The Dallas Cowboys brought in Scott Linehan this offseason to be the team’s passing game coordinator to help an offense that ranked 16th in total yards last season.
Some will say there’s too many cooks in the kitchen, some say Linehan’s presence will behoove the offensive attack that threw the ball over 61 percent of the time under Bill Callahan and Jason Garrett last season.
No matter one’s opinion of Linehan’s addition, a triumvirate behind the offense is the approach the Cowboys are going with. And with it comes a transition phase that begins in rookie camp.
“We’re meshing some of the great things they’ve done here,” Linehan said. “It would be a disservice to not continue some of the things that Jason [Garrett] and Bill [Callahan] have implemented here in the last few years.”
While the Dallas coaching staff is a new environment for Linehan, it’s also a reunion with Garrett. In 2005, Garrett was the quarterbacks coach for the Miami Dolphins, while Linehan was their offensive coordinator.
“It’s certainly very comfortable,” Garrett said. “But we have to go through a lot of different things; how we do things in terms of our meetings, our practices, some of the language that’s different than it was in the past.”
Dustin Vaughan, an undrafted free agent quarterback that has been with the Cowboys during rookie camp, said he has noticed a difference in language in the film room, but that his new coaches have done a good job assimilating each others’ philosophies.
“I don’t know all the changes [from last year] since I wasn’t here,” Vaughan, a product of West Texas A&M said. “I know there have been a few wrinkles here and there, but from what I can tell they’re all on the same page. They all know what each other wants out of the guys playing for them.”
Since their time together in Miami, Linehan has been the head coach for the St. Louis Rams as well as the offensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions.
Garrett, who spent one more year with the Dolphins before coming to Dallas in 2007, said learning from different members of the staff and what they’ve done with other teams is a big part of coaching.
“You’re always trying to grow as much as you can,” Garrett said. “You don’t want to deviate from the things you believe in, but you’re always trying to challenge yourself and come up with new ideas to make your team better.”
Vaughan is no stranger to new language amongst a coaching staff. He said there is high turnover on the West Texas A&M coaching staff, so he has experienced a transition between coaching philosophies.
“They’ll try to bring in new verbiage or new concepts that they’ve used and try to incorporate that,” Vaughan said.
Vaughan, who has worn no. 10 in rookie workouts, said he and the other first-year players in camp have done a good job picking up on the language used by each coach and trying to bring it to the drills as they develop as potential NFL players.
But it’s not just the players that are developing in the first camp of the summer. Garrett said the players show improvement from practice to practice and day to day, and the coaches try to do the same through constant communication.
“We’re always going over how we’re coaching stuff. Situations will come up on a practice field and we want to make sure we’re all on the same page on how we’re addressing a player and how we’re addressing that situation,” he said.
The coaches meet before and after practice, as well as watch tape together, in an effort to stay on the same page.
Linehan echoed that getting on the same page is important, but that the “meshing” process can’t slow them down as a staff or as a team.
“I think it’s more that the language stays the same, and if there’s something different we introduce it and we go,” the 50-year-old offensive assistant said. “We come out here so we can play fast and operate.”