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Phillips Knows Season Is on the Line

The weekly conference call with the upcoming opponent's coach was relatively tepid. Dallas Coach Wade Phillips was a bit defensive about his defense and all the points they have given up. He was a bit defensive about the Skins' ability to shut down RB Marion Barber for the most point.

In retrospect, Phillips was a little bit defensive in general. You could tell pressure is mounting on this bunch, and he knows this game could be the season.

When asked if this is a must-win game, Phillips said: "It is right now. Certainly I think the team needs to feel that way, and I'd like them to feel that way every game.''

"I don't count the game last year, the last game," Phillips said. "I think Marion will do a good job. He's going to keep bringing it, and we're going to keep running it, so we'll see what happens."

One thing Phillips and media schlubs did see eye to eye on was that Cowboys WR Roy Williams (who has just three catches for 38 yards since being acquired in October) should be more fully vested in the offense now, with Romo back and coming off a bye week.

"We think so," Phillips said of Williams's emergence. "That remains to be seen, but we think so. Roy made a big play in the Tampa game that helped us win that game, and we've tried to work him into the offense. ... We think we can get it to all those guys."

Some have posited that Phillips has always been on something of a short leash with owner Jerry Jones very involved in team operations and young offensive coordinator Jason Garrett the coach-in-waiting. In our brief exchanges with him today, he seemed to be bringing up the offense a bit.

Phillips is likeable and has been a nice guy throughout his career, but times are tough in Big D right now -- particularly for the coaching staff. Garrett hasn't had that same swagger in his play-calling, to me, this season, especially in the first meeting with the Skins. Think that changes coming out of the bye?

Phillips said that QB Tony Romo's broken pinky does not appear to be an issue in practice, and all indications are that he will start. Romo is able to grip the ball. Phillips gave the thumbs up on his ability to, duh, handle the exchange from center, hand off the ball and throw it.

As for his defense, well, Phillips, who has started calling plays himself in recent weeks, thinks it's not as bad as all of the 30-spots being hung on his team would indicate. He kept referring to the stagnant offense that resulted from Romo's injury (and back-up Brad Johnson's poor play).

"You just don't win many games where you don't make 200 yards of total offense," Phillips said. "We did it against Tampa, but we didn't go it against the Giants."

As for the points scored against the Cowboys - 26 or more in four of the last six games - Phillips pointed to special teams:

"Some of those points were a kickoff return for a touchdown and we had a blocked punt for a touchdown. ... Overall, we've had bad field position, but we can play better defense and I think we played outstanding against Tampa [in Week 8], and I'd like to see us do that again."

The Skins have held Barber to some of his worst games as a pro - including six carries for minus-6 yards game in the regular-season finale last season - but Phillips is throwing that game out. (Barber is averaging 3.3 yards per rush against the Skins for his career, so obviously they've done something right against him).

By Jason La Canfora  |  November 12, 2008; 4:30 PM ET
 
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Next: Hall Takes High Road on T.O. Incident

Comments


+++Tackle Chris Samuels said he still has a considerable amount of pain in his knee, but is steeling himself to play through it.+++--RI

Dude, you don’t need to steel. Like send a rep out here to the Garden State of California with a few crinkly C-notes with a slip from your sawbones and we’ll hook you up with some fine Medical Wacky Weed. Bong it up about an hour before game time, tap a renewal Blunt at the half and make them cow doggies weep.

Hear me now, thank me later.

Gotta run down to Safeway to reload my Famous Amos stash. Down to my last two tins. Peace out.

Posted by: TheCork | November 12, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Barber's next good game agains the 'Skins will be his FIRST.

Posted by: ThisGuy | November 12, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

++++sween, Anthony Montgomery not on the roster next year? What'd I miss?
Posted by: NateinthePDX+++

All those DT’s Vinny drafted THIS year to replace him.

Posted by: TheCork | November 12, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Shh... nobody mention the name "Felix Jones" to Wade or Garrett...

