Last spring, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones gave offensive coordinator Jason Garrett roughly three million bucks to stay in Dallas instead of taking the Ravens' head coaching gig. Most people just assumed that Jones was keeping Garrett around to eventually replace the very replaceable Wade Phillips.
Despite a mid-season slide directly attributable to Tony Romo's injured pinky finger, and a couple demoralizing down-the-stretch losses to the Steelers and Ravens, if the Cowboys beat the Eagles tomorrow, they're headed to the playoffs. And to hear Jones talk, he's quite content with the job Phillips has done. So much so that is sounds like he'll keep Stay Puft Marshmallow Wade around. Maybe.
Jones indicated Friday that he wants to keep the current coaching staff intact regardless of what happens in Philadelphia or the playoffs, should the Cowboys get that far. ...As the Dallas Morning News' Brian Davis writes, Jones stopped short of saying specifically that Phillips would be running things come August, but that seems to be the implication.
"The coaches are in place," Jones said during the Cowboys' practice. "I've said that. How can I be any clearer? We've got our coaches in place. We've got a lot of our personnel in place." ...
"I'm saying that when I look at where we are coaching staff-wise, and when I look at where we are personnel-wise, I see a team that is in place to compete for several years. And I'd like to go in that new stadium with a Super Bowl win."
Jones has never wavered on Phillips' job security. It's not like he's been carrying pom-poms for Wade the last two years, but he hasn't been Steinbrennerin' him, either. But Davis' colleague Calvin Watkins makes a case for why Jones might be leaning towards Phillips in '09: Garrett isn't ready.
A year ago, the Cowboys offensive coordinator was putting the finishing touches on a 13-win season. Now, though, the team has sputtered, and the offense has been ineffective at times. Garrett's star has faded, maybe to the point that Jones now questions if he's ready for the full-time gig.
Garrett is not ready to be a head coach. He might think he is, though he hasn't said it, but his offense has been shoddy this season and there's a disconnect between the offensive coordinator and the wide receivers. I don't believe Garrett and Terrell Owens can exist another season.Watkins also thinks injuries and the lack of other viable candidates helps Phillips' chances. Of course, the easiest way for Wade to keep his job: beat Philly and win a playoff game. Sounds simple until you remember that the last time the Cowboys advanced past the first round of the postseason Bill Clinton was just beginning his second term as president.