I am not the only Dallas Cowboys writer questioning the skills of Wade Phillips. Jean Jacques-Taylor has a great column here about Phillips.
Jerry Jones is sticking behind Phillips early on, which is typical of owners and head coaches after a big loss. But we know Jerry Jones is considering a shake up. This was a humiliating loss for him.
“It does not change my thoughts on Wade,” Jerry Jones said of the loss. “He’s our coach. “But this was a significant setback. I hate it for our fans. We had a tremendous opportunity as players and coaches, and we didn’t take advantage of it. We missed a great opportunity.”
It sounds like Taylor wrote right out of my blog today because we are on the exact same page with our criticism.
When you have 12 Pro Bowl players, you’re supposed to be able to win at least one home playoff game. This team, however, played its best football of the season in the first half of its November win over Green Bay. It never came close to reaching that level again. That’s the head coach’s responsibility. His only job is to make sure the team is ready to play, and Phillips failed to do that in the season’s biggest game.
Taylor also discussed the defense. Phillips, famed for his defensive coordinating skills, certainly didn’t make this defense one of the NFL’s elite in his first year as coach. We expected he would do better, as Taylor points out:
The man who occasionally calls himself Mr. Fix It was hired to make this a dominant defensive unit. At no point Sunday did the defense, his baby, seize control of the game. The Cowboys held Brandon Jacobs to 54 rushing yards and Eli Manning to 163 passing yards but didn’t force a single turnover. And the seven-play, 71-yard touchdown drive they surrendered in the final 53 seconds of the first half gave New York all the belief it needed to win the game. In the second half, the Cowboys lost their poise, making mistake after mistake after mistake. There were penalties, dropped passes and mental errors.
And how does he end his column? He does so with a graph:
|1993||Denver||L, 42-24||LA Raiders||Wild card|
|1998||Buffalo||L, 24-17||Miami||Wild card|
|1999||Buffalo||L, 22-16||Tennessee||Wild card|
|2007||Dallas||L, 21-17||NY Giants||Divisional|