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Friday, September 24, 2010
Firing Wade Phillips now wouldn't help

By Tim MacMahon



IRVING, Texas -- Jerry Jones put to rest the silly speculation that Wade Phillips might be fired next week.

That getting rid of Phillips after an 0-3 start was ever a distinct possibility is a foolish belief. Jones just doesn’t operate that way. He’s never fired a coach midseason and definitely isn’t going to set the precedent with a coach who is three weeks into a two-year contract.

The idea that the Cowboys would benefit by canning Phillips in the aftermath of a loss Sunday in Houston is simply stupid, as I’ve tried explaining to some of my misguided friends at ESPN 103.3.

If Phillips is fired, who would replace him? Jason Garrett, whose offense can’t score more than one touchdown per week, certainly doesn’t deserve a promotion. Joe DeCamillis, an inspirational leader who might make a good head coach, has his hands full trying to fix a special-teams mess. Do you really want Dave Campo in charge again? And we haven’t even discussed the drop-off with the defensive coordinator if Phillips’ Valley Ranch access card gets confiscated.

Folks in a fantasy world seem to think Jerry can just get Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden or somebody else with a Super Bowl pedigree to replace Phillips on the fly. That’s not the way it works in the NFL. Coaching searches take longer than 10 days. It takes an entire offseason to implement a new coach’s schemes and philosophies.

Firing Phillips after a few weeks would send a clear message that the Cowboys’ season is a lost cause. The odds are stacked against an 0-3 team, but any player, coach or executive ready to roll over at that point has no business being in the NFL.

You can call Jones a lot of things, but a quitter isn’t one of them. If anything, he’s too stubborn for his own good. But, in this case, he’s absolutely right to stick with his head coach through a rocky start of the season.

If this season is ultimately a failure for the Cowboys, Phillips will probably be fired, although the labor uncertainty clouds the picture. Jones can carefully consider all the candidates during the offseason.

September certainly isn’t the time to conduct a coaching search, no matter how loud the knee-jerk crowd gets.