Jerry Jones has never fired a coach during the middle of the season. If he would have done so, certainly Barry Switzer taking a gun through airport security would have been the most justifiable reason in addition to the Cowboys lackluster win/loss record. Chan Gailey subsequently had two average winning regular seasons and was fired after the conclusion of the second season. Dave Campo was allowed three consecutive 5-11 seasons before being terminated at the conclusion of his third season.
Every story discussing the causation of the Cowboys 1-3 start will question whether Wade Phillips’s days in Dallas are numbered. Jones has said that he doesn’t believe that installing a new head coach will improve the teams chances to recover from their dismal start. He believes that continuity is the Cowboys best bet.
But the real question is, which awful alternative is best? This team has the talent to finish the season at either 9-7 or 10-6 despite their dreadful start. If Phillips is at the helm and the team finishes 10-6, he would seemingly be allowed to continue coaching in 2011. After all, he is under contract through 2011. However, if Phillips is fired by Monday morning, it would be a shock if Jason Garrett were not his replacement. Yes, Campo has previous experience as a head coach (having proven that he is not qualified for the position). Maybe Jerry would hire a retired coach as the replacement. Last year, Mike Shanahan refused the offer to be the head coach of the Redskins indicating that it would be nearly impossible to take over a new team and install his offensive scheme during the middle of a season. Without question, any highly qualified candidate would have similar reservations.
So that now leaves us with Garrett as head coach with Campo taking over as defensive coordinator. The Cowboys then finish 10-6 and Garrett is hailed as a genius and given a 4 year contract extension. And then reality hits. We have to live with another four years of undisciplined offensive players, players committing penalties with zero retribution, questionable offensive schemes that are described as simple and predictable by the opposition, and a pass/run ratio that is just embarrassing.
The final option is simply letting this year year play out, firing Phillips and Garrett and starting from scratch with a disciplinarian coach. The players were sloppy when Bill Parcells was roaming the sideline. At least the fans can take solace from the fact that they will get yelled at and be held to a higher standard.
There doesn’t appear to be a Landry, Shula, Walsh, Parcells, Johnson, or Belichek available. So pick your poison. Socrates had hemlock – he had it easy.