Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
The first step in Wade Phillips' new plan for returning the Cowboys to the playoffs was apparently to identify the nearest scapegoat. And unfortunately, special teams coach Bruce Read was an easy mark. The special teams were awful during Read's two years with the club, so Tuesday's announcement didn't catch anyone by surprise.
A source with the club informed me Wednesday that the Cowboys would not immediately replace Read because they might want to talk to special teams coaches still in the playoffs. ESPN's Chris Mortensen is reporting that Joe DeCamillis, who has been with the Jaguars the past two seasons, is a leading candidate.
The Cowboys were already showing signs of poor play on special teams in the preseason and the debacle in the desert against the Cardinals probably sealed the deal in Week 6. The Cardinals blocked a Mat McBriar punt to beat Cowboys in overtime -- and McBriar had to be placed on injured reserve with a broken right foot.
Read had to use a lot of older players on his coverage and return units after players such as Sam Hurd and Pat Watkins were lost for the year to injury. Adam "Pacman" Jones never lived up to expectations in the return game. As I pointed out in the news story, this isn't Phillips' first rodeo when it comes to firing special teams coaches. He made Bruce DeHaven the scapegoat for the Music City Miracle, and then replaced him with Ronnie Jones, whose NFL career quickly came to an end when the Bills' special teams were dreadful.
The Cowboys needed to make this move, but to think Read was the only problem is pretty naive.
Happy New Year!