Jerry puts the muzzle on Wade Phillips

February, 20, 2009
2/20/09
2:01
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

In an effort to plug the leaks that have made Ed Werder the most feared man at Valley Ranch, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has put a gag order on all his employees, including head coach Wade Phillips. For those of us who cut our teeth during the Parcells era in Dallas, the silencing of assistant coaches isn't a new concept. In fact, I came to embrace the concept.

The more Parcells did to muzzle his assistants, the more they wanted to talk. And some of my best sources at Valley Ranch were cultivated during that time period. (Never mind the fact that most of them are employed elsewhere now.)

But the Phillips gag order is highly unusual. In fact, I called around to some of my colleagues in the business this morning (Farmer, Chadiha, Darlington, Archer) to see if they'd ever heard of something like this. Well, they haven't.

Could you imagine what Parcells' response would've been had Jones told him that he was forbidden to speak to reporters at the combine? He would've laughed at him and then walked over to say hello to Gary Myers and Peter King. Even puppet head coaches Chan Gailey and Dave Campo were never subjected to something like this.

Jones thinks he's circling the wagons, but what he's really doing is further marginalizing his head coach. And quite honestly, Phillips was doing just fine on his own.

In his state-of-the-team address following the season, Phillips promised to change his approach. No more Mr. Softy was his rallying cry. But by becoming perhaps the first head coach in the league's modern history to be silenced, he looks as powerless as ever.

The Countdown to Continuity continues in Dallas. Isn't this fun?

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