The Dallas Cowboys have fired offensive coordinator Scott Linehan less than a week after coach Jason Garrett initially promised there would be no staff changes for 2019 before walking back those comments a few hours later.
A few days of discussions about the future of the Cowboys offense, which finished No. 22 in the league in both total offense and scoring offense, averaging just 21.2 points per game in 2018, resulted in Linehan’s departure after five seasons.
It was Garrett’s decision to make the move, according to sources.
He issued a statement on the decision Friday afternoon.
“This was not an easy decision because of how highly we regard Scott Linehan as a football coach and as a person,” Garrett said. “He and I had some really positive, substantive and open discussions which took place in the latter part of this week, and we ultimately agreed that it would be in the best interest of all of the parties involved if we were to make a change at this (offensive coordinator) position. This was very much a mutual decision, and there was a great deal of common ground and shared understanding between both of us during our meetings. Scott has had an incredibly positive impact on our football team. He has been instrumental in the development and success of a significant number of our veteran and younger players. He is an outstanding football coach, a great friend and we wish him and his family nothing but the absolute best moving forward.”
Linehan came to the Cowboys in 2014 and oversaw an offense that sparked a 12-4 season, featured the league’s leading rusher in DeMarco Murray, an MVP-caliber season from quarterback Tony Romo and an All-Pro season from receiver Dez Bryant.
It was equally impressive in 2016 when Dak Prescott replaced an injured Romo and fashioned the finest rookie season of any quarterback in NFL history, which, combined with NFL leading-rusher Ezekiel Elliott, led the Cowboys to a 13-3 season.
But the offense has struggled the past two seasons, finishing 14th in scoring and yards in 2017 before bottoming out in 2018.
Despite finishing 10-6, the Cowboys scored just 339 points, the lowest total in 13 years.
It is not lost on the Cowboys that the four teams playing for conference titles on Sunday are the highest scoring teams in the league.
The question now is where do the Cowboys go from here.
Tight ends coach Doug Nussmeier is a possibility, but the Cowboys might be looking at an assistant in the conference championship games, featuring the New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots.
Owner Jerry Jones intimated as much earlier this week when he was noncommittal about Linehan’s future.
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SOURCE: Fort Worth Star-Telegram – CLARENCE E. HILL JR.