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Desperate times: Cowboys should let some other coaches try calling plays

Let’s think out of the box for just a bit.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys
Maybe it’s time for a new voice in Dak’s ear.
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Things have just gone from bad to worse for the Dallas Cowboys. Despite the team still technically being in the playoff hunt, the reality is that the postseason seems out of reach after the disastrous three-game slump. And while the list of things that have contributed to this seems to go on and on, there is no doubt that one factor is the playcalling. Coordinators Scott Linehan and Rod Marinelli seem to have been figured out by the rest of the league.

That certainly looks like a case of the LA Chargers knowing what was coming.

And if there is any truth to that, then it is pretty clear that both Linehan and Marinelli have gotten far too predictable. The evidence of the last three weeks certainly doesn’t belie that belief.

So maybe it is time to try something different. A little experiment to see if it is the coordinators that have caused the Cowboys to stall out on offense and be unable to stop the other team defensively. The season is teetering on being beyond salvaging. There may be some changes coming at the coordinator jobs (assuming Jason Garrett will be retained as head coach, which seems likely at this point). You can’t bring in any people from outside the organization at this point to audition for coordinator duties. But since the staff are coaching for their jobs, it might be interesting to see if any of the personnel currently with the team could do any better than Linehan or Marinelli.

Let me state right here that this is not something that the team would actually do. Desperate times call for desperate measures, but this is too far out of the box for Dallas to even consider. This is just an exercise in playing GM, or head coach, something we all like to do. Still, here are some names that woukd give the team a needed spark, and perhaps some unpredictability that it so badly needs.


There are two candidates to don the headset and take the playsheet in our hypothetical scenario.

Wade Wilson is the quarterbacks coach. He is intimately familiar with the scheme and of course probably knows Dak Prescott as well as anyone. He may well be able to come up with some moves offensively that opponents would not expect.

Jason Garrett is the other option. After all, he has a lot of experience as a playcaller, and certainly should be very aware of the playbook. He gave up the offensive play-calling to step back and take a more comprehensive view of the team, but he is already taking a lot of heat for the failures. If the team does not pull out of its nosedive in a hurry, his status may be more tenuous than Jerry Jones’ recent comments would lead us to believe. Of all the possibilities, this is the one that has at least a slight chance of happening. Garrett fully believes in taking responsibility for how his team performs, and this would be the ultimate expression of this.


Matt Eberflus already carries the title of passing-game coordinator as well as being the linebackers coach. He has, in the past at least, been seen as a future defensive coordinator somewhere in the league. This could be an opportunity to take a test drive and see if there is a possible replacement for Marinelli already on the staff.

And then there is Sean Lee. Maybe you saw this from the Chargers game:

Lee has long been considered the leader of the defense, getting the rest of the players into position as well as making plays himself. Many think that coaching is in his future. If he is not active again against Washington on Thursday, perhaps he could use some of his savvy by calling the defense. It would not be nearly as good as having him on the field. But at this point, could things get much worse?

Again, this is just pie in the sky stuff. But the Cowboys are in dire straits, and we aren’t talking the old rock band. As much as anything, they need something to shake them out of their funk. Giving someone else the chance to call the plays might just be the thing to do that. With the way things are now, it really isn’t much of a risk, and if they have another dismal performance on Thursday, there is even less reason to not try something this drastic.

We know it won’t happen. But I can dream. How about you?

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