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June 11, 2013

Jason Garrett clears the air, confirms Bill Callahan will call the plays this season

The Cowboys made the collective decision in January to hand over the play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Bill Callahan. Head coach Jason Garrett said he is on board with it but will remain involved in the game-planning.

Are we call clear?

"We’ve been working really since the end of January with that in mind, and what that in mind is Bill Callahan has been the acting offensive coordinator, and he’s going to take on the full responsibilities of calling the plays," Garrett said Tuesday, the first day of the team's minicamp. "We made that decision months ago. Where we did have a little bit of a miscommunication was when we were going to present that publicly. It’s something you’ve asked me about a number of different times, and I told you, 'Well, we’re still working on that,’ and we were. We were working through the mechanics. A lot of the situational work we did today in practice is to help Bill, help Wade (Wilson), help all of our guys communicate things, just like we’re trying to help Monte (Kiffin) on the defensive side and Rich Bisaccia on the special teams. So you’re working on all the different communications, the mechanics of the game as we say. We’ve been going that over the last four or five months. The area where we didn’t do a very good job – and I take full responsibility – is just being on the same page with the communication of that publicly. It came out last week and just to clarify it, those are the roles we are going to have."

Owner Jerry Jones hinted last week that Callahan had taken over the role Garrett has had since 2007 when Garrett arrived as offensive coordinator. Callahan confirmed the move, but Garrett wouldn't discuss it last week. Garrett wanted to clarify Tuesday.

"Mr. Jones, Stephen (Jones) and I, we’re all on the same page and have been on the same page for months and been acting that way around this building," Garrett said. "We just hadn’t said it out loud."

Callahan is expected to sit in the coaches' booth this season. He has not called plays in an NFL game since 2003.

Dallas finished sixth in total offense last season. It has never finished lower than 13th since Garrett took over as offensive coordinator, and the Cowboys have ranked as high as second (in 2009) with Garrett as the play-caller. 

"We’re not interested in making change for change sake," Garrett said. "That’s not what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to make positive change. I talked about how our roster has turned over. We’ve rebuilt this roster in two years. Those are all changes we think are positive changes for our team, not change for change sake. We think it’s a positive change and have all embraced it."

Though Garrett will be a walk-around head coach, his fingerprints still will be all over the offense. Asked if he had veto power, Garrett said, "I don’t like to use the word veto, but you always have that as a head coach. You’re in constant communication with the guys on defense and the kicking game and certainly with the guys on offense as to what we want to do. That happens in the offseason. That happens in training camp. That happens during the week of a game. That happens during a game. It’s just important that you have a healthy respect for each other and a trust in each other and the communication is always really healthy, and those lines are always open going back and forth."

-- Charean Williams




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