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Wade Phillips Stays In Dallas: Here’s Why It Doesn’t Suck

Bryson Treece



It’s inevitable that when a team loses, whether in game two of the preseason, the regular season, or the post season, people are going to start talking about how the coaches did this wrong or the players didn’t execute—they just weren’t focused.

It’s a bunch of baloney.

But the truth is people have opinions. Everyone watching a football game has got his or her own idea of what’s going on and certainly a perspective as to why something is being done wrong. Say hello armchair quarterback.


I watched every Cowboys game this season and I can tell you just as surely as the next guy, they did something wrong.

But at least I’m not afraid to admit it. I’ll go on and on about Dallas did some stupid thing and offer a variety of colorful reasons as to why their heads were too far up their own…

Okay, so I shouldn’t go there now. But the things I’ve been reading about my beloved ‘Boys since that blowout Divisional routing are just irritating. And I’ve had my last nerve poked one too many times by that sharp stick known worldwide as the Dallas media.

Maybe it should make more sense to me since the Dallas media is a worldwide organization—everybody and their momma has a broadcasted or syndicated opinion of the ‘Boys. But wait a minute…the Cowboys aren’t America’s Team anymore, are they? I say once again it’s justified.

So down to the meat of it here, the Vikings tried running up the score.

It’s true and everyone should just deal with it. It doesn’t matter that the Cowboys defense had all but laid down by that point. This wasn’t just another toss downfield for a score. It was fourth down inside the final two minutes of a game with a huge lead within field goal range. Going for it on fourth down in that situation makes it so unbelievably clear that they were running up the score. Get over it.

Maybe Keith Brooking let his emotions get the best of him by yelling at Favre and Children on the sideline, but I certainly can't blame him for being upset. I just hope this leader turned it toward his half-assing teammates too.

Wade Phillips is back, and he will be here for two more years. Why is everyone so hung up on the notion that it’s a bad thing? Let me make this real simple for everyone out there doubting his effectiveness as a head coach.

But first something to chew on.

Throughout most of aughts the Ravens have been known as a dominant defensive team. But Jim Harbaugh wasn’t there that whole time to spearhead their defensive effort. Instead it was Rex Ryan who coached the Baltimore D for 10 seasons, and made his coach look good while doing it, at least defensively.

Okay, retaining Wade Phillips does not signify the end of the Tradition of Excellence. Yes, he hasn’t gotten us to a Super Bowl and he got us one playoff win in three years, and not much else. Last I checked, though, he isn’t the Dallas Cowboys.

Roy Williams failed miserably at being a professional wide receiver.

Jason Garrett took three games, at least, to make adjustments.

Injuries have been a factor at key positions.

Terrell Owens divided the locker room.

That’s some of the bad that is being handed over to Phillips as if he had some sort of mischievous plan from day one to ruin the Cowboys. People love Felix Jones and Miles Austin and they were both around for at least two of those three years—why not pass the buck on to them as well?

The Cowboys won the NFC East title two out of three years.

Dallas had three consecutive winning seasons.

Two of those seasons had double digits in the win column.

Those are some of the good things that should be going into Phillips’ corner along with the bad. Once more people, as with anything in life, you must take the good with the bad.

So no, bringing back Phillips for two more years is not a bad thing. He got this team playing hard, and playing their best at the right time. Sure it’s only been one season where that was true, but as they it’s a “what can you do for me now” league and so 2009 is what should be given the most weight.

Since we’re on coaches, can we figure out who Jason Garrett is bending over for to keep his job?

Opposing defenses stopped falling for the draw play by mid-season, and yet there I was watching draw after draw after draw after draw late in the season. Hey Jason, you’re supposed to stick with what works, not keep pounding on it until it works.

And what is it with Marion Barber lately? Has he already started to wear down or what? He is a bruiser. It’s what got him a big contract with a good team. But he hasn’t been that bruiser consistently since 2007, and only in glimpses since then, don’t deny it.

Felix Jones stepped up late this year and sort of took over as the feature back in Dallas. I don’t know if such a strong word as featured is right for him yet, but he certainly gave the most production.

Finally, where was Jason Witten this year? I know he led the team in receptions, but he was near the other end in touchdowns. This is something I think is best attributed to Jason Garrett. Witten is considered a future hall of famer because he makes the most of his size and strength on every play.

But let me ask, what good is it to have a player like him if you don’t overuse him? That’s a gift that just keeps on giving, why not take advantage.

Well there you have it. My notes on 2009 and a look at what we have going into 2010. I know I left out a lot. It’s going to be a long and slow ride to training camp though.

Nothing gives me greater joy than the experience of being a Dallas Cowboys fan come time to check another victory on the schedule every Sunday. I live Inside the Star everyday and blog on it occasionally, as well. Follow us on Twitter - @InsideTheStarDC

  • Joe

    'Since we’re on coaches, can we fig­ure out who Jason Garrett is bend­ing over for to keep his job?"

