Phillips makes sense as Jones plans Cowboys' future
Posted: Friday February 9, 2007 3:36PM; Updated: Friday February 9, 2007 5:14PM
Wade Phillips may indeed be a bland, insipid choice as the new head coach of the Cowboys, but there is a certain logic to his hiring. He runs a 3-4 defense that fits the club's current personnel. He has previous head coaching experience (and a much better success rate, by the way, than his main competitor for the job, Norv Turner). And he's a born-and-bred Texan, which shouldn't be overlooked considering the two best coaches in Cowboys history also were homegrown.
But the most important factor Phillips had in his favor was his age. Of the 10 candidates interviewed by Jerry Jones, Phillips was the oldest. He'll turn 60 this summer. He's a short-timer in a job that once offered job security but that now, under Jones, has become a turnstile position.
By hiring Phillips, the Cowboys owner can hedge his bets. Jones gets some flexibility for a much more sexy hire the next time the job becomes vacant -- and make no mistake, the Cowboys will be seeking another head coach within the next five years, possibly by the time they open their new stadium in 2009.
Consider this: If the Cowboys win a Super Bowl in the next year or two -- and certainly that's not out of the realm of possibility, given the team's talent level -- Phillips could be prodded to retire on top. And if they don't, then Jones can make the easy call to seek new (and younger) blood.
Perhaps that next hire will be Jason Garrett, the former Cowboys backup quarterback who was added to the coaching staff even before Phillips was hired. For those Cowboys fans who wanted Jones to make a "hot shot assistant" hire that's the current rage among NFL head-coaching vacancies, here you go -- only Jones didn't feel comfortable handing over a playoff team to a coach with no head-coaching experience. So now Garrett can be groomed in Dallas, learn what he can about running an NFL team from an old hand like Phillips, and then move up when the time is right.
Or maybe the next hire will be Bill Cowher, who should be getting a cursory call, at the very least, for every head coaching vacancy that opens up during his time away from the league. Jones may not want to again tread down the dominant personality path that led him to hiring Bill Parcells, but if the Cowboys continue coming up short in the playoffs, he may not have a choice.
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