Berry Tramel

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Dallas Cowboys: As the Valley Ranch turns

by Berry Tramel Modified: June 5, 2013 at 11:25 am •  Published: June 5, 2013
 
We use the word “dysfunctional” in the 21st century. Dysfunctional family. Dysfunctional relationship. In sports, it’s dysfunctional organization. We use it incorrectly at times. We use it on the Clippers or the Nets or the Bengals. What we mean is “bad” organization.
 
But there are dysfunctional organizations. Organizations that have some strong points but also don’t know how to, well, function.
 
Which brings us to the Dallas Cowboys. This week, new offensive coordinator Bill Callahan said he would be calling plays for the Cowboy offense. Then owner/general manager/chief cook and bottlewasher Jerry Jones hinted at the same but refused to confirm. Then head coach  Jason Garrett refused to concede much of anything.
 
Welcome to Valley Ranch, where for almost 20 years now the Cowboys have wandered in the wilderness with a lack of leadership and vision and forthrightness.
 
“Well, I’m not assuming anything,” Jones said Tuesday when asked if it’s safe to assume Callahan would be calling the plays. “I’m just saying, I don’t want to say. But the big deal is if you been looking at practice you can get a pretty good idea of how it’s going there and you see Bill very involved in what we’re doing out there.”
 
Here’s Callahan: “I’m flattered, and as I said this a long time ago when we were visiting in January and February, everybody has a stake in this. It’s a compliment to our staff and it tells you the way our guys work on the offensive side of the ball. It’s been productive all the way around. I’m really encouraged, I’m honored and just do the best job for our fans and our team.
 
And finally, Garrett: “There is no real advantage for us to reveal whose calling the plays and how we’re going to do it in early June. It’s just the way I feel about it. We have scouts who advance games when we go watch other teams play and we try to figure out how they’re calling plays, offensively, defensively and the kicking game.”
 
Oh brother. Yes, teams scout all kinds of things when they watch opponents play games. And exactly what does that have to do with June?
 
Here’s an advantage to saying exactly what the heck is going on. Letting your players know that there’s a plan, that you believe in the plan, and that you’re going to stick to it. That’s not been anything the Cowboys could count on since Jimmy Johnson left 19 years ago.
 
Want Callahan to call plays? Fine. Don’t want Garrett to call plays? Fine. Don’t make it mystery theater. Don’t try to con us into thinking the Cowboys will outfox foes. The only way Dallas gets back to a championship level is to collect great talent, hire good coaches, come up with a plan and stick to it.
 
Being private is fine. Being coy is silly. The Coyboys have done squat. Time to quit pretending that they have.
by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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