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

Bryson Treece

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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.

Hi.

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

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6 Comments
  • 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.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/dcnation 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.

        • https://insidethestar.com/ 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.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/dcnation 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.

Game Notes

#SEAvsDAL: Betting Preview, Trends, And Prediction

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Wishlist Christmas Edition: Seahawks @ Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys found a way to get their first win last Sunday, defeating the New York Giants from start to finish, 20-13.

Now at 1-1 and locked in a three way tie for 1st place in the NFC East, Dallas is looking to string together a few victories and create some early separation. Seattle is now sitting at 0-2, and while that's typically a hole teams cannot climb out of in the NFL, the Seahawks will be desperately fighting to avoid an 0-3 start.

The Seahawks opened up as 3 point home favorites against the Cowboys, with the over/under set at 44.5 points.

Dallas Cowboys

After an abysmal season opener against Carolina, the Cowboys came out firing against the Giants on Sunday night. Dallas led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter, and ended up holding on as the Giants made a late garbage-time run.

Dak Prescott looked as comfortable in the pocket as he as in weeks, finding Tavon Austin for a 64 yard touchdown pass on the opening drive. Ezekiel Elliott scored another rushing touchdown, and the Cowboys defense was straight up dominant.

Now, the Cowboys defensive line has another chance to increase their sack total against the Seahawks' weak offensive line. And you know DeMarcus Lawrence is salivating.

Dallas improved to 1-1 straight up and against the spread, covering the 3 point spread set by Vegas a week ago. Both Cowboys games have gone under thus far as well.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks fell to 0-2 on Monday night with a tough road loss to the Chicago Bears. Khalil Mack dominated the Seahawks offensive line, dictating protections and keeping Russell Wilson uncomfortable all night long.

The Seahawks haven't been able to get much of a run game going this season, despite their insistence upon doing so. Russell Wilson is their offense, and if the Cowboys can pressure him and force him into hero-ball throws, they should have success on Sunday. After all, this was the Bears recipe for success on Monday night.

Seattle is 0-2 straight up and 0-1-1 against the spread this season.

Trends

  • The score total has gone under 5 straight Cowboys' games.
  • Dallas is 2-4 against the spread their last six times playing at Seattle.
  • Seattle is 1-5 against the spread their last six games at home.
  • The under has hit 4 of the last 5 Cowboys/Seahawks games.

Prediction

While I've thought hard about picking the under for the third straight week (I'm 2-0 doing so), I'll pick the actual game for you guys this time. I think the Cowboys will get this road win and improve to 2-1 behind dominant defensive line play and a strong running game.

This match up favors Dallas in multiple ways and I expect them to take advantage of Seattle's weak spots.

I like the Cowboys +3 a lot this Sunday.



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Dallas Cowboys

Kris Richard, the Cowboys X-Factor Against the Seahawks

Brian Martin

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Top 5 Storylines to Watch in Cowboys 2018 Season Opener 1
(AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

In the NFL, wins are hard to come by. That is why teams do their due diligence each and every week to try to come up with some advantage, however slight. This week, the Dallas Cowboys may have the biggest advantage they could possibly hope for over their opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, and he goes by the name of Kris Richard.

The hiring of Kris Richard may have been Dallas' biggest offseason move. We have already seen in the first couple of games of the 2018 season the impact he's had on the Cowboys defense. The entire defensive unit has been playing possessed and has pretty much dominated their opponents. I believe Richard deserves the majority of the credit.

But this week is different. The Dallas Cowboys travel to Seattle for a Sunday afternoon game against the Seahawks, who are a tough opponent when playing at home. History hasn't always been kind to the Cowboys when playing on the road in Seattle.

In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Tony Romo doesn't still have nightmares about playing in Seattle. A mishandled snap on a routine 19 yard field goal attempt ended up costing the Cowboys a playoff victory in 2007. Then he sustained the back injury that would ultimately end his career in a meaningless preseason game against the Seahawks in 2016.

To say history hasn't been kind to the Cowboys in Seattle would probably be an understatement. But still, that's where they're heading for this Week 3 matchup.

Kris Richard

Dallas Cowboys Assistant Coach Kris Richard

Luckily, I believe the Dallas Cowboys have an ace in the hole in 2018. I think their new Passing Game Coordinator and Defensive Backs Coach, Kris Richard, is going to be the X-Factor. Who could give you more inside information than someone who spent the last eight years with Seattle as both a coach and a player than Richard?

Kris Richard should know just about all of the ins and outs about the Seattle Seahawks, especially on the defensive side of the ball since he served as their Defensive Coordinator the previous two seasons before joining the Cowboys. But, his knowledge of their offense could prove to be invaluable as well.

Richard has seen the Seahawks offense and Russell Wilson on a daily basis in practice firsthand. He should have a very good understanding of not only their tendencies, but what types of plays they run out of different formations. It should be just like having a spy within their own huddle.

