We’re going to do what we do and worry about us. In a nutshell this has been the pure essence of the foundation Head Coach Jason Garrett has attempted to build upon during his tenure with the Dallas Cowboys. It highlights the routine Garrett insists on following day-to-day, game-to-game, season-to-season. Same blue outfit. Same introduction to press conferences. And, even more prevalent, same old offense.
The Cowboys announced the promotion of Kellen Moore to the offensive coordinator role a couple weeks ago, but many are still uncertain to what extent he will be allowed to install new ideas and concepts into the offense. Moore’s voice may be louder, but he still resides under a man who loves to stick with his routines. Routines that emphasize familiarity. That comfort level in familiarity leads to predictable play-calling, which will lead to the departure of Garrett and an end to his 12-year run as a member of the Cowboys coaching staff.
Unless, an old dog is willing to learn a few new tricks. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it hasn’t done much to harm a football team.
Other than the rising of Moore, former Dallas quarterback Jon Kitna enters the fray as the new quarterbacks coach with the team. Most famously, Kitna played a large role in helping Garrett obtain the head coaching position with the team back in 2010. After the firing of Wade Phillips, Garrett took over in an interim coaching role and helped lead that team to a 5-3 record in the second half of the season. That team was piloted by Kitna and now nine years later he is back to help Garrett save his coaching career in Dallas.
The front office is excited at the pairing of Moore and Kitna. Moore, who ran an offense at Boise State designed to fool the defense pre-snap while giving the quarterback simple reads to make after the snap. And Kitna, who’s experience on the high school level gives the Cowboys another element in adding new features that has begun to penetrate the professional level.
But neither will matter if Garrett continues to follow old habits. If he does not show the same trust in those two as he did with Linehan then the additions of Kitna and Moore will be voided. You see the difference between how well the offense performed in 2016 and how inconsistent it has been the past season and a half is comfort level. Not with Dak, but with Garrett. You can be comfortable when your team is on an 11-game win streak. It allows you to push the envelope and implement new ideas. However, when that plan begins to falter then you see the Cowboys fall back into the same predictable comfortable playcalling they are accustomed to.
It’s the difference between the Cowboys running an RPO on first down inside the five and running a fullback dive on 4th and 1. When you feel pressured you back to what you know. And there is no one on this team under more pressure this season then Garrett. You can have a package designed for Amari Cooper in critical situations that looks beautiful in training camp. But are you comfortable running it with 70,000 people erupting in your ears?
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