MOBILE, Ala. — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday that coach Jason Garrett may give up play-calling duties on offense.
Speaking to reporters at Senior Bowl practices, Jones said offensive line coach Bill Callahan could inherit play-calling duties, but stopped short of saying a decision had been made.
Garrett kept calling plays after he was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach when Wade Phillips was fired during the 2010 season.
Garrett told The Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram he would welcome a switch and would be comfortable with Callahan in that role.
The Cowboys have shuffled the coaching staff after consecutive 8-8 seasons. New defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin replaced Rob Ryan, who was fired. Five other coaches have left the staff, including Garrett’s brother, tight ends coach John Garrett.
Jason Garrett has been criticized for poor decisions with game and clock management, sparking debate over whether he should give up calling plays to focus more on other issues within a game.
He also was praised for his leadership after practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown died in a car wreck that led to intoxication manslaughter charges against defensive tackle Josh Brent this season.
“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 offensive coordinator for Oakland from 1998 to 2001, and the Raiders went to the Super Bowl after he was promoted to head coach in 2002. They lost to Tampa Bay.
The former Nebraska coach just finished his first season with Dallas after four years as offensive line coach for the New York Jets.
Jones said he wanted Garrett to keep calling plays when Phillips was replaced, and the owner said the switch wouldn’t be considered if Garrett “was not absolutely all in.”
“It’s not a step back for Jason. It’s actually a step forward for Jason in my mind,” Jones said. “Make no mistake about it, when I hired Jason to come into the organization as a coach he was hired specifically for his skills for his 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.”