Jason Garrett will no longer call plays on offense for the Dallas Cowboys, owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday in a report from The Dallas Morning News.
Jones, speaking at the Senior Bowl where the Cowboys staff is evaluating draft prospects, did not name a new play-caller, but there are strong indications it will be offensive line coach Bill Callahan, who also assumed the title of offensive coordinator when he joined the team a year ago.
The decision is a reversal for Jones, who during the season said emphatically that Garrett did not have too much on his plate as both head coach and play-caller.
A second-straight 8-8 finish apparently changed Jones’ mind. The play-calling switch is the latest in a series of staff changes by Jones, who promised an “uncomfortable” off-season at the team’s Valley Ranch practice facility.
“It’s not a step back for Jason, it’s actually a step forward for Jason in my mind,” Jones told the Morning News. “Make no mistake about it, when I hired Jason to come into the organization as a coach he was hired specifically for his skills and abilities to call the plays. When he became the head coach, it was at my insistence that he continue to call the plays. It was not at Jason’s insistence.
“It is not a step back for the Cowboys or a step back individually for him to change the way we basically are putting our game plan together or are calling the plays on the offensive side of the ball. As you well know, differences in opinion can frankly be a step in a better direction.”
There have been other changes on the offensive staff leading up to Tuesday’s announcement. On Sunday, tight ends coach John Garrett, Jason’s brother, left to become the wide receivers coach at Tampa Bay — after much speculation that he would fired if he couldn’t not find other employment. Running backs coach Skip Peete was also fired after the season.
Before Jones’ announcement, Garrett told the Morning News earlier in the day that he still believed it was best for him to call the plays, but that he would be comfortable with Callahan taking over that duty.
“I’ve never been a guy where it’s been hell-or-high-water that I’m going to call the plays,” Garrett said. “It gives you the opportunity to step back a little bit and engage in the other two aspects. Obviously, my role as the head coach, if I’m not the play-caller, will be significant.”
Callahan was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders when they played in Super Bowl XXXVII and was also formerly the head coach at Nebraska from 2004-07.
Callahan’s name was at the center of some controversy Tuesday. Former Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown, in an interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio, alleged that Callahan sabotaged the team’s chances in Super Bowl XXXVII by changing the game plan the Friday before the game. Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire