Cupcakes for everyone! Wade Phillips will be back next season!

Posted Sunday, Dec. 21, 2008  comments  Print Reprints
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IRVING -- As pathetically predictable as Coach Wade and his Dallas Cowboys were in Saturday’s sorry sendoff to Texas Stadium, a small consolation existed.

No way Coach Cupcake survived after this mess.

A 33-24 gutless joke of a loss to Baltimore had to spell the end of Wade and his cupcake era, and not a second too soon. Bring on Bill Cowher, or The Redheaded Genius, or really Anybody Not Named Wade for a chance.

“Absolutely not, absolutely not,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones when pressed on Coach Wade’s chances of imminent unemployment.

Talk about your buzz kills. Not only did Coach Wade help ruin a huge party for fans and legends assembled to bid farewell to Texas Stadium on Saturday, he now apparently has another 16 games to bring his special brand of “ish” football to JerryWorld.

“I don’t have any inclination as I stand here, after this ballgame, about any coaching changes. … And I don’t see (coaching) as an issue,” he added. “And it’s not that fragile. It’s just not that fragile.”

And it isn’t a coaching issue -- if discipline is not important, if an emphasis on special teams is not deemed necessary, if December struggles are OK, if playoff victories are no longer expected, if playoff berths require luck and must be backdoored into with help.

Saturday ensured the Cowboys no longer control their playoff destiny. They need help, most immediately an Atlanta loss to Minnesota to keep them viable. And what then, what if a team Owner Jones had Super Bowl expectations for and dumped Super Bowl money into fails to even qualify for the tournament?

“Let’s try again, if we don’t make it,” Owner Jones said.

He was not being a smart ass. He was being dead-on serious, like another year of Coach Cupcake really actually has a chance of yielding a better finish. Or like selling PSLs to watch this train wreck has mass appeal.

“You don’t think for one minute Bill Parcells Jr. is going to come in here and do any better, do you? He didn’t,” Owner Jones said. “I don’t think (a coaching change) is a cure all. … Do we want to go to college and get one?”

I don’t know. It seemed to work pretty well once.

“But what a price to pay. We were 1-15,” he said. “By the way, he went down to Miami and got run on.”

You know things are ugly when Owner Jones finds himself taking shots at Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells in an attempt to bolster Wade. And he pumped him good.

His theory on Wade goes something like this: He is an outstanding defensive coordinator which makes him better as a head coach. The defense is finally fixed and, yes, he is disregarding those two huge touchdown runs by Baltimore to seal the game. Those were a result of a failure to tackle not Mr. Fix-It’s scheme, Jerry explained.

What this seems to underline is Owner Jones obviously has lost faith in his head coach in waiting, the redheaded genius, Jason Garrett. He was always the safety valve. With the offense struggling and possibly even regressing, Owner Jones seems more comfortable sticking with Wade who as a head coach is a really good defensive coordinator.

“As I stand here now it, just doesn’t make sense,” Owner Jones said. “He’s only been here two years.”

And what a two years this has been with bye-week victories and 13 Pro Bowlers and being able to claim that the better team lost last year in the playoffs. Of course, Owner Jones admitted none of this is the goal. He is still a Super Bowl guy.

“The point is, in no way, does this cause me to think or make me think we need to do something different so we’ll switch the coaching staff. That is not a consideration, just not a consideration.”

Apparently neither is winning.

So cupcakes for everybody, let’s all celebrate at least 17 more games of mediocrity.

So while I ponder how the last two real defensive plays at Texas Stadium were 77 and 82-yard touchdown runs, let’s chow down on a special edition of Sunday Morning Musings:

1. How did assembled Cowboy legends feel about Saturday’s loss? &*%& and ^&*(%.

Oh my, did I hear a few naughty words.

As players from Staubach to Emmitt waited to file onto the field for Texas Stadium tributes late Saturday, obvious frustration spilled from generations of Cowboy greats.

They were stunned by the awful play calling, by the poor execution by the offense, by the failure to finish by the defense, by the lack of tackling, by the inability to finish.

These aren’t kneejerk fans. They have been there. They know how hard it is to get over the hump, to finally win but eventually almost all of them found a way. And now they are watching what they all know to be a supremely talented team gag again and again and again.

Emmitt best summarized this frustration when he said: “This is sickening.”

2. Let me provide a Jerry asterisk.

I believe Jerry believes he plans to bring Coach Wade back for next season, no matter what happens in Philly, no matter what happens with playoffs, no matter what.

I also believe he believed Dave Campo was coming back when he gave him a vote a confidence in late November in 2002. He liked Dave. He didn’t want to change. He didn’t want to admit a mistake.

All of this changed after a particularly ugly loss to San Fran, a game Dallas blew late that left Owner Jones dropping f-bombs in the locker rooms, like 25 or so. A couple of days later he boarded a plane for New Jersey where he began courting Big Bill.

I’m not saying this happens again, just that hope exists for a change.

