In a bit of a shock to most in the NFL world, the Cowboys have shunned former cooridnator Norv Turner and are set Thursday to name former Bills head coach and Chargers coordinator Wade Phillips as the teams new head coach. It was just Tuesday that Sports Illustrated’s Peter King said on the Dan Patrick show on ESPN Radio that Turner was “the leader in the club house and Tiger Woods had already finished the course.” In other words, the hiring of Phillips comes out of left field as many thought it was a done deal that Turner was going to be Jerry Jones’ pick as the new Cowboys skipper.
Phillips had a lot of competiton for the position, as Jones and his son spoke to10 candidates for the job, but the thought is that Phillips will be a stop gab anyway until 40-year old Jason Garrett is ready to be the evenutal head coach of the team. The thought of Jones having both Turner and Garrett, who was brought from the Dolphins to be the teams offensive coordinator, to run the team might be spreading the defense thin. With Phillip’s background with defense, it could give Dallas a good one-two punch with Garrett as the offensive mind of the team, and Phillips the head coach and defensive mind.
Phillips has not exactly lit the world on fire as a head coach, going just 48-39 as coach in Denver and Buffalo, including 0-3 in the playoffs. He may though be the right guy for this job given the circumstances. Everyone knows that Garrett is the coach in waiting, and once he gets more games under his belt as the offensive coordinator, a jump to the head coaching spot might only take about two years.
The one danger with Phillips is you basically know what you are going to get, and given that there was a lot of Super Bowl talk in Dallas last year, this hiring does not give many the impression that Dallas will be ready to make a serious run at Super Bowl XLII, at least to the fans that is. They are also making the mistake of just assuming that Garrett is going to be ready to be a head coach in two to three years when Phillips flames out. If Jones is that sure about Garrett, why not take a shot on him now? There have been more than one successful head coach 40 years of age or under.
It’s an interesting time to watch where the Cowboys go from here. From the outside looking in, Phillips looks like a guy that can hold down the fort till Garrett’s ready, but how steady he can do that is another thing all together. Plus add in the unknown about the true potential of Garrett, and you are really rolling the dice with a team some thought would have hoisted the Super Bowl trophy this past season.