Wade Phillips is finally out as the Dallas Cowboys’ football coach. Owner Jerry Jones simply couldn’t hang on to Phillips any longer after the ‘Boys’ embarrassing loss at Green Bay on Sunday night.
Something – probably a lot of things – is wrong in Dallas and I doubt it is all about Phillips. But clearly he doesn’t have a solution and he had to go and he should have been gone weeks ago. Phillips, poor guy I wonder, though, if the problem is Jones. He’s one of those hands-on owners who doesn’t seem to work well with strong-willed coaches. The problem with that is that coaches are inherently strong-willed, especially the successful ones. When Jones had Bill Parcells and Jimmy Johnson, the Cowboys one. When he’s had softer, more agreeable types, the Cowboys have usually suffered.
Anyway, it’s time for Dallas to move on. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett takes over on an interim basis, and that could be either the worst thing to ever happen to him or to Jones.
If Garrett can’t turn around this ship, or at least get the Cowboys to play respectably, his future as a head coach is in trouble. And if he does get Dallas going in the right direction – say the Cowboys go 5-3 or 6-2 the rest of the way – then what? Jones will feel pressure to hire Garrett permanently, even though it’s difficult to imagine that’s the way he wants to go.
You’d think with so many outstanding head coaches available, Jones would have his pick. Coaching the Cowboys, we know, is a plum situation. But it’s difficult to tell what Jones is thinking about the future. It’s not so hard to understand what Dallas fans want, though. They want, overwhelmingly, former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher, who seems comfortable as a pre-game show analyst on CBS.
In fact, if they took a poll in Dallas (and they will), I’ll bet Cowher would get 60 percent of the vote. Jon Gruden, Tony Dungy, Brian Billick and others would be in the mix, too.
As for up-and-comers, I saw the names of Leslie Frazier (Minnesota defensive coordinator), Perry Fewell (New York Giants defensive coordinator) and Hue Jackson (Oakland offensive coordinator) mentioned. I don’t think Dallas can afford to take an up-and-comer, Harbaugh though, not with so many proven coaches on the sideline.
How about Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh? I’m telling you, that guy is going to be a huge winner in the NFL someday. But he has a mind of his own and I wonder whether he and Jones could co-exist. Harbaugh knows offense and what he’s done at Stanford has been incredible. The Cardinal are one of the most enjoyable teams in the country to watch and Harbaugh’s stamp is all over that team.
His brother, John, is an outstanding coach with the Baltimore Ravens. So there’s pedigree. And Harbaugh was an NFL quarterback for years. It wouldn’t take him any time at all to adapt to the NFL way of coaching.
My top five if I were Jones (and I’d like to have his money):
1. Bill Cowher
2. Jim Harbaugh
3. Brian Billick
4. Marty Mornhinweg (former Detroit coach, now offensive coordinator at Philadelphia)
5. Jon Gruden.
That’s all for today. Sorry for just one item. More tomorrow. Lots more.