    If he is still there come Pre-Season I will find it hard to get excited for the big games later on in the regular season, because I know if we start off slow and get behind he doesn't have what it takes to make quick adjustments and get the team rolling again. I think most of what went on this season was Romo improvising and moving the ball. Someone needs to start a petition to fire Garrett just like they have one going for JJ. Shit has gone on for long enough now!

    • bags030404

      Joe, I must disagree with you here. Jason Garretts offense has been a top 5 offense every year that he has been the OC, and it did not get that way simply because of Tony Romo. It is amazing to me how for years now all I have heard is how bad Romo is, and how he has made sooooo many mistakes, yet now it is his skills that have kept this offense afloat? While I agree that Garrett has made some bad decisions in his tenure (as everyone does) can you name an OC out there who could take this team the way it stands and make it that much better? This team has deficiencies and it is those deficiencies that held them back, it is not all on the OC.

      • Bryson Treece

        It's not all on Garrett. What's on Garrett is having a top 5 offense each year and still being unable to convert on third and fourth and short repeatedly while having the most well-executing and successful offense he's had to date. If you're trying to vindicate Garrett you'll need more than stats. Offense is about points, and while we've gotten plenty of those, we've missed the ones that count. Calling an ineffective Barber over and over doesn't make him effective. It's Garrett's job to recognize what's not working and find something else.

        You and I talked the other day and I mentioned the O-Line needs work, and has for several years now. Romo has done an amazing job of keeping the heat off of Adams, Kosier, Gurode, Davis, and Colombo, or as many have stated it, he has made the line look good with his ability to scramble and make a play.

        Romo has done as much as Austin has to help keep Garrett out of the fire. Maybe it's time people look past the talent and see what, or who, is holding them back.

        I don't know if he should be fired or not. As you point out, he has done something right or the stats wouldn't be part of the argument. But he needs help calling the plays better because we're getting killed by defenses who watch film and know what plays we'll call before we do. The players have executed very well. Even when the play was spotted they still made it happen many times. Sometimes you need a scheme that the defense didn't get a copy of.

        Of course after the Vikings game the focus will be the O-Line. For good reason too, who knew such a reckless pass rush would totally shut us down.

        • bags030404

          Like I said before name an OC that would come in and be so much better than Garrett? I do not think people actually see how bad our O – Line is, screens, and delayed hand offs are gimmick plays or change speed plays, they are not plays that you build an offense around. If that last statement is true, then why do you think we run those plays over and over again? Because they are not good enough up front to run between the tackles! Yes he made some bad decisions this year, but he also made some spectacular play calls. In that Chargers game the offense was unable to establish anything on the ground running outside the tackles, that is why he went to dive plays with Barber, and to be real honest with you, if coach calls "32 Dive" from the 1/2 yard line four straight times, you should be able to man up and get a 1/4 of a 1/2 of a yard per carry and get in the end zone! Be mad, be angry that they lost, but do not stop looking for the real issue just because you do not like Garrett.

  • Bryson Treece

    I'm not abandoning the real issue because I don't like Garrett. I'm simply saying that if an 1/8 of a yard per carry from what is widely considered a top ground unit is what you're hoping for, then maybe as a coach, you shouldn't be trying it on the ground. That's where my problem lies with Garrett.

    He didn't really pick bad plays, and he didn't fail to make things work. He did fail to recognize that an incompletion is worth more than an 1/8 of a yard. At least throwing it he could've had a chance. Something that obviously wasn't there by trying to run between an under-performing line's blocks.

  • Joe

    I am not saying he is totally bad, but like I said when it comes to the big games and big plays he simply can't compete or doesn't know how to adapt to get the O rolling. If your content with 100 draw plays, constant stops when all we need is 1 yard, pitches to Barber (when Felix is obviously the outside threat), or drawing up plays to throw against the top corner on the opposing D on the goal line (Look what Peyton did Sunday with Garcon for example) then by all means Garrett is your man. You say name some one who could take his place, I am sure there is someone out there that could, we don't HAVE to keep him for next year. I tried to give Garrett the chance the past 3 years and for the past 3 years he has turned me against him, and for that I bid him farewell.

Player News

Cowboys Sign Free Agent WR Deonte Thompson

Jess Haynie



Deonte Thompson

The Dallas Cowboys added some speed to their receiver corps today by signing free agent Deonte Thompson. He played for both the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills last season.

Thompson, who turned 29 last month, went undrafted in 2012. He had a quiet to start to his career as a reserve and practice squad guy in Baltimore and Chicago, but finally got a chance to shine with seven starts last year for the Bills. He 27 catches for 430 yards and one touchdown in just 11 games.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

The #Cowboys signed WR Deonte Thompson, per agent @davidcanter. He gets 1-year, $2.5M with a $1M signing bonus.

Deonte brings some much-needed speed to the Cowboys offense. He ran a 4.31 40-yard dash as a rookie, and while he's 29 now he still poses more of a vertical threat than the current Dallas receivers.

Given the low salary in this deal, Thompson may not be seen as much than a replacement for Brice Butler near the bottom of Dallas' depth chart. We also have to wait and see what happens with the draft and other moves this offseason to know where he fits into the bigger picture.

For now, though, Cowboys fans can take a little comfort in knowing the front office hasn't completely fallen asleep at the wheel.

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys: How “Position-Flex” Has Handcuffed The 2015 Draft Class

Kevin Brady



Byron Jones

Over the last few years the Dallas Cowboys have placed a high level of importance on "position flex." They've drafted Swiss-Army knife players which could be moved around to different positions on the field.

By drafting players like Chidobe Awuzie and Xavier Woods last year, as well as Byron Jones in 2015, the Cowboys have tried to find these versatile players who can be used in multiple ways.

While this seems great on paper, this strategy has handcuffed the majority of their 2015 Draft Class, and is a key reason why the Cowboys seem to be in such a tough spot.

Byron Jones

The Cowboys' first round pick in 2015, Byron Jones, quickly became a favorite of mine during his rookie season. Incredibly athletic, long, and skilled in coverage, Jones was able to be both a fantastic cover cornerback and a solid middle-of-the-field safety due to his range.

Due to both injuries to his teammates, and Jones' own versatility, the Cowboys coaching staff couldn't keep Jones in just one spot. Once they discovered how great he was in man coverage against tight ends, they became enamored with trying to play him in the box.

Once in the box, Jones' struggles as a run defender were highlighted, and both the organization and the fans soured on him quickly.

Now it is rumored that Byron Jones will be moving back to cornerback full time. And while I do hope this is the case, the fact that he is in year four, and the Cowboys haven't been able to find their first round pick a permanent home is a huge indictment on their ability to evaluate and develop talent.

Chaz Green

Okay, hear me out.

The former third round pick of the 2015 Draft was brought in to be the swing tackle for the Cowboys his rookie year. Mainly due to injuries, Green did not see the field for much of his first two seasons. When he did fill in for Tyron Smith at left tackle in 2016, however, Green was very effective.

Of course, Chaz Green's last appearance with the Cowboys was ugly, giving up a plethora of sacks against the Atlanta Falcons. But Dallas might've made their own bed with Green during the beginning of the 2017 season, when they attempted to move him to left guard full time.

Instead of getting the increased work at tackle, and continuing to work as the swing tackle for the team in case of injury, Dallas started Green at left guard early on in the year. He struggled trying to move positions, and looked even worse when trying to move back to tackle.

Once again, the position flex bit the Cowboys right in the backside.

La'el Collins

It's 2018 and we are still talking about what position to play La'el Collins on the offensive line. And that is solely on the coaching staff and front office, not Collins.

Collins was brought in as an undrafted free agent in 2015, but was widely regarded as a first round pick heading into that draft. Though he started at left tackle at LSU, Dallas shifted Collins inside to left guard in 2015. After taking over for Ronald Leary as the starter, Collins produced highlight blocks week after week.

Injuries shortened his 2016 campaign, but heading into 2017 the Cowboys decided to shift him back out to right tackle. Despite some early struggles, Collins progressed nicely throughout the year and became a solid starting right tackle. Plus, he has the upside to become one of the top right tackles in the league.

Instead, it is now being rumored the Cowboys might move him back to guard for 2018. And with that news, I continue to pull my hair out over the position-flex decisions this coaching staff and front office like to make.

If the Cowboys want to get the most out of each draft class, and effectively develop their talent, they need to let those players actually develop, rather than move them around each season. Hopefully they now understand this, and allow both Byron Jones and La'el Collins to reach their full potential.

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Player News

Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal

Sean Martin



Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal

At long last, the Dallas Cowboys have their first free agent addition of this offseason. Having lost starters Jonathan Cooper and Anthony Hitchens at left guard and linebacker respectively, the team has added depth at LB with Joe Thomas signing a two-year deal.

The 2018 season will actually mark Joe Thomas' second stint with the Dallas Cowboys, as he was signed to their practice squad in 2015. The team that signed Thomas out of South Carolina State following the 2014 draft, the Green Bay Packers, added Thomas back to their active roster for the 2015 season.

Jon Machota on Twitter

Source: Cowboys have agreed to a 2-year deal with free agent LB Joe Thomas. He visited the Cowboys today. Thomas has played in 42 games over the last three seasons with the Packers. He had a career-high 70 tackles in 2016.

Thomas has spent the last three seasons starting eight games for the Packers, recording 70 tackles and an interception in 2016.

A contingency plan of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith carrying the Cowboys for 16 games at LB requires adequate depth, which is exactly what the Cowboys are typically in the market for come free agency. Waiting longer than usual to make their first splash, the Cowboys absolutely need an addition like Thomas to perform better than last year's FA class.

Used in sub packages by the Packers while also playing special teams - where the Cowboys have lost core players in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber - Thomas will have a great chance to impress two new Dallas coaches in Ben Bloom and Keith O'Quinn.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Sign LB Joe Thomas to 2 Year Deal" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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