Jason Garrett: Scott Linehan will continue to call plays

Charean Williams
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

The Cowboys changed most of their offensive coaching staff in the offseason, but they kept coordinator Scott Linehan. Linehan became a target of Monday morning quarterbacks in Dallas-Fort Worth, though, after the Cowboys generated only 232 yards against the Panthers, including only 138 passing yards.

Jason Garrett called the plays in 2011 and 2012, his first two full seasons as head coach, before turning it over to Bill Callahan. Linehan has served as the team’s play-caller since he was hired in 2014.

Garrett, though, is not considering a return to a dual role.

“I have a tremendous amount of faith in Scott,” Garrett said, via Todd Archer of ESPN. “We just have to do a better job collectively as a staff and as an offensive unit to help us move the football and score some points. That starts with basic execution, play after play not beating ourselves and then finding ways to generate some big plays.”

The Cowboys have passed for fewer than 200 yards in seven of their past nine games, dating to last season. They have scored four total touchdowns in their past four games.

During a three-game losing streak in the middle of last season — without suspended running back Ezekiel Elliott — the Cowboys scored 22 total points.

Former Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman, now an analyst on FOX, said during Sunday’s broadcast of the game that he is “not seeing any creativity” in Dallas’ play-calling. Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones on Monday called Aikman an “armchair quarterback,” adding it’s “unfair right now to point fingers at play-calling.”

Garrett, who served as Aikman’s backup quarterback, takes exception to the idea the Cowboys offense is “conservative.”

“I don’t know that I would describe two tight ends and a fullback as being conservative,” Garrett said Monday. “If the definition of not being conservative is using a lot of personnel groups, that’s certainly been a part of what we’ve done for a lot of years around here. I don’t know that I buy into that definition. You want to try to attack defenses different ways. Part of using that is using different personnel, part of that is using different formations. Part of that is using tempo — uptempo, slow down the tempo, speed up the tempo, all the different things that you try to do, and then part of it is simply executing ball plays. The best way to do that is to be able to run the ball, throw the ball, every time you break the huddle you threaten the defense — both of those things — and then you can play those things off of each other. And so those are the things we’ll try to do, and we’ll try to do a better job as a coaching staff to make sure we’re attacking the defense a lot of different ways. The most important thing is to make sure we execute. And talking about executing, that goes back to coaching, as well, making sure we’re giving them opportunities in practice so they have a chance to execute well once we kick it off on Sunday. Those are all things we’re focused on, and we’ll try to do a better job.”

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