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Garrett says he is OK with Callahan calling plays

The SportsXchange

IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett finally acknowledges that he gave up play calling duties to offensive line coach Bill Callahan.

And Garrett claims he was all in on the change, but disagreed with when and how it was announced.

The decision was made in January. Owner Jerry Jones and Callahan announced the news last week when a miffed Garrett declined to confirm.

Now he has decided to come clean and clear the air on the whole situation.

"We've been working really since the end of January with that in mind, and what that in mind is Bill Callahan has been the acting offensive coordinator, and he's going to take on the full responsibilities of calling the plays," Garrett said Thursday.

"We made that decision months ago. Where we did have a little bit of a miscommunication was when we were going to present that publicly. It's something you've asked me about a number of different times, and I told you, 'Well, we're still working on that,' and we were. We were working through the mechanics. A lot of the situational work we did. ... in practice is to help Bill, help Wade (Wilson), help all of our guys communicate things, just like we're trying to help Monte (Kiffin) on the defensive side and Rich Bisaccia on the special teams.

"So you're working on all the different communications, the mechanics of the game as we say. We've been going that over the last four or five months. The area where we didn't do a very good job -- and I take full responsibility -- is just being on the same page with the communication of that publicly. It came out last week and just to clarify it, those are the roles we are going to have."

Garrett wanted it clear that there was no dissent between him and Jones on the decision, just in how it was delivered.

"Mr. Jones, Stephen (Jones) and I, we're all on the same page and have been on the same page for months and been acting that way around this building," Garrett said. "We just hadn't said it out loud."

Callahan is expected to sit in the coaches' booth this season. He will call plays for the first time in the NFL since 2003 and the first time period since he was head coach at Nebraska in 2007.

Dallas finished sixth in total offense last season. It has never finished lower than 13th since Garrett took over as offensive coordinator, and the Cowboys have ranked as high as second (in 2009) with Garrett as the play-caller.

"We're not interested in making change for change sake," Garrett said. "That's not what we're trying to do. We're trying to make positive change. I talked about how our roster has turned over. We've rebuilt this roster in two years. Those are all changes we think are positive changes for our team, not change for change sake. We think it's a positive change and have all embraced it."

It is still Garrett's offense and he will have veto power.

---QB Kyle Orton has taken every first-team snap in OTAs and minicamp in place of the injured Tony Romo, who is recovering from back surgery.

"I'm trying to make the most of it," Orton said. "They won't be there in a month come camp, so I have to fall back on these."

Orton signed with the Cowboys last offseason to serve as Romo's backup. He played only 11 plays last season in mop-up duty against the Chicago Bears.

It was the first time since 2006 that Orton didn't start a game in a season. He knows the Cowboys don't want him to start in 2013 but he will be ready if called upon.

"I know my role on this team," Orton said, "and I work hard to serve that role."

Orton has started 69 games in his career, going 35-34. The Cowboys signed him as insurance behind Romo.

---The Cowboys are in no hurry to make a move with defensive tackle Josh Brent, who is facing intoxication manslaughter charges for his role in the death of practice-squad linebacker Jerry Brown.

His trial is set for September and he faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted. There is no chance Brent plays with the Cowboys in 2013, yet he remains on the team's active roster

"Josh's situation is obviously one that will take care of itself," vice-president Stephen Jones said. "He's working through his legal issues and I'm sure the NFL and the Cowboys at that point will know where we stand."

Asked if the Cowboys would make a roster move before camp so they can use Brent's spot for another player, Jones said the team will continue to monitor the situation.

The big question is to why Brent is still on the roster at all, considering his legal situation and the recent problem of failing a drug test, went unanswered by Jones.

"I don't have any comment other than what I said," Jones said. "We'll monitor what happens legally and go from there."
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