By most accounts, Jerry Jones and the Cowboys have had a pretty good off-season. Consider…
- They rid themselves of the one-man wrecking crew, so he could be unleashed on the poor, unsuspecting slobs in Buffalo;
- They cut their losses with washed-up SS Roy Williams;
- They addressed the safety issue with Sensabaugh;
- They lost Canty, but replaced him for much less money with a guy who may not be even a half-step down in quality;
- They avoided Redskinitis and didn’t spend stupid money on pipedreams.
But the one thing Jones didn’t do is the one reason I have extra-low expectations for the 2009 campaign. He didn’t rid himself of his hand puppet. Wade Phillips remains the Cowboys’ sorry excuse for a head coach, despite the incredible weaknesses he has shown as a leader:
- He is an excuse-maker. Whenever his team loses, he wants to talk about how they won this battle or did that thing, and if only this or that had happened differently, they would have won. When it comes to head coaches, stats are the refuge of losers. The winners point to the scoreboard.
- His constitution is too weak to handle the intense scrutiny and heat applied to the coach of the Dallas Cowboys. He is often put on the defensive by probing reporters. He never seems to command the room or maintain any sort of control. One can only wonder how in the world it is any different behind the closed doors of team meetings.
- He is quick to accept credit for success (see last year’s defensive improvement after he apparently took over the play-calling, and his willingness to point out his success there.) He is just as quick to shift blame. I believe Mr Wade was still calling those signals the last two games of the season, right? And were those not the most disgraceful, heartless losses in recent memory, if not in team history? Yet, he axed his buddy Brian Stewart, who happened to be his hand-picked choice for defensive coordinator.
- He was invisible during the whole T.O – Witten – Romo – Garrett imbroglio.
- He was put under a gag order, and happily so, it seems, during the off-season, furthering his image as a hapless puppet and absolute joke.
- He has never won a playoff game, and winning a playoff game is the minimum measure of success right now.
Yes, Wade is whiny and weak. I believe that very weakness is the reason Jerry enjoys having him around. Jerry has had his fill of strong-willed coaches with massive egoes, ala Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells. Jones will be in charge, in absolute control, even to the detriment of his own team. Wade may have an excuse for every shortcoming, he may say with a straight face that a turd is a gold nugget, he may hide behind stats when losses pile up, but at least he lets Jones be his daddy.
With names like Shanahan, Gruden, Cowher, and Dungy in the free agent market, Jones opted to stay with Phillips. For that reason alone, one has to conclude his off-season to be a failure, and expect little more from his team. They left Texas stadium with a whimper and they will enter their new billion dollar digs with a wimp at the helm.
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Copyright 2009 Silver and BlueBlood