by Matt Bowen
January 21, 02010
Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips finally got the contract extension that has been talked about and spun in the media for days.
Is this is a good move or a bad move for Jerry Jones and the Cowboys? I like the move and I am going to tell you why.
The first thing we have to realize is that we can’t judge Phillips on the Cowboys loss to Minnesota. When looking at coaches — or teachers for that matter — you step back and evaluate what they did for an entire season or an entire semester.
Did the Cowboys get better, did they improve over the course of the season and did they make the necessary adjustments to put their best football team and best game plan on display every Sunday?
I would have to say yes. We tend to forget — because of the beating they took in Minnesota — that the Cowboys were the NFC East champions this season. Do you not give a coach an extension just after he won the division? Phillips is 33-15 during his tenure as the head coach in Dallas. Good numbers? Without a doubt they are. How many other teams would want those numbers?
But, we once again go back to the playoffs. I agree that the Cowboys looked slow, they looked soft and they looked confused against Brett Favre and the Vikings.
However, if you are Jerry Jones, you have to look at what Phillips has established in Dallas. The defense is young, it is talented and they play a style that is conducive to winning football games in the NFC East. And as much as we talk about the playoffs, winning the division is always the first step and always the first goal when training camp opens.
While a Super Bowl title remains Jones’ ultimate goal, he’s smart enough to know that Phillips made enough progress this season to warrant more time with a team still growing together.
On offense, the Cowboys are good — sometimes very good. They have talent at running back, Miles Austin is a No. 1 WR, TE Jason Witten is — and will always be — a Pro Bowler, and Tony Romo proved to us that he could win in December this season. He is paid like a franchise quarterback and, in my opinion, is the type of quarterback you can build a team around.
Bottom line: this Cowboys team is pretty loaded when it comes to young talent at key positions.
Just like I have written this week when it comes to various coaching changes going on throughout the NFL, the answer doesn’t always lie in a big name or a power coach.
And that is why I think Jerry Jones gets it when it comes to Phillips. This move will be picked apart and dissected from every angle possible today, tomorrow and so on. But, as a former player, if I was in Dallas, I would want Phillips back so I could continue to work on what he has started. They are winning games, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is running a smooth game plan on offense, and they are building something.
Will it eventually turn into a Super Bowl title once again in Dallas? That is the hope, but to get there you can’t start over every three years with a new name. It is a process and the idea is pretty simple: improve each season — which is exactly what the Cowboys have done under Phillips.
Because the teams that don’t, such as the Bills, keep making changes and keep funneling in new coaches, new rosters, coordinators, etc. It is an endless cycle of change that never produces results.
And now, the Cowboys don’t have to start that cycle over again. Phillips is their coach and now they can move on to the offseason with an idea of what they are looking for in free agency and the draft.
Because the system is already in place and it is winning.
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