Christmas came early for Dallas Cowboys fans. No, it wasn’t a Super Bowl trophy. However, they got a constellation prize. The Cowboys finally fired offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.
Friday morning, America’s team announced that Linehan has been relieved of his duties. This decision came days after head coach Jason Garrett said he expected Linehan to come back next season. Vice President Stephen Jones responded by saying no decision has been made yet.
Nevertheless, Garrett had positive things to say about his former right-hand man. “Scott has had an incredibly positive impact on our football team. He has been instrumental in the development and success of a significant number of our veteran and younger players.”
The decision was reported as if both sides mutually agreed to part ways. “This was very much a mutual decision. There was a great deal of common ground and shared understanding between both of us during our meetings.”
The firing of Linehan was long overdue. Firstly, let’s discuss some of the good things he has done. He took over the play calling for Garrett when people complained that the offense wasn’t balanced enough. Scott was able to revive the run game in Dallas with backs like Demarco Murray and now Ezekiel Elliot. He helped Dallas reach a 13-3 record with a rookie quarterback at the helm.
Despite the moderate success, the offense still had its weakness and it was frustrating to players. When Dez Bryant, a once decorated Cowboys receiver, was released, he ripped the play calling. “You all know what the real problem is…it’s the garbage ass play calling. Everyone lined up in the same spot for 17 weeks.”
The offensive became predictable and even opponents spoke out about. Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward spoke about what routes Dez usually runs and how it helped him have success defended him. Opponents shouldn’t know exactly what route you are about to run before the ball is snapped. Linehan never made any adjustments.
Even the newest acquisition, Amari Cooper had something to say about the play calls. During an interview, he talked about how the Cowboys kept calling stop routes against the Philadelphia Eagles. Thankfully, Dak Prescott changed the route and ran a nine route instead.
When the Cowboys faced the Los Angeles Rams, they were still very much in the game. On a crucial fourth and one, Linehan called a run play up into the teeth of the defense. That play had no chance of being successful. He could have called a play action or even fake it to the fullback and flip it to Elliot.
Failing to convert on that down ultimately impacted the result of the game. Instead of having the chance to tie the game, the Rams scored another touchdown and the game was over. Not being able to maximize Elliot and Cooper is inexcusable.
At the end of the day, the Cowboys finally came to their senses. After Linehan was fired, potential candidates immediately surfaced. According to Ian Rapoport, Dallas is expected to explore college coaches for possible replacements. James Coley, Georgia offensive coordinator is reportedly in the mix.
The Cowboys could be looking at the remaining teams in the playoffs for candidates as well. No matter who they chose, fans and players alike should be good about the team going into a new direction. Maybe the next coach will be the edge they need to advance further in the postseason.