Cowboys' Garrett backs play-calling change

Pete Dougherty
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Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy during practice in the Don Hutson Center, Wednesday, January 14, 2015. H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette Media/@HMarcLarson

INDIANAPOLIS – Jason Garrett understands Mike McCarthy's decision to give up play calling so he can have more influence on the game planning of the Packers' defense and special teams.

Garrett, the Dallas Cowboys coach, gave up his play calling duties two seasons ago and says he likes the results.

"I do think that it does allow you to really get more involved with the other parts of the football team," Garrett said at the NFL scouting combine Wednesday. "I spent a lot more time with the defense over the last 18 months than I had prior to that, and I just think that's good for your team when you're able to do that -- support your coaches, get a better feel for the players on that side of the ball. So that's worked for us. But trust me, I defer to Mike. He's done a fantastic job, and he'll make the right decision for the Packers."

McCarthy this offseason has handed off play calling to Tom Clements, who received a promotion from offensive coordinator to associate head coach. According to research by, only 10 of the NFL's 32 head coaches call plays, with eight of those on defense.

Ken Whisenhunt, the former Arizona Cardinals and current Tennessee Titans coach, is a former offensive coordinator who has handled it both ways as a head coach. For at least two of his seasons with Arizona, Whisenhunt had his coordinator call plays, but this year with Tennessee he will call plays.

"Game management goes back to feeling how comfortable you are with your staff and handling those situations," Whisenhunt said. "For instance in replay (challenges) or when you're going to have to step away from (play calling) and address something else. We've had success both ways."​

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