of clarity sounds like inevitable clutter - Rowan Kavner, The Mothership
In a piece with a title as opaque as the Cowboys' offensive coaching hierarchy, Kavner offers his take on the new coaching hires. He approves of keeping Monte Kiffin around, but is puzzled by the organization's decision to retain Bill Callahan. Thia is largely because they have found somebody to handle all of Callahan's potential roles. To wit:
1. Scott Linehan is the new play-caller
2. They will continue to use Garrett's offensive system (which was, in part, developed by Linehan)
3. Frank Pollack became the de facto offensive line coach last season, when Callahan's duties as coordinator necessitated that Frankie P. run O-line meetings, etc.
Here's what Kavner has to say:
People like to use the phrase "too many cooks in the kitchen" to describe what’s going on with the offensive staff. You could make the case that was even occurring last year, as questions abounded after last-minute losses whether play-calling decisions were made by Garrett, Callahan or
Tony Romo. Now another person is added to the mix.
This isn’t a slight at Callahan, who clearly was still valued in the minds of other teams who reportedly wanted to interview him. It’s just confusing trying to determine the point in keeping some of these coaches on board after decisions were made to go a different direction.
Although I think much of the media coverage is largely due to the fashionability of kicking the Cowboys when they're down, I must concede here that Kavner has a point - or two.
Cowboys "shake ground" of O and D Coordinators - Mike Fisher
Fish doesn't have a heckuva lot to add, save for this little gem: "Guys are being asked to shift down a chair and there is suddenly a wealth of brainpower at Valley Ranch. Maybe not enough chairs. But lots of brainpower."
Callahan situation evokes memories of 2006 - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
The always reliable Archer takes us back a few years to a moment when another offensive line coach, Tony Sparano, was retained even though he wanted out. The key difference?
Unlike 2006, the Cowboys have a ready-made replacement for Callahan in Frank Pollack. The linemen have a lot of trust in Pollack. Truth be told, Pollack worked more with the line in 2013 than Callahan, simply because the offensive coordinator duties pulled Callahan out of the linemen’s room.
At some point in the season, I hope the reasons the team wants to hold onto Callahan are made manifest - and that it's not simply about Jerry Jones' money.
Hiring of Linehan reflects Cowboys' belief in their passing game, and what they think of Callahan - Carlos Mendex, Star-Telegram
According to Mendez, Dallas' offensive coaching hierarchy isn't opaque at all; in fact, it is quite clear:
The Cowboys want [Linehan's] input as a fourth voice in the gameplan room.
But it is a crowded room. Already, it includes head coach Jason Garrett, offensive coordinator Bill Callahan and quarterback Tony Romo, who owner Jerry Jones proudly entrusted with "Peyton Manning influence" last spring.
The Cowboys didn't want to let Callahan go despite stripping him of his play-calling duties. But it's easy to see where he ranks in the hierarchy - behind Garrett, behind Romo, behind Linehan.
Not surprisingly, the subtext of Mendez' article, like that of Eatman's, is: why in the heck did the Cowboys retain Callahan when every one of their actions screams out that they have moved on?
Maybe it's because he's done such an excellent job with the offensive line...
Cowboys position breakdown: O-line - Calvin Watkins, ESPN Dallas
In a detour from the full slate of "the Cowboys are dysfunctional because they kept Kiffin and Callahan" articles, Watkins reviews the team's offensive line situation. I can sum up my take in four words: Pro Bowl left tackle." 'Nuff said
Garrett: continuity stays if names change - Todd Archer, ESPN Dallas
With the most recent spate of coaching changes, the 2014 Cowboys will have their third offensive and defensive coordinators in as many years. Since continuity is a hallmark of success, coaching turnover is the bailiwick of losing organizations, right? Not so fast, claims Dallas' head coach:
We believe in continuity and if you look at the offensive system, it's been in place for seven years....I think the same thing on defense. The system, the transition happened last year from the 3-4 to the 4-3 and Monte was such an important part of that transition with Rod and the rest of the defensive staff. The system is in place and we'll continue to grow. Roles change but freshness is viewed as a positive.
Essentially, Garrett is banking on consistent process and systems outweighing inconsistencies in leadership positions. I sure hope he's right...
More Cowboys Coverage
- Will Charles Haley Enter The HOF This Time Around?
- Linehan Moves In, Callahan Moves Over
- Kiffin Moves Up, Marinelli Moves In
- Who Were Cowboys' Most Productive Defenders?
- What The Linehan Hiring Means For The Cowboys