Cowboys fire offensive coordinator Scott Linehan

The Dallas Cowboys have fired offensive coordinator Scott Linehan.

A statement from head coach Jason Garrett announced the move:

“This was not an easy decision because of how highly we regard Scott Linehan as a football coach and as a person,” the statement said. “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 change at this (offensive coordinator) position.

“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. 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 going forward.”

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Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan
Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan take the field for a morning walk-through at the team's training camp in Oxnard, Calif., on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016. (Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
CANTON, OH - AUGUST 3, 2017: Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan of the Dallas Cowboys walks onto the field prior to the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game on August 3, 2017 against the Arizona Cardinals at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. Dallas won 20-18. (Photo by: 2017 Nick Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
09 OCT 2016: Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo (9) and Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan talk prior to the NFL game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan during the morning walk through in the team's Oxnard, Calif., training camp on Friday, July 31, 2015. (Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan during the morning walk-through at training camp in Oxnard, Calif., on Thursday, July 26, 2018. (Max Faulkner/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 13: Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan of the Dallas Cowboys looks on from the sideline during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 13, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Cowboys defeated the Steelers 35-30. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Scott Linehan during the morning walk through in the team's Oxnard, Calif., training camp on Friday, July 31, 2015. (Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 4: Offensive assistant coach Scott Linehan of the Dallas Cowboys looks on during the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 4, 2014 in Chicago, Illinios. The Cowboys defeated the Bears 41-28. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 19: Head coach Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys, center, assistant coach Scott Linehan and Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys talk in the first half against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium on October 19, 2014 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 17: Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan of the Detroit Lions looks on from the sideline during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on November 17, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Lions 37-27. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 09: Matthew Stafford #9 and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan of the Detroit Lions look on from the sidelines during the season opener against the St. Louis Rams at Ford Field on September 9, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Rams 27-23. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/Detroit Lions/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 18: Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan watches the action from the sidelines during the game against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum on December 18, 2011 in Oakland, California. The Lions defeated the Raiders 28-27. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
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Linehan had a year left on his contract, and earlier this week Garrett told a Dallas sports radio station that he expected Linehan to return for the 2019 season.

Linehan also had a statement, which was on the team’s official site:

“As (head coach) Jason (Garrett) expressed, we met on Wednesday and had a good, direct talk,” Linehan said. “At the end, we resolved that a fresh start was probably best for both of us.

“The Dallas Cowboys have been nothing but great to me, first class all the way. There’s a reason that they are the most valuable sports franchise on the planet. And I’ll always respect Jason as a coach and I consider him a good friend. I’ll miss my fellow coaches and my players a great deal. But life is about change and growth, and I very much look forward to my next challenge.”

NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo tweeted that this move seemed imminent, as Dallas has been meeting with outside coordinator candidates in recent days. (This sort of throws water on the “mutual decision” thing, but that’s just us.)

The 55-year-old Linehan joined the Cowboys in 2014 as passing game coordinator, but was promoted to coordinator in 2015.

Dallas finished 22nd in the NFL this season in total yards of offense (343.8 yards per game), and 22nd in points per game (20.1). They were 10th in third downs, but 29th in red zone efficiency — they got inside the 20-yard line 50 times during the regular season, with 24 touchdowns, a sharp decline from last year, when the Cowboys were sixth in red zone offense (31 TDs in 52 opportunities).

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