Phillips Previews New York

Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips discusses Sunday's game with the New York Giants.

How would you describe your personality as opposed to the coach who was before you? Have you made an attempt to be different; is it a conscious thing?
Phillips: No, I think every person, every coach, is different, certainly. I don't think about it. I don't think about being different than Dan Reeves or my dad when I replaced them or Marv Levy when I replaced him. No, that doesn't cross my mind.

From what you have seen how different is it when you look at film of Tiki Barber vs Brandon Jacobs? Do you guys do things differently with a bigger back in there?
Phillips: Well, yeah, I think every back has his own style, his own strength. But they have looked really good running the ball in the preseason. They averaged 5.1 in the preseason. Tiki made 1,600 yards but he had to have a line blocking for him and I think they have a strong run blocking team and a good back. But, sure, it will be more power stuff than what Tiki ran, although Tiki ran inside. But you would think it would be more inside stuff than outside. That is what we are planning on.

Do they do more maybe man-to-man blocking as opposed to zone with the bigger guy, more power game?
Phillips: Like I said, they are pretty proficient at run blocking. So I don't see where they changed a whole lot. Certainly a lot of plays Tiki made were blocked well. The percentage out of those 1,600 yards was pretty good as far as - he had a hole. Now a great back like he was will make people miss or make extra yardage and that is what they are going to try to do.

You have been a head coach before, obviously. But is there something special about being coach of the Dallas Cowboys?
Phillips: I think so. It is special for me in a lot of ways, but it is special overall. It is a very high profile team and it is in Texas – my home and my family is all here. Of course I have to buy a lot of tickets for each game. But anyway the owner likes that.

Are you comfortable being sort of a high profile guy?
Phillips: Well, I'm going to have to be. I think every head coach in the league is. In the NFL there are only 32 and so forth and all of those things the coaches say. There were something like 50 media in our OTA stuff; our mini camp. So it's not New York but it is still very high profile; a lot of media coverage.

How close did you come to becoming Giant defensive coordinator a few years back?
Phillips: When I went to Atlanta? Yeah. Pretty close. Jim Fassel was my coordinator in Denver and we talked about it. And then, of course, Dan Reeves, I had worked for him before. So that was really ….. the decision. And actually the Giants had a lot better defense going in than Atlanta did. But I ended up going to Atlanta and it worked out fine.

What do you make of Eli Manning's preseason? It seems to us up here that he has made a lot of progress in some areas – certainly accuracy.
Phillips: Outstanding. When you see his completion percentage go up so much you have to notice it; 68, 69% in preseason. He has been a good player, obviously, but his passing percentage has been around – what – 57, 58, right in there. And he was significantly better. So you had to notice that right off. And he had good command. Seems like they moved the ball every time he was in there and scored. He is at the right time of his career, I think, where he is feeling comfortable about playing the game and it is not too big for him and all of those things.

How much had you seen him the first three years and is there a frame of reference for you? Can you compare what you are seeing now versus those three years?
Phillips: Of course I saw him in San Diego when we took him with the first pick of the draft. I saw him on TV but that didn't last long. And we played against him in San Diego. He had a pretty good game throwing in that ball game. But, no, I haven't studied him except now. But we haven't played against him very much. The times I have played against him I certainly looked at him. But that has been a couple of years back.

Are you concerned about your cornerback situation?
Phillips: Sure. We have a couple places on defense and one on offense. Terry Glenn coming back and hasn't practiced a full practice yet. And then of course Greg Ellis and Newman haven't practiced. And then Burnett, another linebacker for us, hasn't practiced. Injuries are certainly always a concern for coaches.

How is Newman doing?
Phillips: Well, I don't think he will practice today. But they tell me better – that's a good sign.

A lot of people were surprised that you cut Aaron Glenn after the Newman injury. What was the reasoning behind that move?
Phillips: The same reason we let all of the other 22 guys go. We have a certain criteria for who we keep on our team. Number one is if a guy is going to be a starter for you. If you think he is going to be a starter then that's …. We kept all of the guys that we think can become a starter if they are not starters. We also look at special teams – how much each player helps us on special teams. I can go on and on about our criteria. So it is just an evaluation process.

You own quarterback had kind of a mediocre rise last year. Do you think he is the kind of guy who is going to settle in to being a steady guy or is he letting that stuff go to his head?
Phillips: He has been real consistent. He has had a very good preseason also. He is very accurate with the football. He has a lot of poise, a lot of leadership. I see all of the things that everybody saw the last half of the season to vote him into the Pro Bowl. So I don't see him being any different than that. He is pretty consistent in everything that he does.

Is he going to be your holder this year?
Phillips: No, he is our ex-holder.

Romo said that TO has been fairly well behaved so far, partly out of the respect he has for you. Do you see it like that, or how do you see that?
Phillips: I judge people on how they react around me and how they participate. Terrell is a very hard worker. He wants the team to win. Obviously he is an individual. But he has done all of the right things to make me think that he is going to have an outstanding year. So he is certainly not a distraction. He has been probably the opposite of that. He helps other players. He asks questions in meetings. He knows what to do and he practices. I have to pull him off sometimes because he wants to run extra routes or run a route from the backfield and things like that. He has been very good. That's what I see.

Miles Austin played pretty well as your kick returner last year when Tyson Thompson got hurt. Can you talk a little bit about how well Thompson played in the preseason and what went into the decision to make him the primary kick returner.
Phillips: Well, we have them both back there. Miles, you can always run a reverse with, too, just to throw that out there. But Tyson did a good job. He has a knack for kickoff returns. He did last year before he broke his leg. And it seems to be the same way this year. He is our third running back and handles the football quite a bit. So we have confidence in him and Miles is also back there to handle any kick that isn't straight to Thompson. So I think we have a double threat back there.

Is it possible that Austin might play a little on offense this year, or how has he developed in that area as far as you have seen?
Phillips: He is coming along. He has come a long way but he is certainly getting to the point – he had a good game last game. We kind of challenged the guys to play the last preseason game to show us that they could play and be a player in this league and help us this year. And he was one of them that did that. I think he had three catches but he also had two long ones called back. And so I think he had an outstanding game and showed a lot of things.


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