There should be changes to the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff this offseason. Unfortunately, there probably won’t – but that doesn’t mean I won’t try to speak it into existence with this article.
The Cowboys offense was a complete disaster down the stretch this season, scoring just 12 points at home in an elimination game last week to kill their playoff hopes. Dak Prescott looked to regress a bit, mostly due to the rather awful circumstances around him. The lack of receiving threats, Prescott’s lack of trust in his protection, and Ezekiel Elliott‘s suspension all did the Cowboys in.
Then, of course, there was offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.
Linehan deserves a share of the blame for this meltdown as well, considering he is the play caller and the one who “runs” the offense. His failure to create opportunities in the pass game for Elliott, as well as his failures to create some easier completions and situations for Prescott and Dez Bryant hurt this offense in the long run.
When they weren’t just able to say “I’m better than you” and run the ball down the defense’s throat, the Cowboys offense looked lost.
And it’s time for change.
Firing Linehan isn’t an instant fix to the offense, but it could certainly be a step in the right direction if the correct replacement is hired. In my estimation, the best person to take the job is current Los Angeles Rams Offensive Coordinator Matt LaFleur.
LaFleur was named the offensive coordinator by Sean McVay this offseason, following his stint as quarterbacks coach in Atlanta. LaFleur coached under Kyle Shanahan and was Matt Ryan’s QB coach for his MVP season. LaFleur was also the quarterbacks coach for Notre Dame in 2014 and for the Washington Redskins from 2010-2013. It’s no coincidence that Robert Griffin had his best seasons when LaFleur was on the staff.
This means that Matt LaFleur has been on staffs which have seen Matt Ryan’s MVP season, RG3’s Rookie of the Year season, the emergence of Jared Goff and Todd Gurley, and the one which made Everett Golson an attractive transfer candidate to Florida State.
The problem with my wish is that if the Cowboys were to bring in Matt LaFleur, it would have to be for the head coaching job. It is rare that a coach makes lateral movement in the NFL, and since it’s clear he won’t be fired by the Rams anytime soon, a team will have to make an impressive head coaching offer to lure him away from Los Angeles.
I’m at the point where firing Jason Garrett seems like the correct move to make this offseason, but it seems rather clear Jerry Jones doesn’t believe so. And as long as Garrett is in place, changing offensive coordinators is both unlikely and probably not impactful enough to make much of a difference.