By Clarence E. Hill Jr.
Irving _ Offensive coordinator Bill Callahan will handle play calling duties next season for the Dallas Cowboys.
The decision was decided weeks ago, per owner Jerry Jones, who said anybody who has been watching offseason work outs can decipher as much.
“If you’ve been looking at practice you can get a pretty good idea of how it’s going there,” Jones said. “You can see Bill very involved in what we’re doing.”
Callahan confirmed his new role as well.
“It’s a real honor and a great responsibility,” Callahan said. “I’m flattered to be part of this and take on the addition responsibilities of calling the plays in the course of the game.
The only problem with the whole scenario is that coach Jason Garrett is still not ready to make an official announcement.
“We have a plan,” Garrett said. “No real comment beyond that.”
Welcome to the circus known as the Dallas Cowboys.
That Callahan, the offensive coordinator/offensive line coach, would take over play calling duties has been known for months. He has called plays during organized team activities the past three weeks, while Garrett has stood off to the side.
But Garrett, who called plays himself since 2007, has been deliberate about making any thing official publicly. And he had no plans on revealing anything Tuesday, though he said it would be wrong to use as point of view as evidence that he was not on board with the decision.
“I’m completely on board with all decisions we make,” Garrett said. “We make collective decisions in this organization. We always have and we always will.”
Garrett said he doesn’t see the need to answer the question at this point in the off season for competitive reasons.
“There is no real advantage for us to reveal who’s calling the plays explicitly and how we’re going to do it in early June,” Garrett said. “It’s just the way I feel about it. We have a plan in place. We’ve had a plan in place for a long, long time. I don’t want to get into that plan much further than I already have.”
While Garrett acknowledged that he Jones have different philosophies on how information is dispensed, he wanted it clear that there is nothing wrong with their relationship.
“He and I get along great. We have a great relationship,” Garrett said. He’s an outstanding owner. He’s an outstanding owner because he cares a great deal about this football team and making the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys great. When you’re in an environment like that, working for a guy like that, the pedal is down and that’s a good thing. The pedal is down for all of us.”
The pedal is down primarily because the Cowboys have finished 8-8 the past two years under Garrett have not been in the playoffs since 2009. The Cowboys are hopeful that Garrett will bring more balance to an offense that not only finished 31st in the league rushing last year but was the worst rushing attack in team history.
Callahan will call plays in 2014 for the first time since he was head coach at Nebraska 2004-2007. But his experience also includes serving as the play caller for Raiders when they went to the Super Bowl in 2002.
“I think he’s an outstanding coach with the kind of experience that I really think is good for us right now,” Jones said. “The fact that he is been head coach, college, as well as in the NFL, you bring all of that to bear. I think the fact that he’s gotten that experience, the fact that he’s seen those kinds of different, if you will, situations. We all know that he is a very accomplished position coach – offensive line. And we all know that is an area that has to be coordinated – really every aspect, in your running and your passing game. I like the coordinator, the play-caller if you will, I like for him to have a background focused in the interior and focused in the protections and focused in the blocking for the running game. I think that’s a great way to get there as a coordinator.”
And new play caller for the Cowboys.
Just don’t ask Garrett about it.