Question of the day: Will Jerry Jones hold true to his word and not fire Wade Phillips before the end of the season? [Updated]
Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times
Jerry Jones is true to his word on this. He's not going to fire Wade Phillips, even if the Cowboys continue to circle the drain. Jones has never fired a coach during the season, and he certainly isn't going to do so as the NFL heads into the fog of labor uncertainty.
First, there's the money issue. As wealthy as Jones is, he hates more than anything the idea of paying a guy not to coach. Phillips was getting about $3 million per year and recently signed an extension that's believed to pay him closer to $4 million. Jones isn't going to let that slide.
What's more, there isn't a viable replacement on the staff. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is a smart guy, once was considered the heir apparent as head coach, and likely will wind up coaching an NFL team at some point. But the way the Cowboys' offense has struggled has done nothing for Garrett, who has lost his luster with that franchise.
You can expect Phillips as Dallas' coach until there's some resolution to the labor dispute. Then, when the NFL starts fresh, so will the Cowboys.
Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune
Wade Phillips doesn't have to be checking under his office doors for pink slips until January because there really is no benefit in firing him now. Assuming Phillips is gone, his long-term replacement likely will not be an in-house hire. Jerry Jones will probably look to make a splashy hire, and he won't be able to do that until the offseason unless he can somehow lure one of the rock-star broadcasters back to the sidelines.
The labor issues and the potential for a work stoppage also make it beneficial for owners such as Jones to wait before making coaching moves, because delaying a hiring means delaying writing checks. The other issue Jones has to consider is that interim head coaches rarely have any more success than their predecessors.
[Updated at 12:53 p.m.:
Kevin Van Valkenburg, Baltimore Sun
Never trust an oil man to tell you the truth. Not in business, in politics, and especially not in matters pertaining to football.
Of course there is a chance Jerry Jones will still fire Wade Phillips before the season ends. He can argue otherwise until his face-lift is blue, and I'm still not buying it.
True, the Cowboys season is pretty much toast. And despite what every fantasy wonk or ESPN analyst -- most notably former players like Keyshawn Johnson -- are saying, this team isn't that good. It never
was that good. It's a collection of talented individuals, not a team, and some people still don't understand the difference.
But at some point, Jones is going to realize he's paying Phillips to fail in public, and it's tarnishing the Cowboy star. He'll show Phillips the door, then give Jason Garrett a chance to steer the sinking ship into port. It won't cost him any extra money that way, and it will avoid some humiliation. It will at least look like the Cowboys aren't tolerating failure. Take his word at your own peril.]
Photo: Jerry Jones, left, and Wade Phillips. Credit: Matthew Emmons / US Presswire