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ESPN: America Yawns

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Concudan, Feb 8, 2007.

  1. Concudan

    Concudan Still Chargin Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 5, 2006
    This was the best the Cowboys could do?


    After weeks of breathless updates, when the only candidates Jerry Jones didn't interview were Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, a decision finally has been made. And the winner of this vast, global, all-encompassing coaching search is … Wade Phillips?

    You're kidding, right? Half of the world schleps to Valley Ranch to meet with Jones about the Dallas Cowboys' job opening and the best he can do is hire a twice-fired head coaching retread who has a playoff O-fer? This is the bold, "How-'bout-them-Cowboys!" move?

    I don't get it. But I didn't get why Jones thought team-killer Terrell Owens was worth the inevitable T.O. knucklehead moments when he signed him a season ago. Or why Jones would hire supposed up-and-comer Jason Garrett to the coaching staff before he hired the actual head coach.

    It would be one thing if Phillips' head coaching record separated him from the other candidates. But it doesn't. Instead of ooohs and aaahs, Phillips' 48-42 mark (including those three first-round playoff defeats) produces yawns and so-whats.

    I know Phillips is an accomplished defensive coordinator. No one questions his credentials when it comes to coaching defense. But I'm not seeing anything on his résumé that screams, "Give him a third chance at being a head coach. He'll get it right this time."

    Now you know why the Fritz Pollard Alliance and the Black Coaches Association often feel as if they're hitting their heads against non-padded goal posts. Here we are, only days removed from celebrating Tony Dungy's Super Bowl victory -- the first African-American coach to do so (to say nothing of two black head coaches in XLI) -- and then Jones hires Phillips.

    Yes, Jones interviewed minority coaches. He interviewed Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, Indianapolis Colts assistant head coach Jim Caldwell, San Francisco 49ers assistant head coach Mike Singletary and Cowboys assistant Todd Bowles. I'm surprised he didn't bring in Oprah or Jay-Z for a chat about the merits of a 3-4 versus the 4-3 defense.

    Jones interviewed white guys, too. Niners offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who called the plays when the Cowboys won back-to-back Super Bowls in the early 1990s, was considered the favorite. But then Turner had the audacity to mention his negotiating wish list to Jones and that apparently was that.

    Garrett, according to the Cowboys' own Web site, was considered a candidate for the head coaching job even after Jones hired him for an unspecified position. In-house guys Tony Sparano and Todd Haley were courtesy interviews (Haley has since taken the Arizona Cardinals offensive coordinator job). And, oh yeah, New Orleans defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs did the Valley Ranch dance.

    And then there was Phillips, whose name percolated to the top of the rumored short list in the last day or so. This is so Jerry Jones. Go against the grain just to go against the grain. Don't let the outsiders tell you how to run your business, dammit.

    It worked for him before. Jones canned the only head coach the franchise had ever known, Tom Landry, then hired former Arkansas teammate Jimmy Johnson, and then won two Super Bowls. Then he hired another Arkansas buddy, Barry Switzer, and won another Super Bowl. And then he entered the abyss.

    Phillips becomes the fifth Cowboys head coach in the last 11 years, the sixth in the last 15. Jones can't help himself. He always wants his hands on the steering wheel. Phillips ... Bill Parcells ... Dave Campo ... Chan Gailey ... Switzer ... Johnson -- they all can sit in the front seat, but make no mistake, Jones is the guy driving the Cowboysmobile, and the guy who keeps getting into these fender benders.

    You know those before and after photos of U.S. presidents? Fresh and vibrant when they take office. Worn and weary by the time they leave. That's how Parcells looked after his four-year term with the Cowboys. Tired. Half broken. Now he's working a toll booth in Nike commercials. Very sad.

    Phillips won't last long. They never do. Johnson holds the record at five years. That passes for stability these days at Jerry Jones Land.

    Jones will defend his choice by saying Phillips has NFL head coaching experience, that Phillips is one of the premier defensive minds in the game, and that his philosophy is better suited to Cowboys personnel. He'll say that Garrett is positioned to become the next great Cowboys play-caller and tutor to quarterback Tony Romo. And he'll blah, blah, blah about the fine pool of qualified candidates he interviewed.

    That's fine. Jones can rationalize all he wants, but in the end there isn't anything about the decision that is defining. Instead, it's an uninspired choice disguised as prudent.

    America yawns. And America's Team becomes even more inconsequential. Remember, Jones and the Cowboys haven't won a playoff game in 10 years.

    Wait, Phillips is 0-3 in the postseason as a head coach, right? And the Cowboys are playoff busts, correct? Maybe this is a perfect fit, after all.

