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Gene Wang
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Gene Wang

A sports staff writer at The Washington Post

Time for Garrett

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While a convincing victory in last week's playoff game may have provided a temporary reprieve for Dallas Cowboys Coach Wade Phillips, the manner in which his team lost to Minnesota in Sunday's NFC semifinals no doubt will raise questions about his ability to win consistently when it matters the most.

The Cowboys were no match for the Vikings, who put the finishing touches on a 34-3 victory with a late touchdown that drew the ire of may Dallas players, including linebacker Keith Brooking.

"I thought it was classless," Brooking told reporters. "I thought it was B.S. Granted, we get paid to stop them, but we had zero timeouts left. I didn't think there was any call for that."

Phillips also said he thought the Vikings ran up the score, and those comments came one week after Dallas dismantled the Philadelphia Eagles, 34-14, in a game that ended the Cowboys' streak of seasons without a playoff victory at 13.

The Cowboys, especially their head coach, need to stop whining and address the real problem, which has nothing to do with the Vikings tacking on a meaningless touchdown. The most pressing issue is how woefully uninspired and ill-prepared Dallas was to play this game, and that falls squarely on the coach.

Phillips may have helped Dallas emerge from a long playoff drought, but he isn't the coach who will get them their sixth Super Bowl ring. That means it's time for owner Jerry Jones to make a change.

Phillips has been an outstanding assistant throughout his career, but never has he been a leader of men like Tom Landry or Jimmy Johnson, his predecessors in Dallas. Not even close.

Landry and Johnson both commanded respect, and that translated consistently into excellence on the field. While Phillips may be good for a rah-rah speech here and there, but there's no evidence he can do it for the long term or with any regularity.

The Cowboys' best move would be to hire a motivated assistant with the drive to succeed, much like Pittsburgh did with Mike Tomlin. They had that guy in Sean Payton, who was an assistant in Dallas before taking over as the coach in New Orleans. They also had that guy in Tony Sprano, who guided Miami to the playoffs last season after a stint as the Cowboys' offensive line coach.

All indications are offensive coordinator Jason Garrett should be next line after he induced Terrell Owens-like production out of Miles Austin and helped Tony Romo to his best December since he became the full-time starter at quarterback.

Letting Garrett get away would do more damage to the franchise than Minnesota's touchdown that punctuated a January debacle with which the Cowboys have become all too accustomed.

By Gene Wang  |  January 18, 2010; 12:07 PM ET  | Category:  Dallas Cowboys Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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