Cowboys fire coach Wade Phillips
| November 9, 2010 8:00 PM
IRVING, Texas - Wade Phillips was fired Monday as coach of the Dallas Cowboys, with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett promoted to take his place.
Team owner Jerry Jones decided enough was enough following a 45-7 loss to the Green Bay Packers the night before. It was the Cowboys' fifth straight loss, dropping them to 1-7.
"We are grateful to Wade and his contribution to the Cowboys, leading us," Jones said. "We also clearly understand we are not where we want to be at this time, and that's an understatement. We share the responsibility - all of us."
This is the Cowboys' worst season since 1989 and among the worst in franchise history by record alone. Realistically, it's the low point considering Dallas was coming off a division title and a playoff win, and was expected to contend for the Super Bowl that'll be held at Cowboys Stadium.
Phillips' departure takes another dubious spot in club history: the first in-season coaching change.
"An in-season changing is something I was reluctant to consider," Jones said. "I recently addressed the team and my comments with them were very brief and pointed. I told them they should not think this an admission of defeat or finality in this season.
"We have eight games left and we have one goal - to win."
The first game under Garrett will be at the New York Giants on Sunday.
"He does have the opportunity to get the job long-term," Jones said. "I do believe Jason has the temperament and disposition to affect a culture change.
"I think this is important. We know men's styles are different. His style, I think is one that can be effective."
In addition to Garrett as interim coach, Paul Pasqualoni has been moved to defensive coordinator.
Just about everything has gone wrong this half-season. The constant has been mindless mistakes: penalties, turnovers and other breakdowns befitting an expansion team, not one of the highest-paid rosters in the NFL. Phillips couldn't get them to snap them out of it. He tried being loyal instead of benching the guys who were underperforming the most. That only seemed to make things worse.
The bottom has fallen out since quarterback Tony Romo broke his left collarbone Oct. 25. Maybe that was to be expected, except that the defense has been the bigger problem.
That unit has allowed at least 35 points in three straight games, something the Cowboys hadn't done since their inaugural season, 1960, when they went 0-11-1. Stranger still, it's almost exactly the same guys who closed last season with the first back-to-back shutouts in club history. This may have been Phillips' undoing because he also was defensive coordinator.
Jones had steadfastly supported Phillips throughout this tailspin, even saying late last week that Phillips would keep the job the rest of the year. The first five losses had all been by a touchdown or less, which showed players were still fighting. But a second straight humiliating loss left Jones with little choice. Something had to change to spark interest in the final eight games.