Jerry Jones endorses Wade Phillips
IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said he doesn't want to make an in-season coaching change, and then when the team fell to 1-6 he hinted at changes. Now, he's making it clear.
When asked if Wade Phillips will finish the season as Cowboys coach, Jones told KRLD-FM on Friday, "Yes."
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It's often difficult to tell exactly what Jones means when he gets to rambling. He seemed to crack open the door to considering a midseason change at head coach after the Cowboys' embarrassing loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jones never came out and said that straight up, but he talked a lot about changes and tough decisions during his 22-minute chat with the media.
He wasn't nearly as loquacious when the subject of possibly firing Phillips came up on his weekly radio appearance.
Phillips has been under the microscope as a team some picked to make it to the Super Bowl -- which will be played in the Cowboys' home -- has underachieved mightily. After the 35-17 shellacking at home by the Jags, Phillips hinted at lineup and assistant coaching changes. He said he wasn't worried about being fired but didn't like disappointing his boss.
"I don't worry about losing him," Phillips said of Jones on Monday afternoon. "I worry about losing for him. I feel bad for him because I think we should have been doing better. The guy does everything I think possible to try to win and have a winner, and he's an excellent general manager. He's gotten us good players."
While hinting that he has considered a coaching change, Jones said that he didn't think it was the best answer to quickly turn around the team.
"I'm trying to evaluate what our best chance is, not only for our team but to leave the taste in our mouths that the fans deserve," Jones said Sunday. "I'm trying to evaluate that.
"There's a lot of things you can do that would go in the category of feel-goods, although they would kill me relative to changes. It would be hard, hard for me to do."
Phillips told Jones after the Jags loss that the team needs to focus on fundamentals.
"We're not fundamentally sound enough," Phillips said. "That's the biggest thing I noticed overall is the fundamentals -- running, blocking, tackling, catching, covering, throwing. We're not as good as we were."
Defensive end Igor Olshansky agrees. He suggested Thursday that the offense cut the turnovers and run the ball.
"Don't give the ball away," Olshansky said during linebacker Bradie James' weekly show on ESPN 103.3 FM. "I mean, there's a lot of things that can go wrong when you pass the ball. You can get sacked, the ball can get tipped, you can get an interception. If you run the ball, you can get tackled and get a forced fumble. See, there's a lot more things [that can go wrong on pass plays]. ... You've got to run the ball."
Cowboys right guard Leonard Davis couldn't disagree with his defensive teammate.
"Shoot, I agreed with that way back," Davis said. "It is what it is. I can't get mad at him for saying that. Maybe I probably wouldn't have said it all like that, been on the radio saying that, but I guess that's just him.
"But it's the truth. It's the truth. I agree with him. We've turned the ball over, we haven't run the ball well, we've had a lot of penalties. I mean, it's all the obvious things. For him to say that, just that statement, I mean, I agree with it."
Optimism hasn't completely waned at Valley Ranch. Wide receiver Roy Williams said that he thinks the Cowboys can become the first 1-6 team since the 1970 Bengals to run the table and make the playoffs. The first hurdle is the Packers on Sunday.
"We can go nine in a row, if you ask me," Williams said Thursday. "People can call me stupid or whatever, but this football team has the core of players, it has the supporting cast of players to win nine in row. We just got to get it started just for other players to be like, 'All right, we got it now.'"
Information from ESPNDallas.com's Tim MacMahon and Calvin Watkins contributed to this report.