This week, the league's most popular yet confused franchise found a way to add two new "coordinators" without getting rid of the two who were already in place. Now, Jerry Jones' empire has five men—head coach Jason Garrett, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, offensive assistant Bill Callahan, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and defensive assistant Monte Kiffin—sharing responsibilities to various degrees.
|The crowded kitchen in Dallas|
|Jason Garrett||Head coach||47|
|Scott Linehan||Passing game coordinator||50|
|Rod Marinelli||Defensive coordinator||64|
|Bill Callahan||Offensive line coach||57|
|Monte Kiffin||Assistant head coach/defense||73|
Linehan, who was hired after being let go from the Lions, will be the team's third play-caller in as many years. But what's amazing is that the last two play-callers—Garrett and Callahan—remain on the staff. Don't expect much to change, considering that he and Garrett share philosophies.
Why? Nobody knows. He certainly can't be that valuable to an organization that has demoted him only a year after a promotion.
Same deal with Kiffin, who after falling on his face in his first year running the Dallas defense has essentially been demoted from "defensive coordinator" to "assistant head coach/defense," which is fittingly confusing considering the topic at hand.
Kiffin is over 500 years old.* He's not a head coaching candidate. If you brought him in to ease the transition from 3-4 to 4-3, fine. That's over. Now you've promoted Marinelli. We noted last week that this team already had too many cooks in the kitchen, but this is now starting to resemble an episode of MasterChef.
Do the Cowboys just crave negative attention and controversy? That's the only explanation. Jones was never known as an indecisive general manager in the past, so why is he suddenly hording coaches beyond their best-before dates?
Among the five men now employed as part of what we'll call the Cowboys' inner-circle of coaching, three have tried and failed as head coaches, another is currently failing as a head coach and the fifth was the oldest coordinator in the NFL last season.
No fresh blood, no new ideas. Linehan worked with Garrett in Miami. Like Garrett, he leans on the passing game. It'll be more of the same on that side of the ball. Marinelli was a Kiffin understudy during his first three years in the league with the Buccaneers. He did a great job with the defensive line last year and is probably better-suited for the coordinator role than Kiffin, but it's still fair to wonder why Kiffin remains with the team and why this move was made a full month after the regular season ended.
|Dallas Cowboys since 1997|
|Win % (rank)||Point dif. (rank)||T/O margin (rank)||Playoff wins (rank)|
|17 years||.500 (14th)||+111 (14th)||-38 (23rd)||1 (27th)|
|Pro Football Reference|
By essentially doubling down on what hasn't worked for nearly half a decade, the Cowboys are dooming themselves for at least the 2014 season. This disorganized embarrassment of a team has no clear front-office and coaching hierarchy, which is nearly impossible to overcome. But the myopic, stubborn ownership fails to see that they're doing it all wrong in painfully obvious fashion.
What this team needs is the opposite of what it's attempting to establish. The Cowboys should look at the Broncos, who are favored to win the Super Bowl only days from today. Denver has the organized hierarchy you need to win championships, starting with its all-time greatest quarterback-turned-president, John Elway.
The Cowboys could have the same opportunity with their last great quarterback, Troy Aikman. That would shake things up. That would awaken this franchise. And the key to all of it would be that there's a chance Jones would finally listen to a smart, trusted football mind like him.
"The Cowboys kind of tend to change their beliefs each year on what it is they need or what they're about," Aikman told Bleacher Report this week. "And I just find that to be somewhat unusual for a club that has been owned by the same owner for however long it's been."
Amazing what you can see when you're outside of that Dallas bubble. He's on the outside looking in. This could be a game-changer. And so we asked Aikman, on behalf of Dallas fans nationwide, if he could save the Cowboys franchise.
"I'm not sure, maybe," he said. "I can see myself doing a lot of things, but whether or not the opportunity were to present itself, that's a different question."
When we asked former Cowboys coach/Jones combatant Jimmy Johnson the same question about Aikman, he noted that his NFL on Fox colleague "would be an asset to any organization" while pointing out that "they've got a lot of people involved right now."
* Dog years, but you get the point.