Following the humiliating loss to the New Orleans Saints, the Dallas Cowboys shifted around responsibilities for some of the assistant coaches. Quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson, who had been stationed on the sidelines where he called in plays to Tony Romo, was moved to the booth to assist offensive coordinator Bill Callahan. Wes Phillips, formerly upstairs with Callahan, moved back to the sidelines and head coach Jason Garrett assumed responsibility for calling in the plays. Many have assumed that this might be a sign of future changes to Garrett's staff, perhaps a sign that Callahan may be out in Dallas. This is not necessarily the case, as BTB member and resident NFL scout, Birddog26 tells us.
Changes in Dallas are about getting more eyes up top to focus on different areas of field and comunicate it quickly to sideline/players cont— Birddog26 (@Birddog26) November 23, 2013
It is a very similar way that Pats and Saints manage game and communicate gameday— Birddog26 (@Birddog26) November 23, 2013
Remember, Wade Wilson is a former NFL quarterback. It stands to reason that having a quarterback who has played at the game's highest level would be an asset to have assisting the offensive coordinator as he calls the offensive plays. Jason Garrett explains:
"I thought it was an opportunity to get Wade upstairs to see the game that way. Wade’s got great eyes. He sees the game as well as anybody I know. Just getting him up there I thought was good for us."
During the bye week, the Cowboys recognized that Wade Wilson was an asset that they were not using to his fullest extent; an additional set of eyes that are trained in how a quarterback reads the defense makes sense. By making the move to the booth, he now has a better view of what opposing defenses are doing, and thus can provide Callahan and Garrett with better input on how to counter what the opponent is trying to accomplish.
Jerry Jones, the Cowboys owner, offered his assessment of the move.
"The decision was to give Wade, who is standing on the sidelines an aerial view of the field. It was all about that and it’s a skill that we've long [for], since [we] haven’t taken advantage of Wade Wilson. Wade Wilson is outstanding and can do a better job for us."
Despite some speculation that the move is an early indication that Bill Callahan is on his way out, this move should not bee seen in that light. For now, it was made simply to take advantage of the opportunity to use Wilson's skills in a much more efficient manner. As Tony Romo stated after the game, having Wilson's expertise in the booth proved to be helpful in the play-calling.
Naturally, one game, especially one played in the conditions that the team played in on Sunday, is not enough time to gauge the impact of the changes that were made. The Cowboys will be doing that over the remainder of the 2013 season. Still Jason Garrett is pleased with what he saw against the Giants.
"I just thought the whole thing worked out well, just a way for us to change things up a little bit, maybe get the communication going better, making better adjustments as the game goes on, I thought for the most part we did a good job. Again, it’s hard to tell in a game like this and the conditions aren’t great. You aren’t able to execute maybe quite the way you want to, but for the most part I thought we handled it well."
While only time will tell if the move will be successful, it does raise one question in my mind. Wade Wilson has been the QB coach in Dallas since 2007, what made the team wait so long to take advantage of his abilities?