Friday, September 24, 2010
Jerry Jones gives vote of confidence
By Tim MacMahon
IRVING, Texas -- Coach Wade Phillips' job is not in any jeopardy, Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said Friday.
"I can just give you a very affirmative 'no,' " Jones told KRLD-FM in Dallas when asked whether he has lost any confidence in his coach, or if Phillips could be fired if the Cowboys fall to 0-3.
Phillips signed a new two-year contract after last season, when the Cowboys claimed their second NFC East title in his three seasons and ended a 12-year playoff win drought.
But Phillips is under fire again after the Cowboys -- who were considered preseason contenders to advance to a Super Bowl that will be played in Jones' new $1.2 billion stadium -- opened the season with losses to two teams that didn't make the playoffs last year.
He referred to this week's game against the 2-0 Houston Texans as an "emergency" situation.
Only five teams in NFL history have overcome an 0-3 start to make the playoffs. The 1998 Buffalo Bills, who were coached by Phillips, were the last team to accomplish the feat.
"I do believe in Wade and the staff and the players," said Jones, who has never fired a coach in midseason. "The thing about it is when you have that kind of commitment, one of the No. 1 things you have it for is those situations. Those people are supposed to really be there in hard times. Hard times. That's when you've got to make your best grade if you're deserving of that commitment and we're in hard times.
"That's why I'm in the saddle with Wade and in the saddle with the staff and the team."
During the news conference after Phillips signed his new deal, Jones made it clear that the contract didn't necessarily guarantee the coach job security. The Cowboys needed to win for Phillips to be assured of a return in 2011.
Phillips, whose job status has been a hot topic the past two seasons, consistently has said that he doesn't concern himself with keeping his job.
"It's my own pride in myself and working at what I do and trying to do better," said Phillips, who is 34-18 as the Cowboys' coach. "We went 11-5 in Houston [as an assistant under his father, Bum Phillips] and we'd just been to the AFC championship game two years in a row. We lost a playoff game and they fired us. I thought I was doing a good job.
"From then on I didn't judge myself on those things, I judged myself on how hard I worked at it and what I tried to do."
Tim MacMahon covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his mailbag.