IRVING, Texas -- Head coach Jason Garrett's role in the Dallas Cowboys' revamped offensive play-calling process got most of the attention.
Owner/general manager Jerry Jones, however, thinks people have overlooked the most important change. He cited quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson moving from the sideline to the press box as the most significant adjustment to the play-calling process.
Offensive coordinator Bill Callahan had been relaying play calls through Wilson on the sideline all season until Sunday, when Garrett replaced Wilson as the middleman between Callahan and quarterback Tony Romo, with Wilson joining the offensive coordinator in the press box.
“The key there is Wade Wilson,” Jones said Wednesday morning on the NFL Network. “Wade Wilson is a seasoned veteran, not only an outstanding NFL player, but he’s been an outstanding coach. We always wanted to figure out somehow how to get his vision, his skill up in that box.
“When you watch the game the way you and I watch it, it’s a different game than right there on the sideline or behind the center as the quarterback. So we had the advantage of having Wade Wilson upstairs looking down on the game, and then he’d relay that in.
“Of course, Tony makes the decisions out there and has the ability. That was a big part of why that worked so much. He has the ability to call it a run, call it a pass or go to play-action, all of those things. I think we’ve got a great combination. The key ingredient is Wade Wilson upstairs looking at the game.”
It’s not as if the Cowboys morphed into an offensive juggernaut with the changes, although it worked well enough for Dallas to pull out a critical 24-21 win against the New York Giants. The Cowboys scored two offensive touchdowns and accounted for 327 total yards in the win, putting together a 15-play, 64-yard drive to set up the game-winning field goal in the final seconds.
Garrett has downplayed what has been perceived as his increased role in the play-calling process. Jones gives most of the play-calling credit to Romo, not the coaching staff.
“He’s a natural play-caller,” Jones said. “He really is imaginative. When he’s out there running the team, we get to use all that. That was a part of our offseason work, to give him more say-so about how we’re going down the field than he has had in the past. Now, to do that, you’ve got to be in there on Monday and Tuesday with the coaches, not necessarily on the off day with the players. He’s done that, done it religiously, and it’s paying off for us.”