FRISCO, Texas – It's common to hear about players resting during the preseason finale, but what about coaches?
According to Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy, neither of his primary two coordinators will call Sunday's game against Jacksonville – though the reasons are a bit different.
Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is still unavailable as he returns from the NFL's COVID-19 protocol. Quinn left AT&T Stadium prior to the start of last week's game against Houston after experiencing some mild symptoms.
Secondary coach Joe Whitt Jr. called the defense in Quinn's absence, and McCarthy confirmed that he will do so again on Sunday.
More notably, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore will also not call the game, instead handing those responsibilities over to quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier.
It's not that Moore will be absent, as McCarthy confirmed he'll be in his usual place on the Cowboys' sideline. Instead, McCarthy said he'd prefer for Moore to focus on the season opener against Tampa Bay, rather than crafting a gameplan for a preseason game.
At the same time, it will also serve as an opportunity for Nussmeier to get a crack at a new experience.
"I just think it's a great opportunity to give an assistant along the way to help prepare him for the next step," McCarthy said. "I've called the fourth game a number of years, I've also given assistant coaches the opportunity to present in front of the whole team."
It shouldn't be completely new to Nussmeier. He has extensive experience as an offensive coordinator at the college level, holding that position for Fresno State, Washington, Alabama, Michigan and Florida. This will be his first crack at NFL play calling, though.
Preseason practice isn't just about players, it seems.