Former Dallas Cowboys coach and defensive mastermind, Wade Phillips, is standing by…
For the sake of honesty and integrity, this is all probably nothing. But when a known Dallas sports broadcaster calls out to an unemployed former coach, who just happens to be a defensive guru, about his availability, you best pay attention to the response. Especially given the Dallas Cowboys current struggles on defense this year.
The Dallas Cowboys aren’t just struggling – they are historically bad. Four games in, they are far and away the worst Dallas defense ever to grace the football field.
The players are lost, unmotivated, and undisciplined. Talent is an issue, yes, but the problems are systemic and getting worse by the day.
To say the Dallas Cowboys defense has struggled with Mike Nolan’s scheme is a massive understatement. Proven veterans have fallen short of expectations, unproven developing players have fallen short of expectations, free agent signings have fallen short of expectations, even the water boys have fallen short of expectations (OK, that may be going too far).
The point is the defense has been an unmitigated disaster and something – anything – needs to be done to get these guys playing hard/smart/efficient. That’s why calls to fire Nolan have being ringing out across Cowboys Nation and that’s why innocent statements from Wade Phillips are met with a raised eyebrow.
Dallas Cowboys fans remember Wade from his days coaching the Cowboys, and more recently his days coaching the Broncos and Rams defense. Phillips, who hales from his father’s coaching tree, is a man respected everywhere for his defensive knowledge. His aggressive and simple attack endears him to his players and historically inspires and provokes turnovers.
In Dallas he took the Cowboys from a reactionary 3-4 defense under Bill Parcells to a relentless 1-gap attack that prioritizes speed and pressure. Considering the Dallas Cowboys struggles 2-gapping, that could play into Dallas’ strengths and overcome the hesitancy issues Dallas suffers from now.
In all fairness, it’s not fair to boot Mike Nolan to the curb just 1/4 into his first season in Dallas. Especially considering there was little to no offseason to implement his new scheme. But Nolan’s track record of success is dismal. While Wade’s record speaks for itself. Wade Phillips has coached 20 top-10 defensives in his coaching career and while he had clear limitations as a head coach, no one questions his ability as a defensive mastermind.
To be clear, the chances of Wade Phillips beings seriously considered as a replacement to Mike Nolan this early into the season is extremely slim. But the Joneses have a good relationship with their former coach, and their former coach is available, “watching and waiting”.
So even if it’s a massive longshot, it’s still fun to think about, because the current state of the defense is anything but fun and this Dallas Cowboys defense needs a shake up one way or another.