Former coach to Garrett: Don’t give up control!

When you’re the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, there are going to be distractions. Jason Garrett has dealt with his share in his two and half seasons leading the club, with the most recent being the perception that team owner and general manager Jerry Jones was responsible for making all of the coaching staff changes over the last month.

One question still remains up in the air: Who will call offensive plays next season? Jones seems to want Garrett to give up play-calling duties, but Garrett hasn’t publicly made a final decision.

If former NFL head coach Herm Edwards was in Garrett’s position, he said Tuesday that he wouldn’t give up that responsibility.

“If I’m Jason Garrett, I’m calling the plays. That’s Jason Garrett’s strength,” Edwards said on 103.3 [KESN-FM]. “That’s what he does. That’s why he was hired, because he was a good play caller. Let’s not lose sight of that now.

“By the way, he is the head coach. I get to call the shots. Now what’s Jerry going to do, fire him because he wants to call the plays? ‘OK, then fire me. I’m calling the plays.'”

In terms of the perception that Jones made the coaching changes without input from Garrett, Edwards said the players are aware of the situation and that’s “the sad part” for Garrett.

“He sits there with the whistle, with the hat,” Edwards said. “He stands out in front of the media and has to talk after the game — before Jerry gets to them. And the players know. And that’s the hard part because you don’t give the head coach a lot of authority. You’re taking his authority away.

“Coaches know. And here’s the problem: When you’re winning, it goes unseen. When you start losing, guess what? Those coaches are talking about, ‘Well, Jerry hired me. I’m Jerry’s guy.’ All that conversation gets going when you’re losing. Players start pointing fingers. That’s part of it too. We don’t see it right now because it’s the offseason. But I’ll tell you what, you get off to a slow start, and you start losing games at the end when you’re trying to make a playoff run, all that stuff will come out. I guarantee you, we’ll be talking about that.”

Defensively, the change to a 4-3 scheme with Monte Kiffin calling the shots and Rod Marinelli as his No. 2 is a good situation for the Cowboys, according to the former New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs head coach.

“Rod Marinelli is going to do a lot of the hard work,” Edwards said. “I think he’s one of the best defensive line coaches in the National Football League. That was a great hire, when he hired Rod. That was the key to me. That was the whole key for Monte because Rod knows the system as well as Monte. Monte will tweak some things and do some things. But Rod Marinelli will have a big hand on this defense along with Monte.”

Edwards also said that he believes the Cowboys have the defensive personnel to make the change, specifically mentioning inside linebacker Sean Lee, defensive end DeMarcus Ware and cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne.

Edwards, who ran the same defensive scheme with the Chiefs, said Lee will be “terrific” and “perfect” for the 4-3 system. He added that Carr and Claiborne “will have no problem with it” and that Ware will be fine with his hand on the ground, rushing the passer. Edwards said to expect a defense that will showcase good tackling, won’t give up a lot of points and will be strong in the red zone.