Phillips tired of fretting about his job

Cowboys coach Wade Phillips has fielded questions every season about his job being on the line. It's obvious he's tired of those questions, and it's clear the Cowboys have plenty of motivation entering Sunday's game against the Vikings.

Every time the Cowboys struggle, the questions about Wade Phillips' job status return.

Never mind that he has won two division titles. Never mind that he led the Cowboys to their first playoff win in 13 years last season.

Phillips can never do enough.

And with the Cowboys 1-3 heading into Sunday's game against the Vikings, who are also 1-3, the questions have come back in full force.

Phillips is simply tired of it and doesn't care. He says all he is worried about is doing whatever he can to beat the Vikings in what is a season-saving game for both teams.

"Let's bring that up every year if we can. All four years that I've been here we've got to ask it, I guess. That's fine," Phillips said. "I've told you the story before. I don't worry about that. I worry about this football team, and these players and winning this next game. I don't worry about all that other (stuff)."

Phillips actually got a vote of confidence from team owner Jerry Jones and vice president Stephen Jones. Both told the NFL Network at the NFL meetings in Chicago that Phillips was not going anywhere.

They are not happy with the struggles. Phillips' job, however, is safe.

"I think in our organization everybody is taking responsibility, not just Wade," Stephen Jones said. "He does. He takes responsibility. The coaching staff takes responsibility. The players take it. We all take it.

"We're a team, we're an organization, and when we fall short, we accept it as a team."

Jerry Jones had similar thoughts, saying he thinks Phillips is part of the solution.

"With Wade ... I'm very comfortable that we can do better," Jerry Jones said.

Jerry Jones, though, is not happy. And he doesn't hide that fact or the fact that this season has been a huge disappointment, especially since he came into the season talking about a Super Bowl run.

Jones said they have issues that need to be corrected. But he says the Cowboys aren't without hope. But Jones also acknowledged that the Cowboys are running out of time and things need to be turned around now, starting Sunday at Minnesota.

"We're running out of time, even though it's early in the season," he said. "If we're gonna go, we've got to go now, and go hard. ... When you start off and you don't win but one ballgame out of four, you feel like you need to win all the games."

BY THE NUMBERS: 107 – That's the number of catches WR Miles Austin has through 16 full games, dating back to his first start in the fifth game last season. He has 1,713 yards and 12 TD catches during that time.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think every game after this is elimination (as well). If you lose this game, the next game is even worse. How do you feel if you're coming out of this game 1-4? 2-3 sounds better and that's what you want. You want to get those numbers on the front end. We've got to start now. The time is now." – LB DeMarcus Ware on the importance of Sunday's game against the Vikings

SERIES HISTORY: 21st regular-season meeting. Series tied, 10-10.

NOTES

  • After getting beat by the Vikings in the playoffs last year, the Cowboys vowed revenge and pointed to this Sunday's game as a time for retribution. The Cowboys were especially upset by a late touchdowns pass in the final two minutes to make the score 34-3.

    "I thought it was totally classless and disrespectful," linebacker Keith Brooking said after the game. "This is the NFL. That's not what this is about. I don't think there's a place for that ... I was looking for (coach Brad) Childress. I didn't think it was right. They get to see us (next season) so you better believe I will have that one circled on the calendar. I say we get paid to stop them, I don't care what's called, but there comes a time. I just think there wasn't much class involved in that decision."

    With the Cowboys 1-3 and looking to save their season, the Cowboys already have enough reason to want to this game. There is no need to rely on payback from last year.

    "We've got plenty of motivation to win this ballgame," Phillips said. "I think we'll be motivated."

  • The Cowboys watched game film from last year's 34-3 playoff loss to the Vikings for the first time this week. And it still wasn't a pretty sight. The Viking destroyed the Cowboys as quarterback Tony Romo was sacked six times.

    "It's horrible after a year to watch that game again," left guard Kyle Kosier said, "but we have to move on. Execute, no penalties, don't turn the ball over."

    Tight end Jason Witten said it was tough also because of the thoughts of what might have been considering a win would have put the Cowboys in the NFC title game, one game away from the Super Bowl.

    He said he laments the fact that the Cowboys missed some early opportunities that could have possibly changed the game.

    "We missed a field goal early then we just missed some opportunities," Witten said. "We didn't get the running game going like we wanted, had a couple of three and outs and they started getting pressure. You have to manage all that, hit a big play or get the running game going and that will hopefully slow them down a little bit."

  • FB Chris Gronkowski (groin) returned to practice Wednesday after missing last week's game.

  • S Barry Church and S Danny McCray are practicing at free safety in case an injured Alan Ball doesn't play against the Vikings. Ball is expected to play. But Church and McCray, both rookie free agents, have impressed so much that they were the reason the Cowboys parted ways with safety Mike Hamlin. Coach Wade Phillips said Hamlin had no future with the team because he had been passed by Church and McCray.


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