Walk the Plank

Well, here I sit on the eve of the 2009 Dallas Cowboys football season, and I'm still highly-disappointed in Jerry Jones.

I profess the only reason Head Coach Wade Phillips is still manning that title is solely due to his defensive coordinator responsibilities. Let me quickly follow that up by saying that should be the only reason he still calls the shots on the Dallas sidelines. I like Wade. I really do. I think he's a very nice gentleman, and I honestly believe he means well. There could be worse choices to be the Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys, and unfortunately the organization has employed a few of those clowns. I do value Wade's defensive knowledge, philosophy and past success. I think he could be a top-notch defensive coordinator in this League until the day he decides he no longer wants to give it a go. The good news for Dallas fans is that Wade holds that title here as well. The fandom should feel good and secure with this guy calling the defensive shots. It will pay dividends this year. Finally.

The shame in all this is Jerry masquerading Wade as a legitimate NFL Head Coach. Say what you will or think what you want, he's not. My basis for this deduction? His track record and proven history. It's the only thing we have to go on, and the record is not impressive or indicative of a winner at the sports' highest level. Why are the Cowboys settling for this? Wade's regular season coaching career will show more wins than losses, and that's a good thing. However, nothing matters until the post season. This is the area that separates the contenders from the pretenders. To date, Wade, and his post season record, are pretending in the worst way possible. It's not a pretty scene, and it's very hard to see this changing in the near future.

Over all the years he's been coaching, he's never had a better chance to make a dent in the O-fer category for post season wins than two years ago when his Cowboys held a NFC best 13-3 regular season record and commanded the top seed in the NFC playoffs. A first week bye and a divisional playoff game at home against the New York football Giants. Could the Cowboys, the organization and the fans have had it any better? It just doesn't set up that way very often, and when it does, you have to seize the moment by the throat. You simply have to take that gift and ride it all the way home. Say what you will about last year's season-ending debacle in Philly, and as bad as it was, it still pales in comparison to the loss to the Giants in the divisional playoff game at Texas Stadium. Pales!

Personally, I would have shown Wade the exit door following that game. Call it harsh if you must, but you cannot squander opportunities of this magnitude. That team should have been primed to run the table. They could have hosted the NFC Championship game at Texas Stadium that year. Inexplicably, the team was unprepared to play that day, and worse yet, the game plan changed dramatically from anything seen during the regular season. No one has ever taken the podium or stepped behind the mike and given a justification. No one. Sorry folks, but someone should have taken a major fall or swung from the gallows for that one. You do not trounce through the regular season and mysteriously switch up both philosophy and play-calling in the biggest game of the season.

Both the starting wide receivers were banged up something fierce, and one of them hadn't played a regular season snap prior to this game. Why did the coaching staff suddenly think this guy would be magically ready to go? Sound logic would dictate that with both WRs limping, you best get the most out of them early and often. Right? And the Cowboys did what? Yup, they ran, and ran, and ran some more. With a back that hadn't started all year. Their closer was grabbing the laces from the opening bell. The closer!! Can we revisit this for a moment? Please? Both WRs are hurt and the Cowboys are hammering their closer into the line over and over in the first half? OK, just had to check and make sure we were on the same page.

Folks, this wasn't some clandestine or undercover operation. The Cowboys were exposed as any European soccer streaker who routinely graces the futbol venues on the other side of the pond. Wade, more than anybody, stood there with his tiddy-whities down around his ankles. Did they really think Tom Coughlin with a very smart Steve Spagnuolo running the G-men defense would not adjust? Seriously now. And guess what?

They did!

Stuffed the battering ram Marion Barber dead in his tracks. Committed the safeties to the box and dared the Cowboys to beat them with the aerial game. Why? Two absolutely exhausted and bum-wheeled WRs on the outside of the offensive attack. Not remotely used in the first half, Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn are now completely tired with dead legs. So, when the Cowboys try to take the heat off Barber, they are throwing to two receivers with a combined two good legs. Brilliant. At last check, this game is a two-half game. The rest is nothing but revisionist history, but the troublesome aspect is still no accountability for that head-scratching philosophy. Absent a thorough and detailed explanation, that one falls on the Head Coach.

