Cowboys Play-Calling Debacle Shows Team Won't Win Anytime Soon

Nick KostosContributor IJune 7, 2013

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 20: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (L) shakes hands with head coach Jason Garrett (R) before the start of the Cowboys game against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on November 20, 2011 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

This past week, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones finally announced that new offensive coordinator Bill Callahan would be calling the plays for Dallas in 2013, ending a saga that Jones himself began at the Senior Bowl, when he told reporters that head coach Jason Garrett would no longer hold that responsibility.

What an absolute debacle.

This is just the latest Jones-ian episode in Big D that proves the Cowboys, owners of just one playoff victory since 1996, won't be winning big anytime soon.

Don't get it twisted: This is not meant to imply that Garrett is the be-all, end-all of NFL head coaches (he isn't) and his removal from the play-calling role signifies that the Cowboys offense is headed for the toilet (it isn't).

It means that the kind of organizational dysfunction promoted by Jones cannot and will not lead to a culture of winning.

Consider the entire situation as it concerns the play-calling.

Garrett's strength as a coach is his bright offensive mind. His play-calling ability is what made him attractive as a head coaching candidate. Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti tried to hire Garrett in 2008 before being rebuffed and ultimately settled on John Harbaugh. (How'd that one turn out?)

Under Garrett's stewardship (2007-present), the Cowboys offense has never finished a season ranked worse than 13th and has cracked the top 10 four out of six seasons. 

However, there's no question that Garrett lacks when it comes to game management. In fact, when it comes to managing critical game situations, an argument could be made that Garrett makes Herm Edwards look like Tom Coughlin.

There are many examples of Garrett's hideous game management.

Consider the inexplicable decision to keep throwing the ball while holding a big lead over the Lions in Week 4 of 2011, which led to a Detroit comeback.

Or what about Week 13 of 2011, when Garrett iced his own kicker in an overtime loss in Arizona?

Then, there was last October in Baltimore, where the Cowboys managed to lose a game despite rushing for 227 yards partly because Garrett bungled the time management as Dallas drove for a potential game-winning field goal.

So, with that said, wouldn't it behoove the Cowboys to hire someone to help Garrett, you know, manage the clock, instead of bringing in someone to call the plays?

And it's not like anyone is going to confuse Callahan with Bill Walsh. Callahan hasn't called plays since his disastrous run as head coach at the University of Nebraska.

Now, Garrett will be left to concentrate on game management, which he has struggled with, and has lost the very responsibility that got him the job in the first place.


Only in Dallas, boys and girls.

This is an outright neutering of Garrett by Jones. If Jones wanted to take away the play-calling from Garrett, why not just fire him? And, if he planned on taking away the play-calling from Garrett but still keeping him as head coach, why not hire a proven success like Norv Turner to call the plays? It makes no sense.

This is why the Cowboys aren't going to win anytime soon: because Jones cannot help himself. He does and says what he wants, which is his right as the team's owner, but his words and deeds oftentimes do much more harm than good.

Look at the issue of Tony Romo's increased involvement in the offensive planning, an idea trumpeted by Jones but one that Garrett threw water on, saying that Romo's role in the game-planning wouldn't be all that different than it already was.

The head coach and owner are not only on different pages, I'm not even sure they're reading the same book. How is this the right way to run a successful NFL franchise?

Garrett, with his team coming off back-to-back 8-8 seasons, is coaching for a job in 2013, despite what Jones says. And Garrett won't be able to employ his best attribute, his play-calling, in an attempt to remain the Cowboys head coach in 2014 and beyond.

Think about it: The team owner has set up the head coach and team to fail. In the National Football League, where there are only 16 games in a season and winning is everything, the Dallas Cowboys are setting themselves up more to miss the playoffs than to make them. It's stunning.

Will Callahan's play-calling be the reason why Garrett inevitably loses his job at some point between now and January? No, it won't. I'm not even saying that Garrett deserves to still be the coach of the Cowboys.

The sad thing is, it won't matter who comes next. The Cowboys could hire an amalgamation of Bill Belichick and Tom Landry, and that coach would have trouble succeeding under the hapless reign of Jones.

That's why this play-calling debacle serves as a microcosm for why the Cowboys aren't going to win big anytime soon.