In a move that will likely draw a collective wince from Rams fans, former St. Louis Head Coach Scott Linehan has been hired by the Dallas Cowboys to call plays for their offense.
The hiring puts the Cowboys in an unusual situation offensively, as all reports indicate that offensive coordinator Bill Callahan is expected to be retained despite Linehan’s addition to the staff. The Cowboys are undoubtedly looking for a boost to their 24th ranked offense from 2013, something Linehan can potentially provide. In his five years as offensive coordinator in Detroit, Linehan guided the team from what had been a consistent bottom-of-the-league offense into a respectable unit that finished in the top-15 overall in three of those seasons and cracked the top-5 once. Obviously it helps to have wide receiver Calvin Johnson doing Calvin Johnson things to opposing defenses, but Linehan deserves some due credit for the effort.
However, Rams fans will likely remember a different version of Linehan. He began his tenure with the Rams in 2006 and was unceremoniously fired after the first four games of the 2008 season. He’d compiled a record of just 11-25 in his 36 games as head coach, and the Rams had lost 17 of the last 20 games at the time of his firing. Not only that, they were simply being blown away by opponents in the process.
They lost their first four games in 2008 by a combined score of 147-43. Quarterback Marc Bulger had been benched in favor of backup Trent Green prior to Linehan’s last game at the helm, which resulted in a 31-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills. The move was widely panned and ended up being the final calamitous straw in what was a forgettable period of the Rams history.
Linehan became available when Detroit Head Coach Jim Schwartz was let go by the team at the end of December. Other than Linehan’s connection to head coach Jason Garrett from their time together on the Miami Dolphins’ staff in 2005, the hiring seems a bit random. Callahan has received support from Garrett himself on multiple occasions, even as recently as early January, and by all accounts will return for 2014. It’s fair to question what team owner Jerry Jones’ strategy was in the decision, due to the fact that all three of Linehan, Callahan, and Garrett have been head coaches and offensive coordinators in the past. Whether the three can coexist moving forward will be worth keeping an eye on.
What Ram player would you like to see less of in 2014? We say Rodney McLeod.