Home Sports Scott Linehan out as Cowboys offensive coordinator in what Jason Garrett says was 'a mutual decision' – Dallas News

Scott Linehan out as Cowboys offensive coordinator in what Jason Garrett says was 'a mutual decision' – Dallas News

15 min read

*Editor’s note: This story has been updated.

So much for no major changes.

Just days after head coach Jason Garrett said he didn’t anticipate any significant changes to the Dallas Cowboys’ coaching staff — a topic he later spoke more vaguely about — the club released a statement from Garrett on Friday announcing it was parting ways with offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.

“This was not an easy decision because of how highly we regard Scott Linehan as a football coach and as a person,” Garrett said in the statement. “He and I had some really positive, substantive and open discussions which took place in the latter part of this week, and we ultimately agreed that it would be in the best interest of all of the parties involved if we were to make a change at this (offensive coordinator) position.

“This was very much a mutual decision,” Garrett’s statement continues, “and there was a great deal of common ground and shared understanding between both of us during our meetings. Scott has had an incredibly positive impact on our football team. He has been instrumental in the development and success of a significant number of our veteran and younger players. He is an outstanding football coach, a great friend and we wish him and his family nothing but the absolute best moving forward.”

The end of Linehan’s five-year tenure comes after two frustrating seasons offensively for Dallas. While high-powered offenses took center stage at the top of the league, the Cowboys finished the 2018 season ranked just No. 22 in points and total yards per game.

Linehan was oft-criticized for an inability to get the most out of the Cowboys’ talent, including predictable play-calling and sporadic use of quarterback Dak Prescott’s ability to run. The unit got off to a slow start, though it showed improvement after Dallas gave up a first-round draft pick in October to secure receiver Amari Cooper in a trade with Oakland.

Yet the offense didn’t show enough change from a down year in 2017, when Prescott and the passing game took a step back after a blockbuster 2016. The passing game fell apart while running back Ezekiel Elliott served a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy and never recovered.

Last offseason, Linehan was given latitude to make hiring decisions as the offensive staff was overhauled, including making former quarterback Kellen Moore the quarterbacks coach and bringing in receivers coach Sanjay Lal, tight ends coach Doug Nussmeier and offensive line coach Paul Alexander, who was fired in the middle of the season. 

Because Garrett’s background is on the offensive side of the ball as a former quarterback and play-caller, it remains to be seen how willing he will be to institute broad change and new philosophies with his new offensive coordinator. Garrett currently has one year remaining on his contract.

Linehan, entering the final year of his deal at the time, signed what is believed to be a two-year contract extension in 2017 that placed him among the highest-paid coordinators in the league.

Linehan, the former head coach of the St. Louis Rams, was lauded for his work with Prescott in 2016, when Dallas went 13-3 and the rookie quarterback stepped in for injured veteran Tony Romo.

Linehan arrived in Dallas in 2014 as the club’s passing game coordinator, then was elevated to offensive coordinator for the following season.

By the numbers

A look at the Cowboys offense’s per-game averages under Scott Linehan, with league rank in parenthesis:



Total yards

Pass yards

Rush yards


29.2 (5)

383.6 (7)

236.5 (16)

147.1 (2)


17.2 (31)

335.1 (22)

216.9 (27)

118.1 (9)


26.3 (5)

376.7 (5)

226.9 (23)

149.8 (2)


22.1 (14)

331.9 (14)

196.3 (26)

135.6 (2)


21.2 (22)

343.8 (22)

221.1 (23)

122.7 (10)

*-Linehan was the passing game coordinator before becoming offensive coordinator in 2015.

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