Now we can tragically revisit last year's season-ending game at Lincoln Financial. Just saying the words makes me think about depositing breakfast in the round receptacle. Visions of that contest just evoke anger and stomach-turning wretchedness. It was God-awful, and those are the kindest terms I can offer up. That team was no more prepared to play football than the United Freaking States was to combat a terrorist attack of the highest order on 9/11/01. You talk about ill-prepared and out-matched. Both events ending in disaster. Please forgive your scribe here as I in no way intend to equate tragic loss of life with a kid's game. They are two separate and distinct situations, but the picture is painted as to the lunacy of both events.

A quick reminder reveals that the debacle in Philly had playoff implications written all over it. It was "all in" and all chips were pushed to the middle of the table. Win and you're in. It doesn't get much clearer than that. Knowing this, wouldn't you be the least bit fired up and fight to the bloody end to try your best to capitalize on this gift? Yes, another gift, wrapped, and being served up on an NFL silver platter. Those don't just happen, ladies and gentlemen. Not with your beloved team falling down December steps liked a trained Slinky. If there were enough space here, we'd dwell on the biggest disgrace in 2008, but we don't have time to discuss how Wade and his pathetically-motivated troops decided to pay homage to Cowboys' lore, history, faithful organizational name stays and the grand ol' lady, Texas Stadium.

After completely throwing up on themselves and all of Cowboys' history and record-making, they have the incredible chance to make all right with a playoff clinching win in a stinking division rival's backyard. This is football folks, how much more incentive and motivation do you need? Puke-stained uniforms from the wretched Ravens game to close the grand ol' Lady, and now a chance to put it to the most-hated team on the planet….at their place!! Unless I'm missing something here, which may be likely, that team should have been bouncing off the walls, and ceiling, from the time the game plan was introduced, and if not then, surely when they arrived at the team charter. I just don't remember any newspaper articles or police reports indicating a professional football team, with all this on the line, being kidnapped on the tarmac.

OK, with all that had transpired and depicted above, Jerry, why was Wade Phillips not immediately dismissed following the Philly meltdown of epic proportions? Jerry, your prized possession and NFL mainstay was becoming the brunt of every joke across the Nation, and your Dallas Cowboys were subjects of every punch-line known to man. Not sure about you Jerry, but that kind of showing promotes suicidal thoughts across and within the Cowboys' Nation. Jerry, do you really want that hanging over your head as you prepare to enter your new digs? This is one more reason Wade Phillips' existence here in Dallas remains a mystery!! Jerry is rolling out the greatest sports venue ever seen or witnessed by human society, and he still wants to trot good ol' boy Wade Phillips out there to lead his troops. Why? What better way to signify a new beginning and usher in a new era than with a new Head Coach to open arguably the self-proclaimed Eight Wonder of the World!! Especially with the likes of a Bill Cowher, Mike Shanahan, Jon Gruden and Mike Holmgren sitting idly on the sidelines. Wouldn't this have been the perfect statement and time to SEND A MESSAGE to one and all?

What am I missing?

All of which brings us to today. Oh, how I hate to even bring up the thought, but with the state of affairs in Tampa, what happens if the Cowboys drop their season-opener in the Pirate Ship? Should it happen? No, but what if it does? Are we really supposed to accept Wade Phillips as a legitimate Head Coach of the beloved Dallas Cowboys? Would Jerry continue to ride that horse for the remainder of the 2009 campaign? Begrudgingly, I, unfortunately, know the answer to my own question, but it only produces an outright cry of "Why?" If the Cowboys are 0-1 after Week 1 in the NFL, it's strongly-suggested the faint of heart and weak-stomached do not enter the DFW vicinity. Not unless you happen to be deaf. Hopefully we're not talking such a subject matter come next week, but the question had to be asked.

Listen, a loss to a Byron Leftwich-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with a first-year Head Coach and banished offensive coordinator, can only spell disaster for the 2009 Dallas Cowboys. The team charter should be delayed for as long as it takes to assemble the masses, on national TV, and have Jerry make Wade walk the plank at the Pirate Ship. Hey Mattie, your time is done here, unless you'd like to remain to fulfill the role that ultimately suits you….Defensive Coordinator.

Why prolong the agony? Jerry, what more proof do you need?

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