IRVING, Texas (AP) — Dallas owner Jerry Jones apparently hears the criticism that he's calling all the shots for the Cowboys again and undermining coach Jason Garrett as a result.
In an interview for the team's website, Jones said Garrett has a strong voice in an overhaul of the coaching staff and that his third-year coach is "the right man putting this together."
Jones, the team's general manager, also said Garrett will decide who calls the offensive plays in 2013. Jones indicated during Senior Bowl workouts that Garrett would no longer run the offense on game days, leading to speculation that the coach was being stripped of those duties at the same time his staff was being dismantled.
As assistants were fired and replacements announced, even former Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman, a three-time Super Bowl winner, joined a chorus saying it looked like Jones was making the decisions after the owner vowed to make things "uncomfortable" following consecutive 8-8 seasons with losses in playoffs-or-bust finales under Garrett.
While there's still a strong chance Dallas will have a new play-caller, Jones insists that all the changes come with Garrett's blessing.
"However he comes up with how he wants to design how the offense runs, coupled with the fact that we've made the changes defensively and with special teams, I'm going to be excited about it," Jones said. "We've got the right man putting this together in Jason Garrett."
Jones has dealt with the perception that his ownership style came at the expense of his head coach's authority since Jimmy Johnson left nearly 20 years ago after consecutive Super Bowl titles in a public spat over who should get credit. The only exception was Bill Parcells, a two-time Super Bowl winner who stayed four years but quit coaching without a playoff win in Dallas after a painful wild-card loss in Seattle.
So far this offseason, the Cowboys have fired defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and running backs coach Skip Peete. They let special teams coach Joe DeCamillis go to Chicago a year after not granting him permission to talk to another team. Garrett's brother, John Garrett, is headed to Tampa Bay as receivers coach after six years with the Cowboys.
The status of receivers coach Jimmy Robinson has been unclear since the team's website reported last week that former Tennessee coach Derek Dooley was taking that job with the Cowboys. Dallas has not announced coaching hires for running backs, tight ends or receivers.
Jones told the team's website there's no rush to complete the offensive staff because of the "safety net" with Garrett as head coach.
"Jason is putting together, as he should be, a staff and philosophy on every phase of the team, and allocating his time, relative to allocating the time of his staff, to helping us win a football game now and in the future," Jones said.
Former Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is replacing Ryan, and two members of his staff there are in Dallas now in defensive line coach Rod Marinelli and special teams coach Rich Bisaccia.
Garrett "certainly is excited about the changes we've made on defense, relative to how that affects the whole game plan," Jones said. "One of the things I'm happiest about is who we've got putting this together in Jason Garrett."
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