Wade Phillips: How Much Time Does The Embattled Coach Have Left?

Brian CarsonCorrespondent IOctober 14, 2010

HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 26:  Head coach Wade Phillips of the Dallas Cowboys looks on from the sideline during a football game against the Houston Texans  at Reliant Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is not a happy camper.

Oh, he's saying all the right things to the media, and he looks all confident when he speaks about how his team will turn it around.

Don't believe him. Looks can be very, very deceiving.

Inside his mind, where only Jones has access, he is seething.

Before the season began the Cowboys were the darlings of the media prognosticators.

Predicted to win the NFC East and march into the Super Bowl, Jones had visions of his team, the most popular and valuable franchise in the NFL, playing in his own stadium on Super Bowl Sunday.

So much for best laid plans.

Right now the Cowboys are in complete disarray.

Dallas has limped out of the gate to a 1-3 record in the first quarter of the season, including an uninspiring 34-27 loss to the Tennessee Titans at home last Sunday.

In what could be considered a season-low performance, the Cowboy defense, the supposed strength of the team, gave up 34 in their own backyard and allowed a 100 yard rusher for the second straight game.

Granted, three picks from Tony Romo didn't help, but the defense was lackluster and slow to the football.

The 1-3 start is the worst for Dallas since 2001.

And that begs the question of how short a leash is Wade Phillips on?

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, son of the owner, told NFL Network that Phillips' job is "absolutely safe."

Maybe for now, but what if the losing continues?

The division, while not as strong as in the recent past, is still tough.

The Giants, Eagles, and the much improved Redskins, make it essential that Dallas start winning and winning now if they want to keep pace in the division.

To make it happen the Cowboys must improve a lackluster rushing attack averaging only 95.2 yards per game, 24th in the league. Injuries along the offensive line have hurt some, but Marion Barber is slowing down and Felix Jones is a third-down back who's injury prone.

Turnovers and inconsistency from the quarterback position have crippled the offense. Romo, while having impressive regular season stats, has only one career playoff win, and still hasn't proven to be a guy capable of winning a big game.

The defense has slipped as well.

Right now the Cowboys are ranked 16th in scoring defense and have been vulnerable to big plays and the rush.

This week they face the Vikings, another team struggling out of the box. A loss at Minnesota could be a crushing one for Dallas.

To top it all off the coaching staff seems confused and doesn't seem to able to light a fire under the team.

So what will happen to Phillips if the losing continues?

How many days does he have left?

The reality is he will stick around for the entire season, no matter what the win-loss record is.

Right now, there isn't a viable candidate from the outside and Jones doesn't have confidence in any of the assistants.

Poor Jason Garrett. How fast can someone's stock fall in just a few short years?

Phillips is here to stay for 2010, but if the Cowboys continue to falter, look for the franchise to make a run at Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher to coach in 2011.


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