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December 06, 2013

Callahan says new 'tweak' in play-calling system benefits all in fast-moving game, plus gives Witten a sideline coach

Offensive coordinator Bill Callahan said the new play-calling mechanics for the Cowboys were a “tweak,” but that any communication system is important because things happen so fast in the NFL, it's difficult for one person to keep up.

“Jason and I talk about it. The game goes so fast, I believe any play-caller around the league is always going to rely on your staff,” Callahan said. “You’re going to rely on guys you coach with. Nobody can do it all by themselves. It’s really a benefit to have experience and have knowledge and have guys who understand the game and can see it and can get some quick answers for you.”

Two weeks ago, the Cowboys moved quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson upstairs with Callahan and tight ends coach Wes Phillips down to the sideline and also gave head coach Jason Garrett a handoff in the play relay from Callahan to quarterback Tony Romo.

In that time, the Cowboys executed two time-management situations. They burned the final 4:45 and kicked a field goal to beat the Giants, and they drove 73 yards after the two-minute warning in the first half for a touchdown against the Raiders.

Callahan said it is not necessarily related, but agreed the communication was good.

“I don’t think any guy who I’ve ever been around can just do it on his own,” said Callahan, a former head coach in Oakland and in college at Nebraska. “Maybe some guys can. … The plays go fast. By the time you call one play, that play is gone and then you’re down on your sheet again. You’re looking, so you really don’t have time to sit there and really digest what just happened sometimes because you’re moving rapidly onto your next progression of thoughts and you’re trying to get it out there as fast as you can.”

Callahan said the move also benefited tight end Jason Witten because it gives him his coach on the sideline.

“I don’t think Wit has had a guy down there in the last two years, so I think that communication has really worked well in our favor,” Callahan said. “Wes sees the game as well as any coach I’ve ever been around. So to his credit, whether it’s Wes or it’s Wade, you’ve got two experienced coaches that really do a great job in the box. Both are great. It’s just a different line of communication.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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