If you have read this column before, then you may be vaguely aware that this writer has had coach Wade Phillips squarely in his sights almost since the coach rolled into Valley Ranch to sit on Uncle Jerry Jones’ knee and play puppet/coach for the Dallas Cowboys.
(Don’t you hate it when writers refer to themselves like that? “This writer.” Please. I mean to say “I” have done that.)
Wade Phillips is a great defensive coordinator. Not many would argue against that, even after Chicago Bears‘ offensive coordinator Mike Martz took him to the woodshed and taught him a lesson on in-game adjustments last Sunday. His defense coughing up the occasional hairball notwithstanding, if defensive coordinator was Phillips’ title, then I would be satisfied with the job he has done.
But that is not his title.
Jerry Jones hired the man to be his head coach, and as such he has failed miserably. Two years ago, he led a 13-3 team to a disastrous first-round loss in the playoffs. Last year, he got his first-ever playoff victory against an over-matched Eagles team, only to follow that with a humiliating shellacking in Minnesota at the hands of the aged (or ageless, if you prefer) Brett Favre.
Laurence Peter could do a case study on Wade Phillips…or just make Wade the poster child for his Peter Principle. You remember that one, right? It states, “In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to the level of their incompetence.”
Wade Phillips has now had his shot with four NFL teams. Until last year, he had never delivered so much as a single playoff win. What he has delivered, and continues to deliver, is acres and acres of statistics and excuses. His press conferences after a loss are always contentious, with him inevitably becoming defensive, passive-aggressive, and ultimately wrapping himself in stats.
After the Chicago loss, Wade was asked what adjustments Martz and the Bears made to thwart his efforts to pressure Cutler. Phillips answered, “Not much, the quarterback started getting rid of the ball a little quicker, we knew he was going to run around and we thought he did a good job of that. We had 2 sacks and 2 more sacks that we had roughing the passer on that negated a couple of big plays for us.”
Yes, Wade. Point out how many sacks and pressures you had. Then tell us how many points your team scored and how many they yielded, because the only stat that matters in the playoff picture is wins and losses.
Don’t get me wrong; I love statistics as much as the next guy. I just don’t like it when the man charged with taking a team to the Super Bowl takes refuge in them.
I stopped at Whataburger for a breakfast sandwich this morning and an old fat guy was wearing a worn out, holey, dirty t-shirt that read, “I have a million excuses. Which one do you want?” I asked if he stole the shirt from Wade Phillips and he answered, “No, but I have thought of giving it to him.”
It is time for the excuses to stop. It is time for the Wade Phillips experiment to end. It is time for Jerry to look for a real head coach.
And I do not mean Jason Garrett, who appears to be just another example of Mr. Peters’ genius observation at work.