Jason Garrett recently held a short press conference at the NFL 2014 Scouting Combine. The Dallas head coach spoke for about 10 minutes and answered two lines of questioning: 1) Give us the scoop on the coaching staff and 2) Talk about some of your players. In this post we recount his comments talking about his coaching staff.
The Cowboys coaching staff was shuffled a bit this offseason, now it basically has a passing-game coordinator and playcaller, and a running-game coordinator and offensive line coach. That is different than the past few years but actually resembles the situation Dallas has had in the past with the Jason Garrett-Tony Sparano situation. Garrett noted that himself in the press conference. What is a little unusual is to essentially "demote" a coach (Bill Callahan), then block him from leaving for a coordinator job somewhere else. My own personal guess on that is that they think the job Callahan has done with the line is too good to mess with, or Jerry just need to show some power after Linehan was called a compromise candidate. I actually believe it's the former.
Here' Garrett's comments at the combine concerning the make-up of the coaching staff. (Rough transcriptions courtesy of this link, with limited corrections.)
On if he's scaled back his offensive involvement with the hiring of Scott Linehan as coordinator
The biggest thing we have tried to do is allow me move more to the responsibility of a head coach, giving equal time to the offense, defense and special teams as well as the other responsibilities of personnel and all the things that come with the position. The hope is that i have a less of a role..obviously i have a strong influence there. And have a strong influence in the other two phases as well.
On if that's different from last year
Yes with Scott being there and with Scott calling the plays, it will be very similar to the presence I had for a number of years. He will be involved in the passing game and calling the plays and working with bill and the other guys on the offensive staff putting the running game together and putting the whole package together.
Will those positions evolve as the season goes on
We feel like we have a good idea of what we want to do. We have outlined those by title and by responsibility. We have a clear idea of that. Guys are working together throughout the spring, implement the plan is an important thing for us. We are in midst of that plan right now.
I think if you look at it. It's how we have done things in the and how teams have done things in the past. Scott's role will be very similar to the role I had for a number of years - passing game coordinator, play caller, working with the run game coordinator and offensive line coach. It's been Tony Sparano. It's been Hudson Houck. It's been Bill Callahan. The situation on offense will be very similar to the first year Bill Callahan was here. its very conventional and something our guys understand. Certainly on defense, guys like Monte Kiffen, one of the great coaches of our generation, taking on a role that is not a coordinator but a significant role our defense as well. A number of great coaches have graduated to that. To give Rod the opportunity coordinate our defense is good for our team.
On Scott Linehan
Well, I worked with Scott in Miami. I was the quarterback coach and he was the offensive coordinator under coach Saban in 2005, and I learned a great deal from him. He's done this for a number of years both at the college level and the NFL level. If you look at his track record, he's had success. He's had success as an offensive coordinator calling plays, putting his plan together and our philosophies are very similar. His quarterbacks have always played well. He's had teams where his runners...They've been a top five rushing team. He seems to always get a big-play receiver to play very well for him. So we feel like philosophically we are on the same page. We've worked together. We've worked well together. I understand what he's trying to get accomplished, how he works day-to-day, how he calls a game. So for a lot of reasons, we felt this was a really good fit for us.
On difference with Rod Marinelli as defensive coordinator rather than Monte Kiffin
Rod and Monte spent a lot of time together so they are very similar. We feel that transition will be a smooth one. Monte's role in helping us implement this 4-3 defense has been significant. Rod had a huge role last year and will have an even bigger role this year as the main coordinator and defensive play caller as well. You always want to go back and evaluate the things you did well and the things you didn't do quite as well and hopefully from year to year your system is in place..but the identity is based on the personnel you have and the direction you want to take the defense the fundamental philosophy will be the same and we are in the process of evaluating what we can do better.
Why is Rod better suited
We just think Rod is suited for this job. Rod has been a great coach in this league as a defensive line coach and defensive coordinator. we are fortunate to have him on our staff. It was time for him to take that role. The relationship that both he and Kiff have we think is positive. Kiff's role is significant as assistant head coach of the defense, overseeing the whole thing and be involved in all the meetings and on the practice field. He will will work closely with Rod and the whole defensive staff. We spend a lot of time talking about bringing the right people in the building as players and coaches. We also want to make sure we have the right seats on the bus. That's an important thing. We feel we have done that this off season.
On the difference Rod Marinelli will have on the defense
Well, I think the biggest challenge we had on our defense last year was implementing a new style of defense and then having a rash of injuries. Injuries are a part of this game. We all know that and we don't make excuses. But we played a lot of different guys, particularly on our defensive line. I think it was north of 20. So, hopefully, we will get some of those guys back in roles we feel good about. We feel like we have some young players who we feel have a great chance to come in and develop and be contributors for us, particularly on that defensive line. So, hopefully, those guys will get themselves healthy and be ready to roll. You know, this draft is important for us, as it is for every team and hopefully we can get some players to come in and help our football team.
Worried about having too many coaches changes
We feel real good about that. We believe in having good coaches. We have a philosophy on offense. We have a philosophy on defense we believe in. We have good coaches to implement that. We expect them all to work together like we have. We emphasize team so much with our players. It's the same thing with our coaches. If you have the right kind of guys they will certainly do that. We have a lot of good coaches who can help our football team.
Make or break for you in the last year of your contract
The way we look at it is you try to be great every day. That is the approach we have always taken. It's a philosophy we emphasize with our players. We certainly have to live it as coaches. We try to bring the right people in and do things the right way and keep trying to learn and grow and make the right decisions for your football team. We have been close each of the last three years to win our division. We haven't gotten that done. w\We have to live with that reality. We are working hard every day to try to be great as coaches to help our football team take the next step
Added sense of urgency to get it done with no contract
There is always a sense of urgency. The best players, coaches and teams live with a sense of urgency every day, 365 days out of the year. That is the philosophy we have. That is the attitude we take.