Despite the perception that the Dallas Cowboys coaching search is moving away from Wade Phillips, league sources familiar with the process insist that the San Diego Chargers defensive coordinator remains on owner Jerry Jones' radar screen and retains a chance to land the job.
Phillips spent much of Tuesday contacting coaches he wants to hire as assistants if he gets the Dallas job, those sources said.
"It would be an overstatement to say he's putting together a staff," one source said. "But he was just touching base with his guys, updating them as to where he thinks things stand, and trying to hold [potential staffers] together. He is still in the hunt."
San Diego management officials believe there is still a chance Phillips could win the third NFL head coaching post of his career.
On Wednesday, Indianapolis Colts assistant head coach Jim Caldwell became the 10th candidate to interview for a vacancy created when Bill Parcells opted to retire on Jan. 21. Phillips interviewed for the job on Jan. 26.
Caldwell met with Jones and his son Stephen for more than six hours Wednesday and said he expects a decision to be made in "short order."
"I had a great time," Caldwell said of his interview for the Cowboys' head coaching vacancy. "I learned a lot about the organization."
Caldwell said he also met with Jason Garrett, who is expected to be named the Cowboys' offensive coordinator.
Caldwell said he didn't have enough time to talk about his offensive philosophy, but he stressed his organizational skills and talked about how important it would be to honor the Cowboys' rich tradition.
In head coaching stints with Denver (1993-94) and Buffalo (1998-2000), Phillips compiled a 45-38 record, including the playoffs, and led his teams to three wild-card berths. He also served stints as interim head coach at New Orleans in 1985 and Atlanta in 2003.
Phillips, 59, is an attractive candidate, in part, because of his preference for the 3-4 defense. The Cowboys have invested considerable time, energy, draft picks and money over the past three years assembling young players to help them transition to a 3-4 front, and Jones is not inclined at this point to scrap that experiment and go back to a 4-3 alignment.
One assistant coach contacted by Phillips on Tuesday said the Chargers' coordinator told him he expected a decision from the Cowboys by the end of his week.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. Information from ESPN.com's Matt Mosley was used in this report.