Now, having inside information is one thing, but executing the game plan is something different entirely. Kris Richard can possibly predict with high probability exactly what the Seahawks plan on doing, but it falls on the Cowboys players as to execute the game plan.

In the end, this game will ultimately come down to which team executes better on the field Sunday afternoon. The Dallas Cowboys may have an X-Factor in Kris Richard, but he's not the one suiting up against the Seahawks. It all falls on the player's shoulders, as it always has.

Do you think Kris Richard can be the Cowboys X-Factor against the Seahawks?



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Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Reunion with WR Brice Butler Makes No Sense

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys Headlines - Does Brice Butler Deserve A Bigger Offensive Role?

The Dallas Cowboys have brought back Wide Receiver Brice Butler, who was with the team from 2015-2017. The reunion is a head-scratching move given the team's current stockpile of receivers, and especially given Butler's lack of impact during his previous run in Dallas.

There's no question that Dallas could use some more juice in the passing game. So far the post-Witten, post-Bryant era has only seen 165 yards-per-game out of Dak Prescott and his current receiving options.

I can understand the Cowboys getting antsy about this low production. I can understand the feeling that waiting for chemistry to develop between Dak and new faces like Allen Hurns and Michael Gallup, or any one of these young tight ends, could be damaging to the season.

But when you need a spark in the offense, it seems odd to turn to a guy who was in your system for three years and never had a huge game.

Let's just look at Butler's top five statistical performances as a Cowboy:

  • 5 catches, 41 yards, 1 touchdown (Week 4, 2016)
  • 2 catches, 90 yards, 1 touchdown (Week 3, 2017)
  • 2 catches, 50 yards, 1 touchdown (Week 17, 2017)
  • 4 catches, 74 yards (Week 16, 2015)
  • 4 catches, 60 yards (Week 17, 2015)

No games with over 100 yards. No games with more than five catches. No games with more than one touchdown.

I'm not trying to slam Brice here. He is what he is. This is all about trying to understand the logic of the Cowboys' front office in making this move.

Cowboys Blog - Terrance Williams Tuesday: #TWillTuesday 2

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

If the idea was to bring in a guy who Dak Prescott had more familiarity with, then why not give Terrance Williams more playing time? He's already on the roster and buried on the depth chart, getting the fewest snaps of all the WRs last week.

If you've followed my work for long, you know I'm no fan of Williams. But even I can admit that he's been more productive and effective in this offense than Brice Butler ever was.

If you're bringing in Butler to be a vertical threat, isn't that what you signed veteran Deonte Thompson for? Last year, playing for two different teams with shaky QB situations, Thompson had 38 catches for 555 yards. Brice hasn't had a single season close to that.

What about Tavon Austin? Just three days ago, Austin had a 64-yard touchdown. Did we really need another guy for field stretching? And even if so, what in Butler's history indicates he can do something that Thompson or Austin can't?

Don't forget about Hurns, Gallup, or Cole Beasley either. They're not vertical receivers, but they're still the top three guys in the offense.

If you're a Brice Butler fan, you've likely argued that his lack of production in Dallas was from a lack of opportunities. That may be true, but how has that changed in 2018? There are more mouths to feed than ever at WR.

What is Butler going to do now, that he didn't for three years, to earn more looks?

Should The Cowboys Consider Adding Troubled WR Josh Gordon?

Former Browns WR Josh Gordon, now with the Patriots

If Dallas was really concerned about adding an offensive spark, the opportunity was out there this week with Josh Gordon. The Patriots got him for a conditional 5th-round pick from Cleveland just yesterday.

I can understand why Dallas, given recent issues with Randy Gregory and David Irving, were reluctant to add a player with such a notorious history of substance abuse. But if the no-nonsense Patriots were willing to give him a shot, why not the far more liberal Cowboys?

If Gordon was one problem child too many, what about Jordan Matthews? The former 2nd-round pick is still just 26 (Butler is 28) and had over 800 yards in each year from 2014-2016. He had a down year in Buffalo in 2017, as anyone would, and then didn't make the Patriots squad this year due to an injury.

Whether it's on your own roster or out in the open market, there seem to be profitable options than Brice Butler. The chance for him to be the next Laurent Robinson came and went; the same QB and the same Offensive Coordinator are here.

Is there really some juice left to squeeze here?

There's an old saying that, "if you have two quarterbacks, you don't have any." I think the same logic applies to having seven wide receivers. There was already a logjam, and Dallas didn't even cut one of them to make room for Butler.

So yeah, I don't get it. I'm perplexed why they added anyone at all, this early in the year, while their current receivers are all healthy and still trying to find their role in the offense.

And if the Cowboys really felt that had to make a move, why the heck did they bring back this guy?



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