Jean-Jacques Taylor, a sports columnist for The Dallas Morning News, wrote an article today that I had to read twice because it enraged me so much and I wanted to make sure I read it right. Here is how he starts it:
"Jerry Jones should end the sham and just fire Wade Phillips, if that’s what he wants to do. It would be considerably more palatable than listening to the Cowboys’ owner tell us how committed he is to Phillips as his head coach, while he puts together a coaching staff that’s clearly geared toward Jason Garrett."
Taylor goes on to try and connect the dots of the new coaching staff to show that Coach Wade Phillips might as well pack his bags because the head coaching spot is all Jason Garrett’s to take. This wasn’t any big secret in the first place. But I think Jerry Jones hired Phillips to give him a true shot at winning a Super Bowl. I strongly disagree that the recent hiring of offensive line coach Hudson Houck, talking to Dom Capers for a linebackers coaching position, making Garrett the highest-paid assistant, and bringing back Dave Campo to coach the secondary are all disguised to usurp Phillips’ power. HELLO TAYLOR? We lost all of those positions to the Miami Dolphins. We had to hire someone!
Do we ignore the fact that one of the most successful offensive line coaches in Cowboys history is available? Do we ignore the fact that Dave Campo was/is a pretty successful secondary coach in the NFL? And do we ignore the fact that Jason Garrett might be one of the best up-and-coming coaches in the NFL? Secondly, Phillips does have a connection with Houck; they coached in 2004 together.
You try to argue that Garrett has a better connection with Houck because he coached the line and Garrett was a backup QB for the Cowboys. Come on, Taylor. Why are you reaching for this one so much? Again, I don’t think it is a big secret that Jerry Jones wants Garrett to coach the Cowboys some day. I do think it’s a stretch to say all of these new hires are proof Jerry Jones is trying to undermine Phillips.
If Phillips didn’t want these guys, he’d quit, right? I look at my own job right now, and if they hired a bunch of new editors whom I did not like, I’d find a new job.
But here is what really disgusted me:
"The other day, the Cowboys phoned Capers and asked him to consider joining the coaching staff in some capacity. Now, how do you think that made Cowboys defensive coordinator Brian Stewart feel? He couldn’t possibly like that. Would you? Of course not, even if Capers did give Stewart his first job and has considerably more experience. Whether he has the title of coordinator or not, it’s pretty clear Capers is going to have more juice than Stewart if he comes aboard. Even if he doesn’t, Jerry’s actions have already told Stewart all he needs to know about his future in Dallas, while undercutting his authority."
If Phillips wants to win in 2008, I think it is in his best interest to get someone in there who can either consult or run the defense. The schemes sucked this year, Taylor. We were supposed to see a fresh, new, powerful Roy Williams with this new 3-4 defense. Well, it didn’t work. He had his worst year ever. A wagon of fans want to boot him from the team, drop him cold. I am one of them. Brian Stewart had talent all over the field and it was the same old defense. Sure, they had more sacks, but the new schemes just didn’t work. This is undermining Phillips?
"At the Senior Bowl, Jerry said he wanted Wade to hire his own coaches once Todd Bowles, Kacy Rodgers and Paul Pasqualoni joined Tony Sparano in Miami. Maybe the owner changed his mind."
How do we know Phillips isn’t picking these guys? Not all coaches hire other coaches because of “ties” they have. Come on!
"A year after Bill Parcells left the building, Jerry is completely out of control. He’s running things like he did in the ’90s once Jimmy Johnson left – and we know what a disaster that became. It’s one of the reasons the Cowboys haven’t won a playoff game in 11 years and spent three seasons as one of the NFL’s worst teams."
I won’t argue with you trying to put pressure on the organization to win when it counts. But I think you’re making a huge deal out of nothing here. It’s not like we’re the Washington Redskins, where the owner fired his two best coordinators and still hasn’t picked a head coach. The Cowboys are in better shape than they were last year with the coaching. There’s less pressure on Wade Phillips to win and more on his coordinators.
I called for Phillips firing after the season abruptly ended, but it didn’t happen. He hasn’t won a playoff game ever as a head coach. And it looks like he will have one more year to do that or he’s out of here. The Landry Hat firmly believes the moves PHILLIPS made with the coaching staff will direct the Cowboys in the right direction.