    Gene Wojciechowski is the senior national columnist for ESPN.com. You can contact him at gene.wojciechowski@espn3.com.
  2. Concudan

    Concudan Still Chargin Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 5, 2006
    Phillips likely a good fit for Cowboys

    All I heard at the Super Bowl, from my friends in Dallas, was that the Cowboys' defense was pretty vanilla down the stretch. That the players were complaining about how soft the schemes were, some of it to protect safety Roy Williams in coverage but basically designed so that few risks would be taken. Let's say it was uninspired coaching.

    Well, Wade Phillips will change that.

    His 3-4 defensive designs are aggressive in attacking the quarterback and creating sacks and turnovers. The Chargers, where Phillips last coached the defense, led the NFL with 61 sacks last season and their takeaways were a modest 28, mainly because the secondary was simply average.

    But like all good coaches, Phillips made a costly mistake in the playoff loss to New England by falling back into a prevent defense, allowing Tom Brady to drive the field at the end of the first half for a critical touchdown as time expired. That drive changed momentum and put the Pats back into a game that San Diego's offense had dominated in the first half.

    We can say, though, that Phillips was picked by Dallas owner Jerry Jones because Jones wanted his defense fixed and that he has a lot more confidence in Jason Garrett as his new offensive coordinator than Norv Turner reportedly does. Certain factions of the media harped that Turner didn't believe that Garrett was fully prepared to design and build game plans for Sundays. Turner really likes Garrett and the two would have worked well together, but there were people in San Francisco and in Dallas who kept perpetuating those rumors simply to undermine Turner. Well, it worked.

    Bottom line is something bizarre happened Wednesday night at Valley Ranch. Around dinner time, word was that Jones was going to select Turner, now the offensive coordinator of the 49ers. But he didn't pull the trigger. Was it something good friend Al Davis of the Raiders said? Was it something that former coach Bill Parcells said about Phillips? The other issue is that supposedly Chicago defensive coordinator Ron Rivera wasn't totally on-board about being Turner's coordinator.

    By midnight Eastern, the word was that Jones had changed his mind and was hiring Phillips, one of the first candidates he interviewed. What hurts Phillips, though, is that Greg Manusky was going to be his defensive coordinator, but he took the 49ers' job last week. Plus, Phillips is stuck with Garrett, who has been a NFL assistant for only two seasons.

    Jones, though, knew he kept an ace in the hole. He allowed several assistants to leave the Cowboys, but not Tony Sparano, who basically served as Parcells' offensive coordinator and play-caller last season. Sparano can bring Garrett up to speed on Dallas personnel and what worked and didn't work scheme-wise last season. A couple writers spewing the Turner-is-anti-Garrett theme are Sparano supporters.

    But the signing of Phillips was easier for Jones, too, because if he hired Turner he still had to find a defensive coordinator to fix his defense. Some say secondary coach Todd Bowles is ready to make the jump. Also, maybe Jones was interested in spending big dollars to pry Ron Rivera away from the Bears.

    Phillips, the son of Texas legend Bum Phillips, does have a winning record as an NFL head coach (45-38, including three playoff losses) compared to Turner (59-83-1).

    Phillips had success in Buffalo at the end of the 1990s and his best Buffalo team, one that finished 11-5 in 1999, lost the "Music City Miracle" game to the Tennessee Titans. The Bills had a one-point lead with 16 seconds left in a wild-card playoff game, only to watch in horror as Kevin Dyson returned a questionable across-the-field lateral by Frank Wycheck into a 75-yard touchdown to win 22-16.

    Phillips knows personnel, too, and Jones will give him some room in that area. This is a good hire because Phillips should bring some excitement to a defense that simply looked awful in home losses to New Orleans, Philadelphia and Detroit down the stretch when the NFC East title was lost.

    What's also interesting is that Chargers GM A.J. Smith lost the one in-house candidate that he could have promoted over Marty Schottenheimer.

    This is a double whammy for the Chargers. Phillips is the second coordinator the team has lost this year, meaning Schottenheimer may be more involved in coaching next season because Phillips and former offensive coordinator Cam Cameron had tons of freedom. Remember, San Diego insiders labeled Marty the CEO head coach.

    John Czarnecki is a senior NFL writer for FOXSports.com.
  3. Concudan

    Concudan Still Chargin Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 5, 2006
    Who keeps this carousel in motion? Clowns, of course


    Dallas owner Jerry Jones has spit up on himself throughout the Cowboys' coaching search, humiliating his franchise from his high chair, but it could be worse. He could be the guy running the Raiders.

