Daily Archives: February 20th, 2014

DALLAS COWBOYS COACHES ROSTER: Jason Garrett on new roles throughout his coaching staff | Stephen Jones on why team retained Bill Callahan

DALLAS COWBOYS COACHES ROSTER - Jason Garrett on new roles throughout his coaching staff - The Boys Are Back blog 2014

INDIANAPOLIS – Head coach Jason Garrett doesn’t expect discourse among coaches, nor does he worry about having too many voices offensively after the various changes this offseason. 

Garrett spoke at length today (Watch Video | Play Audio) at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine about the new roles throughout his coaching staff, and he said he values the input each coach can bring.

“We feel really good about that,” Garrett said. “We believe in having good coaches. We have a philosophy on offense, we have a philosophy on defense we believe in. We have good coaches to implement that. We expect them all to work together like we have. We emphasize team so much with our players, it’s the same thing with our coaches. If you have the right kind of guys, they will certainly do that.”

Bill Callahan was stripped of the play-calling duties and will move back to his original role with the team, helping out with the offensive game-plan and coaching the offensive line. The Cowboys made room for Scott Linehan, who will call the plays and move into a role similar to Garrett’s before delegating the play-calling duties last year.

Garrett said the circumstances aren’t much different from how the Cowboys or other teams have operated in the past.

“Scott’s role will probably be very similar to the role I had for a number of years – passing game coordinator, play caller, working with the run game coordinator and offensive line coach,” Garrett said. “It’s been Tony Sparano. It’s been Hudson Houck. It’s been Bill Callahan.

“The situation on offense will be probably very similar to the first year Bill Callahan was here. It’s very conventional and something our guys understand.”

Callahan wasn’t let go, despite other teams’ interest in him as an offensive coordinator and play-caller. Garrett said he values what Callahan can bring as a football coach and said he’s as good a coach as he’s been around. Callahan will move back to working more closely with assistant offensive line coach Frank Pollack.

Garrett said every decision is made in the best interest of the team and that everyone understands that. Callahan’s coached the offensive line for most of his career, and he thinks that’s a great role for him working alongside assistant offensive line coach Frank Pollack.

“We’re going to back to the structure that Bill was comfortable with originally when he was hired,” Garrett said. “That’s just something we all have to embrace. It’s going to take a little time to work through that and that’s what this offseason is for. You work through the things we did well last year, the things we’ve got to improve upon and everybody has their role and the responsibility to embrace it and try to become a really close staff and a really close football team.”

The addition of Linehan gave Garrett a coach he was familiar with from their time together in Miami in 2005. Garrett said he learned a great deal from Linehan during that time and that the two share a similar offensive philosophy. In addition to his role as play-caller and passing game coordinator, Linehan will also be asked to work with Callahan and the rest of the offensive staff in putting the running game and the whole package together in preparation.

“His quarterbacks have always played well,” Garrett said. “He’s had teams where his runners…They’ve been a top five rushing team. He seems to always get a big-play receiver to play very well for him. So we feel like philosophically we are on the same page. We’ve worked together. I understand what he’s trying to get accomplished, how he works day to day, how he calls a game. So for a lot of reasons, we felt this was a really good fit for us.”

It doesn’t sound like the roles will evolve much throughout the year. Garrett said he expects the transition from Monte Kiffin to Rod Marinelli to be a smooth one, given their shared philosophies, and he believes he has the right people in the building on the coaching staff.

“We feel like we have a good idea of what we want to do. we have outlined those by title and by responsibility. We have a clear idea of that. Guys are working together throughout the spring, implementing the plan is an important thing for us. We are in midst of that plan right  now.

Here are some other notes Garrett touched on Thursday in Indianapolis.

  • Garrett still anticipates Tony Romo to be ready for the spring and be involved in “a lot of the stuff we do in the spring with OTAs and on field work.” He said Romo looks good in his rehab.
  • Most of Tony Romo’s energy and attention has gone into rehabbing his back, according to Garrett, but Romo has met with Linehan and had conversations about the season. Linehan’s spending more of his time getting acclimated with the coaches.
  • The future of Jason Hatcher remains in the balance, but Garrett’s not giving up hope in getting the defensive lineman back next year. He praised the work Hatcher did last season and said when NFL free agency starts, he wants the Cowboys to be there for him.
  • Garrett raved about the addition of Mike Pope as the tight ends coach and said he’s as good a coach he’s been around in his career after spending time with him in New York. He also said Jason Witten’s excited about the addition.
  • The head coach reiterated that he was happy with the team’s decision to move back in the first round and believes every one of their 2013 draft picks has a bright future with the team.
  • Linehan also favored the pass in his previous stops, but Garrett said Linehan’s also been around teams that have run well, particularly in Minnesota. He said the offense is stronger up front and the Cowboys have to play to that advantage, giving the team a chance to control the line of scrimmage.


