In the aftermath of the Dallas Cowboys' 49-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints on November 10, head coach Jason Garrett pledged that his staff would go back to the drawing board and the team's broken offense would look different after its upcoming bye week.
The Cowboys looked different Sunday evening in their 24-21 defeat of the New York Giants, different in a way that no one in the NFL would ever think to duplicate.
That big change the Cowboys braintrust put together over the off week? Garrett now has an expanded role in the offense, and specifically that means offensive coordinator Bill Callahan passes the play call to Garrett, who then relays the play to Tony Romo. Quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson, who previously relayed plays into the offense, moved up to the press box, and tight ends coach Wes Phillips moved from the press box to the sideline.
“It was more just about mechanics,” Garrett said of the change. “I don’t know that I took a bigger role in the play-calling. One of the things we really try to emphasize is communication during the ballgame.”
Quick backstory: Garrett was hired as the Cowboys' offensive coordinator in 2007, before Jerry Jones hired Wade Phillips as head coach. Garrett continued calling plays after being elevated to head coach during the 2010 season. Following the 2012 season, Dallas' third straight without a playoffs appearance, Callahan added offensive coordinator and play-calling duties to his role as offensive line coach. Though the move was announced shortly after the season, Dallas media didn't get a straight answer on who made the call to shake up offensive responsibilities - Jones or Garrett - until well into the summer.
After ten games as a traditional head coach, Garrett is now signaling - not calling - the Cowboys' offense.
In a franchise with the most convoluted organizational flow chart in American sports, it all makes perfect sense.
“You just want to make sure you’re communicating during the ballgame,” Garrett said. “That’s something that we really emphasize with our players and certainly among coaches and between coaches and players, just to make sure we’re all communicating as to what we’re getting and what we want to get to. That’s just a big part of, I think, calling plays well and calling defenses well and really handling the game well.”