    The Raiders, the organization that thought it made sense to exhume crusty Art Shell and team him with flaky Randy Moss and Jerry Porter, fired Shell and tried to replace him with an assistant coach from Southern California. That assistant, Steve Sarkisian, decided it was better to be No. 2 at USC than No. 1 at Oakland.

    So Raiders owner Al Davis got the No. 3 guy at Southern Cal, Lane Kiffin. Had Kiffin turned him down, Davis was going to pursue the USC assistant in charge of NCAA compliance.

    Davis has completely lost it, but that's not news. He's a walking Woodstock, a Brylcreem-ed hipster who thinks he's a combination of Jerry Lee Lewis and Vince Lombardi, and he has the ruined franchise to prove it. At the news conference introducing his new head coach, Davis referred to Lane Kiffin as "Lance."

    Al Davis stepped in dog crap years ago and is still leaving a trail, but it could be worse. He could be the guy running the Steelers.

    The Steelers, who had it easy for decades thanks to Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher, had to do some heavy lifting this offseason after Cowher resigned ... but instead got choked beneath the bench-press bar.

    Pittsburgh had two quality candidates on staff in Russ Grimm and Ken Whisenhunt, but dragged out the process long enough to lose Whisenhunt to the Arizona Cardinals, become infatuated with unlovable Chan Gailey, and emasculate Grimm.

    After coming to their senses and jettisoning Gailey back to Georgia Tech, the Steelers narrowed their search to Grimm, Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera and Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin.

    From there Pittsburgh got down to Grimm and Tomlin, and let Grimm believe the job was his. Grimm told his family. Someone told a reporter from a Pittsburgh newspaper. The story got out: Grimm was about to be hired.


    Tomlin got hired. Grimm got destroyed. The Steelers are the only NFL team this offseason to make a minority their new coach, and whatever goodwill that might have earned was lost in the mishandling of Russ Grimm.

    But it could be worse. The Steelers could be the Dolphins.

    Miami got burned by a college winner, Nick Saban, so the Dolphins had the bright idea of hiring a college loser, Cam Cameron, who went 18-37 at Indiana from 1997-2001 despite: A) being considered an offensive genius; and B) having the college game's most unique offensive weapon, Antwaan Randle El, the entire time.

    Recently Cameron had been the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers, where Kirk Cameron could have put up enormous numbers. The Chargers had Drew Brees and then Philip Rivers at quarterback, MVP LaDainian Tomlinson at tailback and future Hall of Famer Antonio Gates at tight end. Cameron Diaz could have run that offense.

    Somehow Cam Cameron was a hot name, but here's how respected he is by NFL players: Sports Illustrated polled 361 players before this season for assistant coaches who would make a good head coach. Cam Cameron received zero votes.

    Come coach the Dolphins!

    The Dolphins had already made a wreck of their search by interviewing 13 candidates in 16 days -- a process that sailed past "thorough" and arrived at "aimless" -- and locking up defensive coordinator Dom Capers for $8 million over the next three years, double what Lovie Smith makes for the Bears. Whoever was going to get the Miami job was going to be stuck with the highest-paid assistant in football, whether he wanted Capers or not.

    This is not a shock. Miami is the franchise that last offseason chose the worst years of Daunte Culpepper over the best years of Drew Brees. Miami hired and lost Saban. Among the 13 candidates to replace him was genetic winner/coaching loser Mike Shula.

    The Dolphins couldn't lick a stamp without written instructions, but it could be worse. They could be the Cowboys.

    Among Dallas' mistakes was the hiring of Jason Garrett as offensive something before picking a head coach ... even considering Gary Gibbs, whose last contribution to football was running the Oklahoma Sooners into a rock ... zeroing in on losers Wade Phillips and Norv Turner in blatant disregard of the NFL's Rooney Rule, which mandates serious consideration for a minority ... then freaking out over the bad publicity and interviewing every minority available, including Dusty Baker and Dwane Casey.

    Now Jerry Jones is stuck with Garrett as his designated offensive coach, the Bears' Rivera as his preferred defensive guru, and Phillips as the reported choice to oversee this potential Mr. Potato Head of a staff.

    Jerry Jones, who hired Dave Campo and Barry Switzer and who tried to unite Bill Parcells with Terrell Owens before embarking on this monstrosity of a coaching search, is the dumbest NFL owner I've ever seen.

    And considering the 840 words you've just read, that's saying something.
  4. in_a_days

    in_a_days dgaf

    Sep 8, 2006

    Congrats on the 10K, CONC!
  5. BFISA

    BFISA Well-Known Member

    Nov 16, 2005
    He's the king of post padders, and my mentor!!:yes: :tup:

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