RELATED: Cowboys VP Stephen Jones explains why team retained Bill Callahan

DALLAS COWBOYS COACHES ROSTER - Stephen Jones on why team retained Bill Callahan - The Boys Are Back website 2014

INDIANAPOLIS — When it was announced that Scott Linehan would be the new offensive play-caller last month, many wondered how Bill Callahan would take the news.

After all, this past season Callahan had handled the role Linehan would now assume. Outsiders saw the move as a demotion, and some wondered why the Cowboys were reluctant to allow Callahan to pursue other opportunities. Requests made by Baltimore and Cleveland to interview Callahan were denied.

“Everybody thinks the world of Bill,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “It’s an unfortunate situation that he gets caught up in the, well, he got something taken away from him or whatever it’s going to be portrayed as. But Bill Callahan is an unbelievable football coach. We just weren’t going to give him up and Jerry [Jones] and I have a great relationship and the coaches have a great relationship with him.

“Everybody wants to go sometimes and try to do what they were doing or whatever. But when we signed him, contracts are two-way streets. They are not just for us to deal with if it doesn’t work out. And Bill is a professional;. Are you kidding me? He is working his butt off. Was he disappointed? Everybody has disappointments. I have had it. I’m sure you have had disappointments. Everybody has them.”

Jones views Callahan as an asset who helped transform the offensive line — the position group he oversees — from a weakness into a strength.

“That offensive line really shaped up and came our way,” he said.

Jones now feels similarly about the staff head coach Jason Garrett has assembled, which now features three men — Garrett, Linehan and Callahan — who have been play-callers in the NFL.

“As I think Jason used the words, I think you have to make sure everybody is in the right seat on the bus to really make the team hum,” Jones said. “I think that’s what we ended up doing. I think we got everyone in the right seat. And obviously added a big one in Linehan. But I really think we have given ourselves, with our staff, a great opportunity to improve.”

2014 NFL COMBINE REPORT: Dallas Cowboys VP Stephen Jones discusses team draft needs, salary cap, and contracts

2014 NFL COMBINE REPORT - Dallas Cowboys VP Stephen Jones discusses team draft needs, salary cap, and contracts

INDIANAPOLIS – Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones doesn’t want to focus on just one spot in the 2014 NFL Draft.

He didn’t deny the Cowboys’ obvious wants and needs on the defensive line, but he said Wednesday that teams get in a lot of trouble by narrowing their scope to just one position when it comes time to draft.

“You start targeting something and drafting for need, we all know that’ll get you in trouble,” Jones said. “It’ll be nice to come out of the draft at some point with a defensive front guy, defensive lineman or two. But no, I don’t think we can just say, ‘Hey, we’re going to take the first two picks and it’s got to be defensive linemen.’ I think you get in trouble that way.”

Jones said he wants players to be graded based on what they deserve, and he’s talked to the scouts about not grading players a certain way based entirely off team needs. He said the team has to fight that natural urge of grading by need. 

He also isn’t worried about getting under the cap, and he doesn’t believe the cap situation makes it impossible to sign Tyron Smith and Dez Bryant to longer deals.

“In some cases, it can help to do deals,” Jones said. “I’d read where someone didn’t understand it, because they said, ‘How did they do (Dan) Bailey? That hurts them this year.’ Well, it didn’t hurt us, it helped us.”

Jones talked at length Wednesday about a variety of other offseason topics as well, from possible restructures to extensions to injuries and scouting. Here’s some notes from those comments.

  • Anthony Spencer’s free agency leaves questions about his future with the Dallas Cowboys, but there’s also questions about his health going into 2014 coming off microfracture knee surgery. Jones said it still remains to be seen how healthy Spencer will be at the start of the year as he works the injury and goes through rehab, but he knows Spencer wants to play.
  • Jones said the biggest misconception about the draft room is that owner/general manager Jerry Jones just “sits up there and out of the clear blue just grabs a guy and says we’re going to take him.” He said that’s not how it works, and generally there’s a consensus about a player.

“We spend millions of dollars in our scouting department and we spend a lot of money on our coaches and everybody has tremendous input,” Stephen Jones said. “I think it’s a good system.”

