Head Coach and Defensive Coordinator Rolled into One

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 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.

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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.

Copyright Associated Press 2009

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