DMN columnist Jean-Jacques Taylor argues that former coach Bill Parcells and new coach Wade Phillips both deserve substantial credit for putting together this Dallas Cowboys team that’s 8-1 and appears a favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
Parcells, [ owner/GM Jerry] Jones’ fourth coach in seven seasons, gave the Cowboys direction by adding quality players with high character and strong work ethic through the draft and free agency. Terence Newman, DeMarcus Ware and Jason Witten arrived with premium draft choices. Marion Barber, Chris Canty, Patrick Crayton, Jay Ratliff and Jacques Reeves were terrific Day 2 selections. Let’s not forget the undrafted free agents not named Romo like Stephen Bowen, Sam Hurd and Tony Curtis who have each contributed this season. Parcells, always fond of saying he was in the talent acquisition business, can take credit for 20 of the 22 starters.
But it’s Phillips who has created an atmosphere that allows the players to maximize their ability because it’s OK to have fun.
That sounds about right. Of the current starters, only Anthony Spencer (first round draft pick), Leonard Davis (free agent), and kicker Nick Folk (7th round draft pick) came on board under Phillips’ rein.
Then again, the team played very poorly under Parcells during the final weeks of last season. His old school, drill sergeant mindset alienated star players and failed to produce a disciplined, focused football team. Phillips’ “players’ coach” approach hasn’t fixed the latter problem but it has at least rid the team of the first.
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