3. Apparently, walk-through practices do not help with tackling. Just ask Cowboys strong safety Ken Hamlin.

He missed the tackle on Willis McGahee’s 77-yard touchdown run.

He also missed the tackle on Le’Ron McClain’s 82-yard touchdown run, on Baltimore’s next play from scrimmage.

Both of them came after Dallas had clawed back to turn Saturday’s into a two-point game. And both were inexcusable. Any kind of defensive stop gives Dallas a chance at a victory. Instead this defense laid down, with Hamlin failing as that last line of defense.

Add this to his failing to fall on a fumble early in the fourth quarter and Hamlin had maybe his worst day as a Cowboy. He admitted as much, falling on the sword but oh. my. ugly.

4. One more time, because I’m a masochist: How does Bruce Read still have a job?

5. My $.02 on Cowboys QB Tony Romo: Back off.

He was bad, not Brad Johnson bad, but pretty bad nonetheless.

What I do not understand is how everything that went wrong on Saturday on offense was on him and The RHG. Did Romo quit on two routes like T.O.? Did Jason Garrett drop a pass in the end zone? I am pretty sure both of those were on T.O.

This is not to absolve Romo or Garrett, but rather to point out that everybody gets dropped in the grease after this one. The line was again underwhelming, the play calling uninspired, the receivers were just OK and, yes, the QB was poor.

The only guy who gets a pass is Tashard Choice. And possibly Jason Witten, for playing on what was obviously a jacked-up ankle. He was barely able to walk off the field after his touchdown.

6. I am starting to think I may have to remove the “G” from The RHG.

I am not saying I am doing this, just that I am thinking about doing this. I have not given up on him altogether.

7. Start rooting for The Fighting Norvs and The Fighting Adrian Petersons.

Wins by San Diego and Minnesota have a chance to save this Cowboy season, as well as Coach Wade’s butt.

Of course, Dallas has to beat Philly in Philly.

And does anybody have faith in that happening?

8. WTG, Flo. Way to bid farewell to Texas Stadium in your signature style.

He almost did it. He almost finished the game without a false-start penalty which, frankly, would have been disappointing. This is not the way he has played for all these years as a Cowboy. He always had been good for at least one false start.

And then, with 70 seconds left, he delivered.

False start, Flo. Way to leave your signature mark on this stadium..

9. Your homework assignment was to pinpoint the head, the heart and to borrowing a Jerry Jones-ism “the a-h” of the Cowboys?

We here at LBOH headquarters were disappointed to find so many Cowboys fans agreeing with Owner Jones and his self-deprecating comment that he may be “a-h”. In my world, that honor belongs to T.O.

In no particular order, as we do every week, we present my favorite responses:

Tyler Jones of Dallas writes “The a-h of the team? Ummm ... TO? Stop giving us these easy extra credit opportunities, Jennifer! I stayed up all night studying for a question like this?! This one is far too easy and needs no explanation” while Mark Prasifka of Kansas City adds “OK, Jen. Romo would be the ‘head’. DWare would be the ‘heart’. I don’t know who the ‘a-h’ is, but I do know TO is the ‘mouth’. Be thankful, however, because as Sunday proved, it is better to have a star receiver who shoots off his mouth than one who tries to shoot off his leg!”

Jonathan Garner of Healdsburg, CA who writes “Let me start by saying I know who is NOT the head and heart of this team and that would be Captain Cupcake himself, Coach Wade. If the Cowboys go anywhere this season, it will be in spite of him, not because of him. He is not a leader of men. I have never been in their locker room, but my best guess would be Bradie James. The defense is definitely the superior unit and leading the Cowboys to victory of late. Isn’t Bradie the leader of the D?” while Cody Colston of Tyler adds “some additional body part comparisons. The Mouth: Jerry Jones. The Coconuts: Jason Witten. The Appendix: Wade Phillips, because like the appendix, nobody is really certain what it is exactly that he does.”

And Keith Hallman of Atlantic City, N.J. writes “Heart – Jason Witten – his toughness, selflessness, commitment, competitiveness, professionalism, (insert like adjective) epitomizes the term ‘team player’. I'll even come out of the closet; this is an official man crush! Head – T.O. – I’ve tried to like this guy with every ounce of my being, constantly quietly pleading with him to just not be himself for five minutes. He could win me back with the i-shirt, ‘i - shut the bleep up’ or to write, “Little T learns to shut the bleep up.” I won’t hold my breath, so he is the head, but not the large one …”

My favorite comes from Steve Ruhl of Magnolia, Texas who writes “the real a-h is the Dallas media along with you as number 1 a-h at the Star-Telegram. And I state the latter in sarcastic jest since I happen to enjoy your columns, and you’re doing what you're paid to do...give your unbiased opinion, whether we like it or not.”

I can’t help but agree with you, Steve, although I am pretty sure Mr. Randy ranks ahead of me in official S-T a-h rankings.

10. Your turn: Do you agree with Owner Jones? Or is it time to ice the Cupcake? Please remember to include your name AND LOCATION for credit purposes. I am all about credit. Click here to submit your homework assignment.

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