Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Updated: January 6, 2:33 PM ET
Jones delays decision on Phillips' future
By Calvin Watkins
IRVING, Texas -- Dallas owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Tuesday he won't evaluate coach Wade Phillips' job status until the Cowboys' season ends.
A meeting between the two could happen this weekend if the Cowboys lose Saturday's NFC wild-card game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Cowboys Stadium.
The Cowboys have a team option to retain Phillips for the 2010 season, and neither side has talked about a renewal.
"It's not something I wanted to talk about here," Jones said in a 35-minute news conference with reporters at Valley Ranch on Tuesday. "A month ago, when the issue was more about changing [coaches], that was kind of the tenor or where the energy was. I didn't talk about it then. I don't want to talk about it now."
Jones did say that Phillips' contract was designed for three seasons with an option for another to benefit the club. And when Jones and Phillips do meet, the possibility of extending it beyond 2010 will not be on the table.
Jones said he's fond of his relationship with Phillips and is respectful of how information is released regarding his coach's future.
"There's no secret in this organization that I have a real affinity [for Phillips]," Jones said. "But let's get real, it shouldn't be a factor here, but there's no secret here that I think a lot of him and his family.
"And there's no question of our ability to communicate without walking on eggshells. That's a good thing, because as you've heard me say, he will bite. He's not affable Wade. He's not necessarily offensive, but he's got strong thoughts and ideas and differing views in many areas about this football team."
Phillips has won two NFC East titles in three seasons with the Cowboys but is 0-1 in the postseason. Phillips is 33-16 in Dallas and has elevated the Cowboys' defense, something Jones was looking for when he hired him in 2007.
Dallas finished the 2009 season ranked ninth in total defense in the NFL and fourth against the run. The Cowboys also allowed the second fewest points in the league.
But how the team performs in the postseason could decide Phillips' fate. The Cowboys haven't won a playoff game since 1996, and Phillips is 0-4 in the postseason overall.
Calvin Watkins covers the Cowboys for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.