Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, a lightning rod for criticism in recent seasons, will not return in 2019, the team announced Friday.
The #DallasCowboys and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan have mutually agreed to part ways, ending his five-year stint on the coaching staff.
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) January 18, 2019
In a statement (via the team’s official website), coach Jason Garrett said, in part, “This was not an easy decision because of how highly we regard Scott Linehan as a football coach and as a person. 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 parties involved if we were to make a changet at this (offensive coordinator) position.”
Linehan had served as the Cowboys’ play-caller since 2014, and during that time a Dallas running back led the league in rushing three times: DeMarco Murray in 2014 and Ezekiel Elliott in 2016 and ’18.
However, after finishing fifth in total offense and scoring in 2016, the offense fell off significantly the past two seasons.
The Cowboys were 22nd in scoring in 2018 at 21.2 points per game as quarterback Dak Prescott’s development became an up-and-down affair. After Dallas was throttled in the NFC divisional round, Linehan’s job status became a topic of speculation.
Despite Garrett’s maintaining that no staff changes were imminent, there were reports that the Cowboys had reached out to at least one potential replacement, who wasn’t identified.
Although Jason Garrett claimed no major changes to his coaching staff, a source tells me the #Cowboys have inquired about the interest/availability of at least one prominent offensive #NFL assistant coach.
— Ed Werder (@EdwerderRFA) January 17, 2019
Earlier in the week, team owner and GM Jerry Jones had emphasized that he wanted to keep open all options when considering staff changes outside of Garrett for next season.
“Why would I put some kind of statement out that says this is what we’re going to do when we might have an opportunity here next week? This is the time when these things are thought about,” Jones said (via Cowboys.com). “This is the time when they are chewed on. This is when you may see an opportunity that you didn’t know existed this week in the area of personnel or in the area of coaching.”
It was unclear as of Friday how the team would replace Linehan, but the Cowboys’ staff is slated to coach next weekend’s Pro Bowl and the front office will be at the Senior Bowl, a coaching hotbed.