I've got a theory; tell me what you think of it.
In 2008, the defense sucked until Wade started taking a bigger role on D, even though Stewart still looked like the guy in charge.
Starting with that Tampa game, when Phillips took over the D, the offense started playing worse, at first because Romo was out, but even when he came back, the O wasn't doing half of what the D was doing.
It seemed for the last half of the season that whenever the D played well, the O played poorly, and when the O played well, the D played poorly. Going up against the best defensive teams in the league, the Cowboys still stayed in the game until the end.
Before the Tampa game, when Romo was playing the offense did great, see week 2 against Philly for an example. You can even look at the Baltimore game for an example. Both teams were pretty even throughout the game, caught in a strong defensive game. But when the Cowboys started driving to score late for the win, the D completely collapsed. Makes you wonder.
The O averaged 27 points a game before Wade took over the D, while the D was giving up an average of 25 points a game. That's over the first 7 games of the season.
After Wade took over the D, and I'm excluding one game since the blowout loss to the Eagles really can't be explained by any one thing, the Cowboys went 5-4. That's 20.88 points a game on O, with the D giving up 18.25 points a game over the final 8 games (excluding the 44-6 loss to Philly).
There were six games that we scored no more than 14 points, three without Romo, and one of those being the game that vaulted Phillips into a more active role on D, against the Rams.
Now, with the exception of a couple of games against Seattle and San Francisco, we only scored more than 14 points in two games, once Wade got the D going. Both were losses, to New York and Baltimore.
Maybe I'm seeing the numbers wrong, or maybe I need to break it down further, like by yardage per quarter on both sides of the ball, but it just seems to me that Wade Phillips is a bigger part of the team's success than anyone else.
When our defense shut out a team, or damn near it, we didn't score more than a couple of touchdowns. And when we did score some points with the ball, the D didn't stop the other team from scoring when it mattered. It's almost as if Wade would go back and forth between Garrett and Stewart, and which ever one he was with, their unit had better production.
What if the problem is that Wade was really making the good things happen, and yet he was spread too thin between two coordinators that couldn't get it done alone?
If that is the case, then bringing Dan Reeves makes sense, not firing Phillips makes sense, firing Stewart makes sense, keeping Garrett doesn't make sense.
I only see one bad decision there, keeping Jason Garrett. Again, the numbers may be skewed by other factors, but maybe they show when Wade is giving more attention to one side of the ball over the other, that he gets production up on his chosen unit while the other flops around a bit until his return. Shouldn't Garrett be capable of doing this on his own? Stewart was expected to do it, and was fired when he couldn't.
In either case, the offense is the weakest spot coaching-wise, so bringing in a highly intelligent offensive mind, and aggressive coach like Dan Reeves to consult on the O is a good choice. It just makes sense … doesn't it?
It allows Wade to be more involved with the D without having to worry about the O in his absence. It would even allow Wade to be the HC and DC next year, since the OC has a HC figure in Dan Reeves to guide him.
Just a thought.