Wade Phillips noticed one day during training camp that cornerback Terence Newman was doing a good job of steering receivers off their routes, so he made a point of letting Newman know it.
Picking up on that is a little thing, really; something most
defensive coordinators would do.
But it's not the kind of detail that would register with many
head coaches - unless that head coach also happened to be the
defensive coordinator, as Phillips is for the Dallas Cowboys.
In a league where coaches often serve as their own offensive
coordinators, Phillips is the only person this season pulling this
kind of double duty.
That's not to say he's the only one doing both jobs. Any head
coach who came up as a defensive coordinator is probably calling
most of the shots on defense. However, the others have a defensive
coordinator, even if it's in name only.
Brian Stewart was Phillips' defensive coordinator last season,
and pretty much became the scapegoat for the December meltdown that
kept the Cowboys out of the playoffs.
Exit Stewart. Now, team owner Jerry Jones didn't hire a
replacement, making the message clear: It's all on Phillips. This
is his defense, his team, and how things work out will determine
whether he's back next season. And that's fine by him.