Posted by: NateinthePDX | November 12, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

+++Matchups....

Hall --- T.O.


Posted by: cej75024++


Man you’re a little overconfident, willing to spot the cowboys a couple of touchdowns like that. I wouldn’t put Hall on TO if Springs, Rogers and Smoot were on IR.

Posted by: TheCork | November 12, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

See, now there's the good thing about living in Texas - people generally have the good sense to not schedule events during football games...

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | November 12, 2008 4:38 PM |

And the other good thing about Texas is that there is always a football game, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Of course, an event in Texas usually involves smoked brisket of beef and BBQ sauce, so I'd be in favor of a few more of those.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | November 12, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

+++ESPN's Buster Olney reports that Leigh Torrance has just won the AL Cy Young Award.

Man, is there nothing Leigh Torrance can't do? Besides cover.

Posted by: cej75024++++

Uh huh. And Hall had 40 of 66 pass attempts thrown at him completed this year for more than 500 yards. That’s not pass defense, that’s a brush fire.

Posted by: TheCork | November 12, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

+++What about Kelly? How's the knee looking?

Posted by: matthewvickers++++

Good one!

Posted by: TheCork | November 12, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

I realize this is totally off-point. But anyone out there dig Blackstar?

I'm kinda on the fence there & would like some perspective pro/con...

Posted by: DikShuttle | November 12, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

corky, did you stick that fork in the electrical outlet yet??

Posted by: BeantownGreg | November 12, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

corky, did you stick that fork in the electrical outlet yet??

Posted by: BeantownGreg | November 12, 2008 4:45 PM |

He did, and it turned him into Skippy with the metal plate in his head.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | November 12, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

"I don't count the game last year, the last game," Phillips said.

Agree to disagree. (Loser.)

Posted by: freakzilla | November 12, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Cork's busy getting cookies

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | November 12, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

He counts it about as much as the last two times they were in the playoffs.

Hey, ignorance is bliss, right?

Posted by: DikShuttle | November 12, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I also wonder about the bizarre logic that says that just because someone decides to host an event and invites you, that you in turn should attend even though you have absolutely no desire to do so.

Posted by: freakzilla | November 12, 2008 4:36 PM

Not simply attend ... attend with your check book.

Posted by: dcsween | November 12, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

T-E - Don't go. As a woman, I tell you not to go - it's the Skins/Dallas game - it's not like we're playing the Browns or something!

Of course, I agree with Freakzilla and think the only Sunday social events should revolve around a football game and am the reason that NFL Sunday Ticket comes to my house. Have the fiance trained well though - went to see Kathy Griffin on Sunday night and he asked when my game was - duh, bye week - checked the Skins schedule before I bought the tickets!

Have a Jewish friend who is a Eagles fan - got married on a Sunday in October - on their bye week - priorities.

Posted by: suzannepdc | November 12, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like fatboy is making a bunch of big fat excuses for getting owned so far this season.

Posted by: jeffhayes1 | November 12, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

T-E - Don't go. As a woman, I tell you not to go - it's the Skins/Dallas game - it's not like we're playing the Browns or something!

Posted by: suzannepdc | November 12, 2008 4:55 PM |

Good idea. I'm coming to your house Sunday night. You serving BBQ?

We're not newly weds. We celebrated our 23rd on Sunday. She knows I'm not going. And, the way I behave at these events, she's probably glad.

Posted by: talent_evaluator | November 12, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

from pft

FELIX JONES NOT PRACTICING
Posted by Michael David Smith on November 12, 2008, 4:25 p.m.
The Cowboys have a virtual must-win game against the Redskins on Sunday, and if they’re going to win it, they might have to do so without rookie running back Felix Jones.

Tim MacMahon writes at the Dallas Morning News that Jones is being held out of practice again today.

Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said last week that Jones, who suffered a hamstring injury on October 12 in Arizona, would be ready to go after the bye. But that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Jones has played in six games this season. He has 266 yards on 30 rushes as a backup to Marion Barber, and he’s averaged 27.1 yards on 16 kickoff returns.

Posted by: SAK2 | November 12, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Some have posited that Phillips has always been on something of a short leash with owner Jerry Jones very involved in team operations and young offensive coordinator Jason Garrett the coach-in-waiting.

By Jason La Canfora | November 12, 2008; 4:30 PM ET

I could see last year why people would think Garrett would be a candidate for head coach, but I don't see it this year. That offense, and the play calling, has stunk. And it's not just because of Romo's pinky. The offense was anemic against the 'Skins -- too little run, and Felix Jones didn't even touch the ball.

I'm wondering whether Garrett's time has come and gone in Dallas?

Posted by: talent_evaluator | November 12, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I profoundly hate the Cowboys.

Like, really.

Posted by: TDawg1 | November 12, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Cork, your an idiot.

Posted by: craig2 | November 12, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

TDawg, funny I found myself wondering today if there is anything out there that can possibly match my hatred for this team...and there just isn't.

Posted by: jeffhayes1 | November 12, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

i too was married on a bye week!!! my wife has finally given in to all things social on sunday start and end with 1pm and 8pm . its to the point now that she is pissed when i dont take her to the home games and she demands to go to the bar for football sunday on the road games!@!! man am i lucky .. however i made sure i married some one from Montgomery County (in other words a Redskins fan)

Posted by: cosmiccatnip1 | November 12, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

It was my birthday when the Redskins and the Cowboys played earlier this year. My wife bought me a Moss jersey. My first Redskin jersey. I went to the sports bar to watch the game with my brother and cousins, who are all Cowboy fans. The bar was crowded with Cowboy fans. I never felt any happier when Skins kicked their ASS. Great birthday present.

Posted by: TheJury | November 12, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

As many know I was married this year the day befo Cowpatties part one... and Mrs. Shuttle is indeed a Cowpatty fan!!

Boy did the in laws have a crazy time watching the game. It poured and we all got soaked! Awesome day - and she wasn't even that mad (ok, she was furrious... hehe). Maybe we'll turn her yet. I understand her Mom was originally a 'Skins fan and turned colors...

Posted by: DikShuttle | November 12, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

My Ex was a Green Bay native - we really didn't clash too much, but I did get to see the 'Skins play the Packers at the frozen tundra - and it was frozen that day.

Posted by: JohnDinHouston | November 12, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Cork, your an idiot.

Posted by: craig2 | November 12, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Craig, before you call someone an idiot, you should correctly spell "you're". It makes the insult have more impact.

Peaches,
TDawg

Posted by: TDawg1 | November 12, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Draft DT's? Unlikely. This year they drafted wide outs. As usual, (per every other receiver after Desmond Howard), they didn't pan out. Well Thrash was drafted here so maybe he's an exception.

They still need more DBs. Corners, or a Laron/Sean 1st round safety. They will get Jason Taylor back next year. Cornelius may be gone. Philip Daniels too. Montgomery definitely stays. They may do a free agent pickup at tackle and/or end.

Good DB's are hard to come by. The more the better. That's who they needed to draft this year and next.

Posted by: periculum | November 12, 2008 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Periculum,
More DBs, really? With DH signing, my thought was that Springs would move over to safety-- we'd have Springs, Landry, Horton, and Doughty, with Smoot, Rogers, and Hall rounding out the secondary. That sounds like pretty good depth to me. Maybe sign another safety in free agency to keep Springs flexible.

Next year's draft, I think, should be concerned with getting a stud OLB to take over for Marcus Washington, O-Line depth, and perhaps a solid DT prospect or two. DE can be addressed in the 2010 draft once we have Philip Daniels, Demetric Evans, Jason Taylor, and Andre Carter in rotation.

Posted by: TDawg1 | November 12, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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