- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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Ed Werder has a theory that the Dallas Cowboys' firing of running backs coach Skip Peete on Monday could be the start of a series of firings on the offensive coaching staff. Ed believes, based on the conversations he's had with people close to the situation, that there's a chance Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wants to clear room on the coaching staff to allow him to hire Norv Turner as offensive coordinator and take playcalling duties out of the hands of head coach Jason Garrett. It's all here in this video clip from SportsCenter this morning:
"As this process continues, it’s possible that if Jones does decide that Jason Garrett’s not going to be the offensive playcaller going forward as he has been to this point, that he will continue to fire members of the offensive coaching staff in a move to try to bring offensive coordinator Norv Turner in to call plays for Tony Romo as he did during their glory days for Troy Aikman," Ed says.
"One of the obstacles to Turner returning to Dallas is that he would want to bring many members of his own offensive coaching staff… so they would obviously have to create some vacancies."
To those who are clamoring for Jones to hire an offensive coordinator, this may sound good. But I believe it would represent both a departure for Jones from the way he's operated for the past couple of years and a mistake if what he wants is to give Garrett the best possible chance to succeed. Jones has been determined to give Garrett support and leeway, and the changes to the coaching staff last year were made with significant Garrett input. The Cowboys made significant strides this year in several areas and, I believe, either met or outperformed reasonable expectations. As recently as Week 16, the vibe around the Cowboys was a proud and positive one. It's tough for me to believe sweeping changes are necessary because they lost the final game of the season to the red-hot Redskins on the road without half their defense. And a change like this, to bring in a coordinator as strong-willed and recognized as Turner, would likely create a level of tension on the coaching staff that might not be conducive to a winning environment. It's not that Garrett doesn't need a playcaller, but this would feel like an extreme and danger-ridden solution to a specific problem.
As you know if you read regularly, my opinion is that Jones' talk of "change" in his radio interview last week falls into the category of an owner playing to disappointed fans, not a hint about some grand organizational plan. So my hunch is that the kind of significant change Ed is talking about remains unlikely. However, Ed has been around Jones and the Cowboys for a much longer time than I have and has very good sources, so if the plan he's talking about ended up taking shape, you couldn't view it as a huge surprise. You'd just have to view it as a drastic change of course for an owner who's been practicing the patience he's been preaching since he elevated Garrett to the top job.