Wade Phillips calls 911 on Cowboys season

September, 23, 2010
9/23/10
5:35
PM ET


IRVING, Texas -- At the start of his daily press briefing Thursday, Cowboys coach Wade Phillips called for a sense of urgency with his team at 0-2 heading into an interconference showdown with the Houston Texans (2-0) on Sunday.

"Another good practice," Phillips said. "Our minds are certainly in the right place. It's time to call 911, it's emergency. It's time to get things going and that’s where we’re pointing."

Monday saw a players-only meeting followed by planned changes from the coaching staff which included running more plays at a higher tempo and asking players to pay more attention to details.

Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware said the players-only meeting netted a positive result in Wednesay's practice, where things were run at a high tempo. Ware also said seveal veterans such as Bradie James, Jason Witten and Tony Romo spoke out about accountability.

Phillips won't talk about any other changes made, and he got a little feisty when asked if there were any off-the-field changes such as how meetings are conducted and the such.

"If you want to go into coaching just come by my office and I will tell you all these things and we can go into all that," Phillips said. "To sit here to tell you every thing I told the players, every specific thing we changed, all those things, I don’t know. I mean, you know, get out the waterboard and let's go. If this is an interrogation, let's do it. If it's just talking about football, I don’t think everybody out there wants to know exactly what we did on this technique."

Over the last two days, Phillips has been testy with reporters, and he even dressed a few down for questioning whether David Buehler's four missed kicks in Wednesday's practice concerned him. Phillips told reporters they didn't have the expertise to judge a field goal kicker.

It would seem the pressure is getting to Phillips, but maybe not to his team. Ware said the team was having a good time this week, and that was seconded by rookie wideout Dez Bryant.

Players were laughing in the lunch room during the open media period Thursday, and there was loud music blaring from the locker room before practice.

"You see the guys back there laughing and giggling," Ware said. "We're still in this thing. There's no desperation about this [being] the end of the season. It's 0-2. I think the Giants started 0-2 and won the Super Bowl one year. That's sort of behind me. Now, you've got to get some wins. We've got to beat Houston. We've got to get some momentum going."

Phillips has a track record of turning things around.

As coach of the Buffalo Bills in 1998, Phillips' team started 0-3, yet bounced back with a five-game winning streak to save the season. The Bills finished 10-6, tied for second in the AFC East, and reached the postseason, losing to Miami in the AFC wild card game.

Then last year, the 8-3 Cowboys lost their first two December games heading into a road game at New Orleans.

The Cowboys won, 24-17, and finished the regular season on a three-game win streak that clinched the NFC East and a home playoff game.

Things are a little different now with the Cowboys in a hole at the start of the season. Both losses have playoff implications, if you will. Dallas is a game behind in the division and the conference. But with every team at 1-1 in the NFC East, it doesn't mean the Cowboys are out of the race.

"There has been a sense of urgency," Romo said. "Now, results matter. It's a point where we always talk about the process and doing things right. The results are a byproduct of not doing certain things right. We just need to get those things done that allow you to win or lose the game and do them right."
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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