  • The Dallas Cowboys got a boost earlier in the day by winning the No. 16 pick in a coin flip with the Baltimore Ravens, which Jones said can be valuable when trading back based off of trade charts.
  • Jones wouldn’t go into details about specific players’ restructures this offseason, but he said every player must be looked at to see the resources being allocated. He said there are still several scenarios, but he’s comfortable with where the team’s at and knows he still has time to get everything settled.
  • The fifth-year option on Tyron Smith’s contract has to be made by the spring, but Jones said that won’t take any urgency away from potentially getting a longer deal done with the left tackle.
  • Jones said he thought Sharrif Floyd was graded right (2013 NFL Draft) based on his talent, but it’s debatable if he was graded the right way based on the team’s system. The Dallas Cowboys ended up trading back and grabbing Travis Frederick in the first round rather than taking Floyd, who had a first-round grade. Jones said it can be tricky when a team changes a system, and the Floyd circumstances won’t happen again. He knows the team got criticized by some for the move, but he believes they ended up making the right decision based on their defensive system.
  • The Dallas Cowboys are looking at their hamstring problems and how to deal with the situation. He said no one’s happy with what occurred, and the team is looking internally to see how to improve the Dallas Cowboys injury problems. They’re also looking at how past teams have stayed healthy and are considering the age of players, their work habits and the shape they’re in.

ROAD TO 2014 NFL DRAFT: Dallas Cowboys win coin toss for 16th pick | League’s pecking order officially set

ROAD TO 2014 NFL DRAFT - Dallas Cowboys win coin toss for 16th pick - Leagues pecking order officially set

IRVING, Texas – The Dallas Cowboys won the No. 16 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft following a coin flip with the Baltimore Ravens.

Team officials held the coin toss at the NFL Scouting Combine, which began Wednesday morning in Indianapolis, Ind. 

The decision gives Dallas a pick in the top half of the first round for the third time in four years — the Cowboys held the ninth overall selection in 2011 and the No. 14 pick in 2012 before trading up to take Morris Claiborne.

Having lost the coin toss, the Ravens will pick No. 17 overall.

Both clubs finished the 2013 season with 8-8 records, but a tiebreaker was needed to determine their draft order. In addition to owning the same records, the teams also had identical strengths of schedule.

The final draft order for the 2014 NFL Draft is now set:

Official NFL Draft 2014 Dallas Cowboys Baltimore Ravens flip coin

1. Houston

2. St. Louis (from Washington)

3. Jacksonville

4. Cleveland

5. Oakland

6. Atlanta

7. Tampa Bay

8. Minnesota

9. Buffalo

10. Detroit

11. Tennessee

12. New York Giants

13. St. Louis

14. Chicago

15. Pittsburgh

16. Dallas

17. Baltimore

18. New York Jets

19. Miami

20. Arizona

21. Green Bay

22. Philadelphia

23. Kansas City

24. Cincinnati

25. San Diego

26. Cleveland (from Indianapolis)

27. New Orleans

28. Carolina

29. New England

30. San Francisco

31. Denver

32. Seattle


RELATED: Dallas Cowboys NFL Draft coin-flip win a sign of flipping the 2013 script

Dallas Cowboys NFL Draft coin-flip win a sign of flipping the 2013 script

IRVING, Texas – Hey, maybe 2014 will be a different story, right?

We’ve already seen one trend bucked, and it happened in Indianapolis of all places: This team won a coin flip – stop the presses!

Last year the Dallas Cowboys couldn’t win a coin flip to save their lives.

For something that is supposed to be 50-50, this team was anything but average when it came to flipping a coin. The Cowboys won just three coin flips all last year. And after the Nov. 3 game against the Vikings at home when they won the toss, the Cowboys didn’t win another pregame coin toss over the last seven weeks.

It doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of the game. Not really, although sometimes it’s nice to have the decision on taking the ball now or in the second half. But if you’re better than your opponent, it doesn’t matter.

This coin toss the Cowboys won in Indianapolis is rather significant, giving the club the 16th pick in the draft over the Ravens, who will select 17th in the first round.

You might say that picking 16 or 17 doesn’t matter much because it’s still in the middle of the first round. And that’s true. However, don’t forget who is running the show and what he likes to do when he gets in that War Room. Jerry Jones becomes “Trader Jerry” when he’s in there and having the 16th pick.

Point values vary when you’re looking at draft charts. Teams often have different values but for the most part, the difference between the 16th and 17th pick is around 50 points, and that’s the equivalent of a late fourth-round pick.

But I went a little deeper into the difference of 16 vs. 17 with this scenario.

Let’s say the Cardinals (20th pick) wanted to move up a few spots. If the Cowboys picked 17, they’d get a high-fourth round pick by swapping picks with Arizona. But at 16, they’ll likely receive a mid-third round pick. Obviously the two teams would have to throw in other picks to even it out since Arizona wouldn’t have a high-fourth, but you get the picture.

Now, history shows picking 17 is better for the Dallas Cowboys, who selected both Mel Renfro and Emmitt Smith at No. 17. They also got Kevin Brooks and Kevin Smith.

The only time they’ve ever selected No. 16 occurred in 1961, when they picked lineman E.J. Holub, who never played for the Cowboys because he chose to play in the AFL with the Dallas Texans/Kansas City Chiefs franchise. Holub is now in the Chiefs’ Hall of Fame.

None of that stuff really matters now. All that matters is how the Dallas Cowboys handle this No. 16 pick.

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