Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett spoke about his team’s offseason, an unusual one considering the Cowboys are used to being the team that spends big money to acquire high profile free agents. Of course, their dire cap situation made it impossible to spend that money, in fact causing the opposite, as the team was forced to part ways with a few notable contributors, most significantly DeMarcus Ware and Miles Austin.
The team was able to add a few new pieces, with a focus on retooling a defensive line and pass rush that will be without not only Ware, but Jay Ratliff and Jason Hatcher as well. The Cowboys’ response was to add Terrell McClain, Jeremy Mincey, and Henry Melton. David Moore of DallasNews.com was able to transcribe some of Garrett’s thoughts on the new signings, among other things.
Garrett referred to McClain as “an interior player who can have an impact on our team”, and calls Mincey “a really solid football player.” The head coach believes that McClain brings versatility that can be utilized at nose tackle or at a three-technique, and that Mincey could potentially fill a void at defensive end. Garrett lauded Melton’s physical ability, referencing his past as a high school running back.
“You see some of those running back traits in terms of quickness, explosiveness, change of direction,’’ says Garrett. “He was hurt last year and only played in three games. He’s coming off an ACL, but he played very well for Rod Marinelli a couple of years ago and I feel like we can get him to that place.’’
Garrett, the former quarterback, also spoke about picking up Brandon Weeden as a backup to Tony Romo. “We want to develop a guy, and we feel like Brandon Weeden is a guy we can develop,’’ Garrett said of the 30-year-old quarterback. “We feel like he’s got a lot of upside, and we want to get him in an environment where we can help him grow and develop.’’
Garrett also addressed new offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, who has been given play-calling duties despite Bill Callahan calling the plays last season and still being on staff.
“He and I have very similar philosophies about offensive football and how we do things. There are some terminology things that are common to both of our offensive systems and certainly they are philosophically similarly in foundation,” said the head coach. “You always want to evolve your offense from year to year and continue to grow with your system. There is a foundation that we have in place, a philosophy that’s very similar, and we’re excited about the different things that he’s going to bring.’’
While it is unusual for play-calling responsibilities to change hands without letting go of the coach, an equally peculiar move happened on the other side of the ball, where Monte Kiffin relinquished his role as defensive coordinator, a role now filled by Rod Marinelli. Kiffin will still remain on staff as a defensive assistant.