Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was given the latitude to make recent changes to his coaching staff, and those changes were not based on orders from Jerry Jones, according to both the owner and his son, Stephen Jones, the team's executive football vice president.
"Absolutely, we gave Jason that authority when the season ended," Stephen Jones said. "This was another disappointing ending, and you just have let your head coach have that latitude. It's not always going to be pretty, it's going to hurt some feelings, but you have to let Jason evaluate his staff and do what he believes is right. That's what we did."
Jones acknowledged that offensive coordinator Bill Callahan was unhappy with the decision to bring in Scott Linehan as the team's passing game coordinator and third playcaller in three seasons. And he confirmed that the Cowboys denied permission to a "couple of teams" -- the Ravens and Browns -- that wanted to interview Callahan for their offensive coordinator vacancies.
"Bill is not thrilled, but Jason didn't expect him to be thrilled," Jones said. "But Bill is an outstanding coach; he will be involved in game planning and overseeing our offensive line. There was no way we were going to let him walk and we kept our promise that nobody was getting fired; in fact, we added another pretty well-paid coach in Linehan. Maybe that's something that happened we didn't originally plan -- we spent a little more money adding someone, but Jason is very pleased and so are we with Scott on board."
Jones was speaking Thursday morning, but it was Jerry Jones who said the day after the season that he "would not fire anybody, but Jason is evaluating his staff and will have freedom to reassign guys or tweak the staff. As for me, I've got to evaluate my own role -- I need to look at the man in the mirror and really be honest about why we keep coming up short."
Jerry Jones has not elaborated but has been adamant he would retain his role as general manager "even though, as you know, we have a collaborative effort within our personnel department."
Stephen Jones thinks the idea that there are "too many chefs in the kitchen" is a popular reaction but conceded that Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells often tinkered with staff assignments.
"Half the time, you couldn't tell who was going to call plays under Bill any particular week -- it could be Tony Sparano, it could be Sean Payton or it could be Bill himself," Jones said. "In this instance, Linehan and Garrett have a good history together, they'll be on the same page, and it will still allow Jason to grow where we want him to grow as a head coach."