Scott Linehan is out as offensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys only days after coach Jason Garrett sent mixed messages about the future for the oft-criticized assistant.
Garrett, in a statement released by the team Friday, described the move as a mutual decision after he and Linehan had some open and positive discussions this week. Linehan, who just completed his fifth season in Dallas, had one more season left on his contract.
“This was very much a mutual decision, and there was a great deal of common ground and shared understanding between both of us during our meetings,” Garrett said. “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.”
The Cowboys rebounded after a 3-5 start to win the NFC East. They beat the Seattle Seahawks in a home wild-card game before a 30-22 loss at the Los Angeles Rams last weekend.
Garrett said on his radio show Monday he thought Linehan would return and didn’t expect any significant changes to his staff. But at a news conference later in the day, Garrett was far from definitive and said discussions about a coaching staff hadn’t happened.
Dallas’ slow start this season was largely blamed on a misfiring offense. There were questions about creativity, including from Hall of Fame quarterback-turned-analyst Troy Aikman, who won three Super Bowls with the Cowboys in the 1990s.
The Cowboys were much better offensively in the second half of the season after sending their first-round pick in this year’s draft to Oakland for receiver Amari Cooper. But the Cowboys were one of just four teams to convert fewer than half their trips inside the 20-yard line into touchdowns.
During the regular season, the Cowboys averaged 344 total yards and 21.2 points a game to rank 22nd in the NFL in both categories. Their only loss the last half of the regular season was 23-0 at Indianapolis on Dec. 16, the first time in 15 years they were held scoreless.