Perhaps, though, it has less to do with who is holding the play sheet, and more to do with the way the players deploy.
Though the choice was made several days before kickoff, the coach of the Green Bay Packers played his cards close to the vest. Aside from himself and Tom Clements, the associate head coach who called plays for the first 12 games of the season, McCarthy said only "a couple other people" were informed of the change before news broke Sunday morning.Being predictably good is a good thing. Being good in unpredictable ways is also valuable.
"I don't know how other coaches view the play callers," McCarthy said after the game. "But there's a lot of time I know on our end that we spend on play sequencing and things like that as you prepare for certain guys, and you have a history on certain coordinators and play callers."
McCarthy correctly assumed that opponents would likely study his trends as a play caller. For the previous nine years, McCarthy ran the offense on game day, so patterns have probably developed.
Equally important for the Oakland Raiders will be an analysis of McCarthy's first game back calling the plays, and already a number of interesting trends could be gleaned. At the forefront of those tendencies was the renewed vigor with which McCarthy chose to involve wide receiver Randall Cobb, a player whose season was largely defined by subpar production.
Deployed in a variety of ways — from the slot, from the backfield, from the unexpected post of an outside receiver — Cobb touched the football more times against the Cowboys than he had in any game this season.
Cobb's 11 combined rushes and receptions reflected usage rates unseen since 2014, when he had 12 games with six or more touches.
This time of year, being predictable at establishing a running game might be the most valuable.