Phillips takes on larger role in Dallas

October, 22, 2008
10/22/08
2:07
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Cowboys coach Wade Phillips has taken over the play-calling duties from defensive coordinator Brian Stewart, according to a team source. On Monday, Phillips had alluded to possible changes, but he wasn't specific.

This wasn't a move Phillips wanted to make because he and Stewart are close friends. Owner Jerry Jones, though, instructed Phillips to make a significant change -- and this is what he went with.

Phillips and Stewart had a lot of success together in San Diego, where they served as defensive coordinator and secondary coach, respectively. Phillips didn't have any say in hiring an offensive coordinator, but Stewart was his first choice on the defensive side of the ball.

In Stewart's defense, he's been without the team's best defensive back in Terence Newman and his replacement, Pacman Jones, was suspended indefinitely for his infamous bathroom brawl. The defense didn't have any depth at outside linebacker because Anthony Spencer has been banged up most of the season, and a Miami Dolphin castoff, Keith Davis, is starting in place of the injured Roy Williams.

Still, Jones needed a scapegoat for the team's miserable play lately, and Stewart seemed like the best choice. Now we'll see if the vaunted Phillips 3-4 looks any different against Tampa Bay.

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