Friday News & Notes

Despite reports that Wade Phillips will take over play-calling duties from defensive coordinator Brian Stewart, the Cowboys insist that nothing has changed.

Sure, Phillips will take a more hands-on role with the defense going forward, but according to the Cowboys, Stewart will still be the primary play-caller.

"If I was demoted I wouldn't be smiling," Stewart said. "Me and Wade have operated the same. That's what he was trying to say. I think he wants to spend a little more time. He's going to spend a little more time with us. That's exactly what he said."

According to several Cowboys players, Stewart has been calling the signals in practice and they expect him to call them in the game on Sunday.

Phillips has refused to acknowledge any of the play-calling speculation, only that he will get more involved.

"I'm just trying to help him," Phillips said of Stewart. "Nothing's changed, except I'm going to be helping more. I can help more than I have. When I step back and look at it, I say, 'I'm losing some of my expertise' even though I'm in there on a lot of the meetings. I'm trying to be more proactive."

OTHER NOTES: TE Jason Witten is not ready to push the panic button, although the Cowboys have lost three of four and are riding a two-game losing streak.

"We're urgent," he said "We understand what has to take place in order for us to win. This isn't the road we wanted to go down, but this is where we're at, and we just have to step up and lead."

--WR Roy Williams has a new five-year deal worth $45 million, including $27 million in guaranteed money over the first three years of the deal. It includes no signing bonus but has option bonuses of $10 million and $9.5 million in the first two years of the deal.

--SS Pat Watkins is back at practice after missing the last three games with a neck strain. But look for Keith Davis to continue to start at strong safety now that SS Roy Williams is out for the season with a fractured forearm. Watkins initially replaced Williams until he was injured himself.

--LB DeMarcus Ware can extend his league-record (since it became an official statistic) sack streak to 11 games with a sack against the Buccaneers. It would tie Harvey Martin for the longest in club history.

--LB Zach Thomas leads the team with 86 tackles. But they are largely hollow numbers as he has no tackles for loss.

CowboysHQ Top Stories