The phrase Camp Marshmallow is one Dallas Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips coined on the HBO Hard Knocks special that airs again tonight. The term is meant to characterize his coaching strategy of not overworking the players.
It’s a precarious approach for a coach who has a lot on the line this season. Is it the right one?
In this post, I will analyze Phillip’s prior coaching moves, and we will decide if his approach is right for the Cowboys to win a playoff game, let alone a Super Bowl.
Phillips was the head coach in Buffalo the last time that team made it to the playoffs. Nearing an upset of the heavily favored Tennessee Titans, Phillips thought the game was won. All they needed to do was kick the ball away and make a tackle. We know what happened. You’d be surprised how a reminder to the special teams to do their jobs in a situation like that can keep the players on their feet. Strike one against the Camp Marshmallow Strategy.
One that is still fresh in the minds of Cowboys fans is the two-week layoff the team had before the playoff game against the New York Giants. Instead of requiring players to watch film, or study plays, he allowed certain individuals to basically do what they wanted. We know what happened. We also know the result of the game. I don’t care what anyone says; if you make the playoffs, there is no vacation time. You want a vacation, you can do one of two things: Miss the playoffs or lose. The Cowboys lost. Strike 2 against Camp Marshmallow Strategy.
Bill Parcells demeaned his players. In the modern era of football, where two-thirds of all players are also quasi-rap stars, some didn’t take kindly to the Tuna’s rough approach. Well, Phillips is about as rough as silk. He likes to take it easy on his players. The jury is still out on whether his soft approach works. If you rate his success based on his playoff wins, he’s a complete failure. Wade Phillips has not won a playoff game as a head coach.
A Wade Phillips’ training camp is one without much full contact or pads. He does this despite the fact that the Cowboys practice in un-Texas like weather in Oxnard, CA. I am not really sure what advantage there is not preparing the players for what may be a few months of rather hot weather for homes games. The team had a total of 24 practices with only seven twice-a-day practices. It seems this approach is affecting the second-team offense and defense and the special teams the most. They didn’t seem well rested or prepared to me. If we want to base the success of this approach on the first pre-season game, then Strike 3 for the Camp Marshmallow Strategy.
Enough of the marshmallows, Phillips. He will never face a more serious season than this one. Too much depends on it, and don’t want to be thinking of Smores in January.
But, you decide: