Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

08 Feb 2007

Phillips To Be Next Dallas Head Coach

The man with the extravagant scarf, Chris Mortensen, is reporting that Dallas will name Wade Phillips their next head coach.

How many Phillips are there who would be a better idea to hire as your head coach than Wade? I will start by humbly submitting Stone for consideration. Remember, gravitas.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 08 Feb 2007

123 comments, Last at 11 Feb 2007, 2:10am by Gus


by the K (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 6:49am

Any particular reason, given his success as a coordinator, and what I, as a Bills fan, consider a successful tenure in Buffalo, that Wade Phillips is so widely ripped on for a choice?

by lobolafcadio (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 7:02am

Maybe Bledsoe won't retire and hope to pull a Rob Johnson there...

by Theo, Holland (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 7:25am

they go a PRO BOWL quarterback!! LOL

by Michael David Smith :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 8:04am

Re 1, I rip him because of the Flutie benching. I'm amazed that Bills fans aren't more angry about that. It may well have cost them the Super Bowl.

by ammek (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 9:13am

"How many Phillips are there who would be a better idea to hire as your head coach than Wade?"


You'd get an extra nose tackle into the bargain.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 9:30am

Re: 1

I'm not a Dallas fan or a Wade-hater, but from what I remember the guy always had that confused/overwhelmed look on the sideline. He just never inspired much confidence, sorta like Art Shell last year.

by zip (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 9:31am


Well, I'm angry, but it's the internet. So it's hard to tell.

And it's a big stretch from the Music City Miracle to the Super Bowl. Yes, I realize the Titans should have been out in the wild card round (even with Rob Johnson at QB!!), but just because they went to the SB after winning that game doesn't mean the Bills would have taken the same path. I can't remember too much about that Bills team, but they still would've had to win 2 road games after that to go to the SB.

But of course you probably already know all this, MDS.

I think the real reason I can get over it is that the image of Kevin Dyson coming up a yard short in that Super Bowl is probably my favorite football image of all time. Not because of a rooting interest, just because he's so close, yet so far.

by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 9:52am

As a niners fan I'm delighted by this, I think Norv is doing a great job in SF.

How pissed off must Cargers fans be, they've lost two very good coordinators and the 49ers just nicked their linebackers coach to be our defensive coordinator. All that's left is Marty! (and a shed load of talent but what are the chances that it'll be used to its limits?) Pete Carroll will have a plum job when he turn up next year.

by MFurtek (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 10:09am

I guess this is the right choice. Does this mean Rivera is staying in Chicago and Norv in SF?

by dryheat (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 10:20am

I think I'd have to go with Emo.

by Independent George (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 10:29am

Was the Flutie thing really a Phillips decision, though? I always got the sense that it was forced upon him from above.

by joel in providence (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 10:48am

i always though Lawrence would have made a great coach. excellent leadership and decision-making skills.

by DB (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 10:52am

Guys would play for Lawrence; And if they didn't he'd simply run them over with his car.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 11:11am

Mackenzie Phillips

by MCS (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 11:11am

re. Carroll to NFL

I don't really follow college ball, but here's a write up from ESPN. I'll post it here as there is no thread for signing day.

1. USC
Quality, not quantity. This is not going to be a big class, but it's certainly impressive. The Trojans really cemented their class by adding the No. 1 player in the country, RB Joe McKnight (Riveridge, La./John Curtis Christian), giving them the top three players in the country. The Trojans signed eight other players who rank in the top five of their respective positions, including ILB Chris Galippo (Anaheim, Calif./Servite), RB Marc Tyler (Westlake Village, Calif./Oaks Christian) and DE Everson Griffen (Avondale, Ariz./Agua Fria Union). If Griffen gets his motor going fulltime, he could be a great one. QB Aaron Corp (Orange, Calif./Lutheran) has huge upside.

I don't know who did the ratings. If they're remotely accurate, could you imagine an NFL draft that went like that? With that kind of built in recruiting advantage, why would Carroll move to the NFL?

by Dean (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 11:13am

Wait... Wade Phillips is going to have to control T-O? AFTER Parcells has retired rather then deal with the guy? And Phillips has to do this with Jones undermining him if he tries to achieve any accountability?

This ought to be great. Owens is going to go full-on batshit crazy. I'm talking Tom Cruise meets Dennis Rodman kind of crazy.

Which will be more nauseating? Owens...or listening to Aikman, Moose, Madden, and all the other star-shillers trying to somehow midigate/justify his antics?

by C (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 11:28am

But who can deal with TO, #16? I mean, who? The guy is bat-shit crazy and no one can keep him in check.

by Mike (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 11:42am

#5: did you mean Wilson Phillips or Wade Wilson?

by MJB (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 11:44am

What, no mention on what side of the Merriman/Ware Debate he will fall on?

Now that would be something I would interested in hearing. Who he thinks is the better LB.

by Dean (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 11:48am

I don't know that anybody can really keep the guy in check, but at the same time, bringing in Phillips will be seen as weakness to be exploited. I don't give Owens enough credit that he would do this consciously. But I do see it as inevitable.

(Insatialble Need For Attention) * (Growing) + (Skill Level) * (Diminishing) + Age - (New Coach) * (Perceived Weakness) = Klusterfuck Of Epic Proportions

by Mr. Beefy (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 11:51am

Does Marty have any assistant coaches left? :).

by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 12:02pm

Why doesn't plastic surgery face just coach the team for 1 year and then try to lure a big fish in. I mean, if your already going to pick the guys staff and undermine him, you might as well just take responsibility as the Head coach... I mean, your certanily qualified since you did play college football and everything you touch turns to gold.. cough cough.

by Gus (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 12:37pm

4: I mainly remember the decision because it benched my hero Doug Flutie, and it was an incredibly bad judgement of talent. Does Phillips have a history of similar--albeit smaller--personnel decisions?

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 1:00pm

Well, shoot. Both of my choices are taken.

I guess I'd have to go with 66.

by Dantheman (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 1:02pm

I go for Phillips Milk of Magnesia -- it will help all those Cowboys fans who will soon be [deleted] in their pants at how inept their team has become.

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 1:06pm

This is a great choice. They're bringing in an expert 3-4 coach who's only gotten one real, fair chance. And in that one chance, although he made one crucial mistake, he did have a pretty successful stint. 48-39 record overall. Don't get one bit why people hate him with such incredible fervor.

by admin :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 1:07pm

For those interested, a blog post on Phillips (click link). The man made the worst coaching decision of the last decade, bar none. I don't know how you give him a third chance. If they wanted a defensive guy with 3-4 experience who doesn't have a track record of failure when promoted, the Cowboys should have called up the Ryan brothers.

by ammek (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 1:09pm

link doesn't work

by ammek (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 1:10pm

now it does!

by ammek (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 1:14pm

Marv Levy was a failure at Kansas City. Shanahan wasn't given much of a chance in LA but didn't set the city on fire in his 20-odd games as coach.

But I take your point. The only coach I can think of who failed twice and still got a gig is Marion Campbell. Um...

by Spoilt Victorian Child (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 1:31pm

Well Belichick went to Phillips Andover...

by andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 1:35pm

The chargers have now lost both coordinators.

I feel if Jones hadn't insisted on hiring Garret first, eh would now have Turner. Or Rivera. I feel both men would have wanted to pick their own staff.

They could have let Garret go at that point, the money wouldn't have been that big an issue... except it would have made Jones look stupid.

by Noah of Arkadia (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 1:38pm

I'd take Wade Phillpis over Pete Carrol to coach my NFL team any day of the week. Phillips was mediocre, but at least he was above replacement level. Carrol wasn't. I can't believe he'll get another chance next year, let alone that he'd take it.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 1:39pm

Aaron's blogpost is also a good reminder to not use adjusted sack rate alone as a means of evaluating an offensive line's pass blocking performance. The Colts' offensive line had a great playoff run, but make no mistake; if a perfectly healthy Daunte Culpepper were to start for the Colts next year, the offensive line's adjusted sack rate would skyrocket, no matter how they played.

I also have to look back and see how Flutie played in the late 80s with the Bears, when McMahon was having his chronic injury problems. I remember thinking that Ditka was also too focused on Flutie's physical limitations as well. That team probably should have won more than one Super Bowl.

Finally, I think Phillips has real limitations as a head coach. He isn't going to be able to stand up to Jones as well as Parcells could, which likely means impending disaster in Dallas. However, could we do away with the notion that a coach's demeanor on the sideline is a useful indicator of his competency?

by Tally (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 1:40pm

Talk about lose-lose for both SD and Dallas.

by B (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 1:41pm

For Phillips involvement in the Flutie fiasco, it was my understanding that management was split on the issue, and after 2000, the pro-Flutie guys fled to San Deigo along with Flutie, and everybody else stayed in Buffalo.

by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 1:45pm

I lived in upstate NY during the Flutie-Johnson debacle, and that was around the time most people my age (I'm 18 now) that I know stopped caring about the Bills.

William D. Phillips

by andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 1:46pm

Other than Bill Belichick, how many head coaches in NFL history have failed in one job and then succeeded when given a second chance?

Marv Levy was 31-42 in his first head coaching job with the Chiefs (though they had somewhat improved his first four years, getting to 9-7 his fourth year before falling to 3-6 in his last). he then succeeeded with the Bills.

Looking for more, will post as I find them.

by Boots Day (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 1:47pm

Aaron, I dispute your contention that Belichick was a failure in Cleveland. His last year there was the only one that could really be considered a poor season, and that was with the distraction of moving to Baltimore hanging over everyone's head. In his first four years there, the team's record improved every year, except for the one year it stayed the same. It's not the greatest coaching achievement ever, but it's hardly a disaster.

by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 1:47pm

Crap, I was just coming over here to post about how the whole "OMG NFC East Coaches Rawk" bit has gone down the tubes, and Aaron beat me to it.

So which division has the best coaches now? My off-the-cuff order:

1. NFC South (Fox, Payton, Gruden, Petrino)
2. AFC South (Dungy, Fisher, Del Rio, Kubiak)
3. AFC East (Belicheck, Mangini, Jauron, Cameron)
4. AFC West (Shanahan, Marty, Herm, Kiffin)
5. AFC North (Lewis, Billick, Crennel, Tomlin)
6. NFC East (Reid, Gibbs, Phillips, Coughlin)
7. NFC North (Smith, McCarthy, Childress, Marinelli)
8. NFC West (Holmgren, Linehan, Nolan, Whisenhunt)

The coaches are listed in general order of quality (with the new guys last), but if anyone disagrees with me on any non-Coughlin judgements, you're probably right.

by Noah of Arkadia (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 1:55pm

What I mean is, I understand the Phillips bashing, but why not bash Carrol too? It could be twice the fun for half the price.

by andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 1:56pm

Jack Pardee was 20-23 with the Bears, 24-24 with the Redskins, then much later had success with the Oilers, starting 40-22 with them before finishing with a still winning record of 42-36.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 2:14pm

Norv Turner and Wade Phillips as the finalists -- way to show some imagination there Mr. Jones. I hear Lindy Infante and Rich Kotite were also available. Leave no stone unturned!

by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 2:41pm

#40: I'd swap 1 & 2, 5 & 6 but other than that, looks about what I'd say. Bit tough, considering the distribution's lopsided on several. Billick & Lewis I'd swap as well.

7 & 8 are about equal, too.

by tim (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 2:42pm

as an eagles fan, I'm glad they did not go with Rivera or Singletary, I personally feel that the latter could be a serious force as Head Coach

by Daniel (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 2:45pm

I don't care what Belicheck's record was in Cleveland, his tenure was a disaster. It seemed like the only person in that town that liked him was Modell. The Press despised him, and the fans resented him for the way he dumped Bernie Kosar for Testeverde. Mussolini was retired with more dignity. I was genuinely surprised that the Jets and Patriots would end up fighting over the guy. Many people were glad to see him go, even if the Browns went with him.

by NF (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 2:45pm

Didn't Wade Phillips also preside over one of the worst special teams in modern NFL history?

by NF (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 2:50pm

In response to something from the blog post, I don't think Gibbs Version 2 is a bad coach. I think that the Redskins have managed their roster worse than any other team in the NFL in the last 3 years, with the exception of acquiring Campbell, Santana Moss, and maybe Clinton Portis.

by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 3:14pm

Well, given that Andy Reid is a bit...um...distracted these days with family issues, I supposed it's a good thing for the Eagles that all the other NFC East coaches will suck this year. I can't see Wade Phillips possessing the necessary cajones to stand up to either TO or Jerry Jones.

by MFurtek (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 3:25pm

So in 10 years will people say that Lovie Smith made the worst coaching decision this decade by sticking with Grossman?

(Okay, I understand the difference, Griese never had a chance to show he was much better).

by JasonR (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 3:26pm

I kinda wonder if Jerry Jones is sandbagging. He really wants Bill Cowher, so he looks for a middle of the road re-tread that he can get for favorable terms and can fire him when Cowher decides to coach again.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 3:31pm

When I heard this I turned to my Giants fan cubicle-mate and we both started laughing. Then I reminded him that he still had Coughlin and then all of a sudden I was the only one laughing.

by KL (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 3:40pm

Didn’t Wade Phillips also preside over one of the worst special teams in modern NFL history?

This was a large part of why he was fired. After the Titan playoff loss Bruce DeHaven, generally considered an above average ST coach, was fired. He was replaced by Ronnie Jones who had no business being a ST coach and the Bills STs were brutal the following year (including Phillips using the term 'he's a punt catcher' when asked why the punt returns were poor). Kickoff coverage was so bad they squibbed it most of the time.

Ralph Wilson wanted Jones fired at the end of that season, Phillips refused, and he was fired over it.

I always thought the Bills played hard for Phillips, but he wasn't particularly good on game day, and wasn't particularly good with the media.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 3:56pm

40: Even though he's untested as an NFL head coach, I'd be tempted to put Petrino ahead of Gruden right now.

What's Gruden's record since they won the Super Bowl? He's destroyed the Bucs organization.

Anyway, I nominate Howard Phillips Lovecraft. He would have The Great Cthulhu and Nyalarhotep on his staff, which would make the most interesting sideline ever.

by Randy S. (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 3:59pm

I know this is off topic, but does anyone else hate the people over at profootballtalk.com? The constant soapbox garbage about arrests/charges is pathetic, and then they follow it up with random gay jokes.

Is there anywhere else to get up-to-date NFL news/rumors?

And, to keep this slighly on-topic, I agree with 51. It seemed like Jones was looking for a fill-in for a year and then going all out for a bigger fish next season.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 4:00pm

Sorry for the double post, but regarding the blog entry, what if Jerry Jones is using the Dilbert Principle rather than the Peter Principle? Then this hire makes all the sense in the world.

by Sophandros (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 4:02pm

55: Outside of the traditional media outlets, there's not much else.

Regarding the gay jokes, that's one reason that I consider sports talk radio and most message boards the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

by Fire Millen (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 4:12pm

What, no love for Bum Phillips?

by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 4:24pm

55: PFT is really at its best during the offseason. Just keep checking it over the next couple of months, he's often days ahead of everybody else in free agency.

by Fat Tony (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 4:30pm

re: 55 What's the problem with PFT shining a spotlight on teams/individuals who consistently find themselves in legal trouble? Isn't he providing a public service?

by Carlos (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 4:42pm

Rob Johnson over Doug Flutie is the "worst coaching decision of the last decade, bar none.??

Wow, that's the most ridiculous hyperbole of the last century!

Reaching deep into the way back machine, I'll pull out Cutler-over-Plummer or, say, Brunnel-over-Campbell, or Gerard-over-Leftwich, or Green-over-Huard or etc etc etc as equally bad decisions.

All coaches make what appear to outsiders as inexplicable decisions from time to time.

And to put Wade's decision in perspective, something like 120 NFL head coaches and another 40ish GMs also chose not to start Flutie during his career. I guess they were all idiots who don't really understand the game.

I don't know how a fair-minded analyst can call Phillips' Buffalo tenure a failure, which is tantamount to "defining success up" to such an extent that 90% of coaches are "failures" every year.

by Sean (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 4:48pm

Rob Johnson aside, I always thought Phillips was a competent coach, myself. He was infinitely better than any of the guys Buffalo found to replace him. I think he was a much better candidate than Norv Turner or Ron (what, you mean Peyton can read my Cover 2?) Rivera.

Not a sexy hire, but about the best coach available.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 4:51pm

Re 55:
BenMaller.com is pretty good at culling rumors from various sites - mainly papers.

I really dislike Florio and his "jokes" but I just ignore them and remember how mad he gets when people talk about "inbred West Virginia hicks" and I laugh and laugh and laugh at what a hypocrite he is.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 4:51pm

Re 55:
BenMaller.com is pretty good at culling rumors from various sites - mainly papers.

I really dislike Florio and his "jokes" but I just ignore them and remember how mad he gets when people talk about "inbred West Virginia hicks" and I laugh and laugh and laugh at what a hypocrite he is.

by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 5:09pm

Carlos, you may be right about the Flutie-Johnson comment being somewhat hyperbolic, but I don't think your examples show it. I think Flutie had performed consistently better every time he was put in, as compared to your examples where there was something iffy about both players involved in each of those decisions. With Flutie-Johnson, it was known good performance versus a mediocre big guy with an arm.

by DrewTS (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 5:21pm

Re 61

I think one difference between Flutie/Johnson and those other situations you mentioned are that Phillips did it TWICE. The second time is what they're calling such a big mistake -- the failure to learn from history.

I agree with you that Cutler/Plummer was a moronic decision though. I was screaming that at the time.


by x42 (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 5:29pm

Good to see that a little aptitude with statistics qualifies a person to predict the future with certainty and to be an expert on who is or can be a “successful� NFL head coach.
Obviously Jerry Jones should have considered only the assistant coaches on Bill Belichick’s staff.

by MFurtek (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 5:37pm

Re: 55
You know how I know you're... aww forget it.

I really don't notice their humor that much on PFT. I do know that they are reporting the Cowboys have denied hiring Phillips.

If they end up hiring Wade, I hope the Cowboys run plenty of Bumarooski's.... gotta run the Bumarooski.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 6:04pm

Re: 67
Obviously Jerry Jones should have considered only the assistant coaches on Bill Belichick’s staff.

Here are the list of guys Aaron suggested would be better hires than Phillips:
Ron Rivera
Mike Singletary
Norm Chow
Jim Schwartz
Rob Ryan
Rex Ryan
Jason Garrett

Wow, x42! Just look at all those Belichick desiples. You sure nailed him, didn't you?!?


by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 6:30pm

Aw crap...can we pretend that I spelled disciples correctly in that last post? *punches self in face*

by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 6:36pm

Will Allen (and other Vikes fans),
Good news and bad news for you:

Minn hired away a Colts assistant coach. That's the good news. The bad news is... he's a defensive coach. Linked at my name. If they hired away the DL/LB coach or Ron Meeks, it is conceivable that their #1 run D could fall to #32 in one year. But highly doubtful.

Bummer for me. Indy has a young secondary that played decently despite injuries knocking out their safeties. They could use some consistency.

Treat him well.

by vijay (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 6:45pm

Rob Johnson over Doug Flutie is the “worst decision of the last decade, bar none.??

Really? The worst decision of the last DECADE??? Just out of curiosity, which decade was the genius choice of Mario Williams over Reggie Bush?

Also, I'm pretty sure the Culpepper is better than Brees decision wasn't all that smart.

As a guy who likes the Bills because of my few years as a youth in Buffalo, I do think the Johnson/Flutie decision was a horrible one.

I do think that this is a very good decision. Everyone is ripping the Phillips hire, but I think this is a good move because he will shore up the defense and if he can help turn Ware into a Merriman like pass rusher (instead of the all-around LB that Parcells tried to turn him into), that could help hide Roy Williams's pass coverage. Call me excited about this decision.

by MJCM (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 6:47pm
by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 6:50pm


How was clinton portis a good pick up ?

The redskins gave up a top self corner and a 2nd round draft pick. Runningbacks are a dime a dozen, top notch corners are few and far between.

The jury is still out on Jason Campbell as well. He looks nothing more than a game manager to me.

I've seen a very strong argument that Gibbs V2.0 has done no better than Steve Spurrier.

I think fans put way too much emphasis on how a coach "looks" on the sidelines. How many times have we heard " Coach X looks lost on the sidlines" or " this guy has this dull emotionless face on the sidelines", or " this guy looks so temperage when his team melts down".

If there is ever a season where people throw away these "looks" stereotypes, it should be this year when a mild mannored Tony Dungy won the big one.


by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 6:52pm

I also have to dispute the 1999 season Superbowl potential for the Bills. If indeed that was the season being referred to above.

Had they won the Miracle game, their next two games would have been at 13-3 Indy, who won the division they shared that year, and if they won that, at 14-2 Jax, whose only loss at home EVER (IIRC, or maybe it was their only home loss in a few years, or maybe the stadium was new...) was to the Titans earlier that season. Tenn just matched up well with Jax and IIRC was the first team to ever win three times over the same oppnent in the same year--they gave top-seeded Jax their only two losses. I don't think Buff wins both those games. Then again, the odds were against Tenn, as well. And for what, to lose their 5th SB in 5 tries?

Man, was the AFC East good that year, putting Indy, Buf, and Mia in the playoffs... even ignoring Miami's 177-0 loss to Jax. Of course they all lost early.

by MFurtek (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 6:53pm

I didn't realize Spurrier took the 'Skins to the playoffs, and won a WC game on the road.

Good point about how a coach "looks" though.

by MFurtek (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 6:54pm

Some people might argue the preseason of Portis ruined the Redskins season this year.

I'm not going to go that far, but we'll see what happens next year (battle cry of 31 teams' fan base).

by MFurtek (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 6:54pm

Some people might argue the preseason of Portis ruined the Redskins season this year.

I'm not going to go that far, but we'll see what happens next year (battle cry of 31 teams' fan base).

by Zippy (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 7:05pm

Dungy in TB: 54-42 (.563) 2-4 postseason
Phillips: 48-39 (.552) 0-3 postseason
Wow that is a titanic difference. I can see why everyone knew one was a great winner and one a complete loser who could never possibly win.

by x42 (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 7:20pm

re: 69. Your hero should stick to his statistics. When he ventures into broader football analysis, his efforts are sub-replacement level. Much like your vocabulary.

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 7:34pm

Right, Wade Phillips failed in his two chances.

I mean, 16-16 in Denver, with the owner constantly letting his QB override Phillips' decisions. How is that not a failure?!?

And that 29-19 record in Buffalo was pathetic! 29-19? That's like, only a .604 win percentage. I mean, we all knew he took over a spectacular 6-10 team from Marv Levy, and that he was followed by the spectacular Gregg Williams, who managed 3-13 without him. What has Phillips ever done to look like a good coach? Am I right? C'mon, someone tell me I'm right!

by Fat Tony (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 7:42pm

re: 80 Try explaining why you think someone else is wrong instead of angrily making random assertions.

by andrew (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 8:09pm

Not worthy of extra points to itself, but the Vikings hired the Colt's Leslie Frazier as their new Defenseive Coordinator, replacing Mike Tomlin.

by the K (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 8:46pm

#81: You're right! My point exactly!

#4: It's not that many of us were happy about Johnson over Flutie, many fans weren't. Some were, of course, I point to the now defunct flugdutie.com as an example. But we'd have been a lot angrier if Johnson played terrible and cost us the game. He didn't. When he walked off the field for the final time the Bills had the lead with 16 seconds to go.

@27: I'm with the guy who called this the biggest hyperbole of the last century! I don't think that Johnson should have started over Flutie. To myself, to many Bills fans, and to most outside observers, he looked like the better player most of the time, and the better chance to win games all of the time. However: 1. Johnson's upside was intriguing, to say the least. 2. Most of the other Bills fans I know are not convinced the decision was purely Phillips'. Let's not forget the $25 million contract Johnson was signed to, at the same time that Flutie was picked up as an afterthought backup from the CFL for the vet minimum.

Was it the wrong decision to start Johnson over Flutie? Most likely. Was it entirely on Wade Phillips' shoulders? The jury's out on that. Did it cost them the playoff game against Tennessee? Absolutely, flatly, no.

by Jason Mulgrew aka The Mul Dawg (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 9:14pm

re: 4

I don't have time to read the other posts after 4, so I am sorry if you write same as me.

Flutie being benched didn't cost the Bills. Rob Johnson played good in the playoff game. They lost on a special teams play.

by Jason Mulgrew aka The Mul Dawg (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 9:16pm

re: 6

well Parcells didn't look confused. Did he or did he not inspire confidence?

Playoff wins with Cowboys: 0.

I rest my case.

by Bionicman (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 9:56pm

#81, 82: What the heck are you guys smoking? Rob Johnson DID play terribly; he went 10-22 for 96 yards (for an atrocious 3.4 yards per pass), he got sacked six times, he got taken down for a safety, and seven of Buffalo's sixteen points were on a 62 yard drive in which run plays took up 55 or so of those yards. Isn't one of the fundamental ideas of this site just because a TEAM was leading at some point doesn't mean that every player on it played well? Why forgive Johnson for repeated lapses while excoriating the special teams for one?

by Bionicman (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 9:58pm

I apologize to Basilicus (post 81) and Fat Tony (post 82) for getting my numbers wrong. I was referring to 84 (the K) and 85 (Jason). Looks like I've been smoking something fierce as well...

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 9:58pm

Bobman, I don't think there is any reason to be believe that Frazier won't be a good defensive coordinator for the Vikings. He got canned from the job in Cincy, but there isn't anything about the Bengals' defensive performance before he arrived, or their performance after he left, that would indicate that he wasn't getting a good performance from what talent was available. In any case, Frazier seems to have a nice blend of cover two and Jimmy Johnson/Buddy Ryan stunting experience, which I think lends itself to defensive playcalling which is hard to prepare for.

Unfortunately, Frazier isn't qualified to play qb or wr, so he might do a great job, and the Vikings still might not match this year's six wins.

by Josh D (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 10:14pm

I have always wanted to be a fly on the wall when Phillips joined the Chargers as Defensive Corrdinator and Flutie was still there. That must have been a fascinating conversation.

It will be interesting to see how Ware does under Phillips compared to Merriman...somehow I think the Chargers still did better than the Cowboys on that draft day even though we picked after them twice (Merriman instead of Ware and Castillo instead of Spears)...as long as our guys stop taking things they shouldn't.

by Gus (not verified) :: Thu, 02/08/2007 - 10:41pm

88: Bionicman, hook me up with some of that stuff, eh? But you make a rather irrefutable point that Rob Johnson played like...Rob Johnson in that play-off game. However, the fact that any is defending Rob Johnson by saying "he played well in music city miracle game" or any other one game, that's a distressingly bad argument.

I don't really see how anyone can honestly defend Phillips' decisions when it comes to Johnson v. Flutie when you look at those stats. Even people who evaluate QBs by wins (shudder) would have to concede that Flutie was the better player both years.

The "Johnson was being paid more money" reason for him being starting over Flutie is a valid point, and also still not a good reason for starting someone over a clearly superior player. It's a common mistake to give starting time to the player you're paying more even if he's not that great, but rarely do you see that big a discrepancy between the highly-paid crappo player and the back-up who is an improvement.

While I was always a Flutie fan, it seems to me like the decision--while it was utterly stupid--Phillips made is being overblown here a little bit. That's why I was asking if he had a history of other personnel mistakes. Also,is Phillips getting full control here, or do the Cowboys have a plan to bring in a GM?

I think Phillips' career record does indicate that he can be a competent head coach, but I do think it would've been a better move to bring in fresh blood. Not "Lane Kiffin"-level fresh blood, but I would've liked to see one of the Ryans or Singletary get a head coaching job. Still, hiring Phillips isn't necessarily a bad move, it's just a rather "safe" one, going with the guy with the track record instead of a first-time head coach. Sometimes, that works, other times it leaves people wondering why their FO wasn't a little more adventurous.

To sum up, I personally don't like the hiring, but it's a defensible one.

by Sifter (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 2:40am

It's very hard to analyse coaches - and assuming this statement is true - why do we bother trying to sound smart about it? After all, what do we have to go on? W/L percentage? Playoff wins? The records of the coaches who followed them/preceeded them? The way they look on the sideline???

The other thing about head coaches is that we don't really know how the decision making works on their teams. For example, the Bills under Phillips. He's a defensive expert and while he was head coach, does he really deserve ALL the blame for a poor decision in picking his QB starter? We have no idea what advice he was receiving and what weight was behind that advice or whether it was totally his call. This type of conjecture means that any "analysis" of coaches should be taken with a pinch of salt.

by dryheat (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 10:30am

Titans earlier that season. Tenn just matched up well with Jax and IIRC was the first team to ever win three times over the same oppnent in the same year

Pete Carroll hit the trifecta against Jimmy Johnson just two years earlier. That is not a typo.

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 10:47am

Hey Redskins fan,

Joe Gibbs did win 1 playoff game, it was an ugly game in tampa that featured a questionable Lavar fumble recovery, a very questionable defenseive touchdown, and a called back tampa bay touchdown.

In that game, the deadskins had the worst offensive output in NFL Playoff history but won. That is why the offensive minded Joe Gibbs was forced to go out and get a coordinator to "modernize" his offense.

And that led you to the mess we call 2006.

by MFurtek (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 12:21pm

Yeah, but the point is he still led the team to a 6 game winning streak at the end of the year enabling them to make the playoffs.

During that time the Redskins defeated the Cowboys (sweeping them for the first time in 15 years), Eagles, and Giants... two of whom were vying for the playoff spot the Redskins got.

Gibbs finished ahead of Parcells Fallas team that unquestionably had more talent and expectations going into the season.

They also were surprisingly competative in the Divisional game... in the sense that it wasn't a complete blowout.

I understand all the nuances, but the point is Gibbs v2 won a playoff game, and Parcells vDallas did not...

Now, fast forward to 2006 and there is plenty of spotty coaching decisions. We all disagree'd with his decision to go with Brunell, change the offense, let Portis run a bit wild...

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 12:38pm

Re: 80

Way to completely ignore my point. But I must say that weak attempt to make fun of me for something I already pointed out is way better than actually trying to address the issue. Good job!

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 1:48pm


You have got to be kidding me to bring up that Gibbs winning streak in 05'. He beat Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Rams, and a injured eagles team they were heavy favorites over, a garbage arizona team etc. I wrote about that "great" win streak in my blog before the season even started. A lot of people saw that win streak as momentum to carry the skins into next year, but I saw a bunch of tired, injured, and beat up bad teams they beat.

How do you play in todays NFL without having the shotgun? Have you listened to a lot of Gibbs comments, the guy was shocked and obviously wasn't ready.

You credit Gibbs with that Tampa Bay win but it was a joke. All those fishy calls went to the skins, and they had something like 120 yards of total offense.

How you heard about what goes in with the Redskins? How they call plays, how certain players and coaches don't talk to other certain players and coaches?

So your argument about why Gibbs is better than Parcells is because he won 1 measly playoff game. Did it ever occur to you that it was the worst offensive performance ever ( from gibbs), and that Gibbs admits that he doesn't coach defense t all ( and they won the game)?

Ohh, and I know you say Dallas has more talent, but the redskins spent money on their talent.

by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 2:28pm

#72: Um... a different decade?

Williams over Bush was 2006. Johnson over Flutie was 1999.

by justanothersteve (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 2:31pm

#14 - I agree. Mackenzie and TO could swap overdose stories.

by vijay (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 2:38pm

98: I thought a decade was a period of 10 years. If that's not the case and that a decade is defined as a defined set of 10 years (like 2000 - 2010), then my assertion was incorrect. But if a decade is defined as any period of 10 consecutive years, then I stand by the fact that the Mario selection over Reggie is dumber than the Flutie/Johnson decision.

by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 2:48pm

vijay - I guess we're both right. From Dictionary.com:

1. a period of ten years: the three decades from 1776 to 1806.
2. a period of ten years beginning with a year whose last digit is zero: the decade of the 1980s.

by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 2:48pm

Re: 100

That was a decision between two unknown quantities. The Flutie/Johnson decision was a conscious choice of a known inferior quantity. Also, had Dominik Davis stayed healthy, that Williams pick wouldn't have looked nearly as bad as it does now. It still would have been a bad pick, but it would have been seen as much more understandable.

And as for the Culpepper/Brees thing, again, that was a choice between two unknown quantities. They were both coming off relatively major injuries and nobody knew for sure which would recover better. Phillips had seen both Flutie and Johnson play, Johnson was obviously the worse of the two, and Phillips went with him anyway. That's alot different then guessing wrong on who's going to recover from an injury better.

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 3:07pm

Okay, so Reggie Bush is the next Jesus, but when did everyone decide Mario Williams can't be anything but awful? He improved a lot over the course of the year and it's pretty obvious that neither player has hit their full stride yet.

Shouldn't we - you know - wait another year or two before saying Williams over Bush is the worst decision ever. After all, we still don't have any clue as to whether Bush will ever be able to function as an every down back. Who knows, maybe Williams and Bush over Vince Young will turn out to be the worst decision ever made. And, going by this brilliant strain of logic, the worst example of bad drafting in the 90s was easily the first 195 picks of the 1995 draft.

by Fire Millen (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 3:52pm

72. The statement you are quoting incorectly and disputing was "This was the worst coaching decision of the last decade, bar none." You forgot the word coaching in your quote. I don't, and most people would not, consider draft choices to be purely coaching decisions. Whereas who starts and who plays are coaching decisions.

by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 4:11pm

I'll back up Johnson over Flutie being the worst coaching move of the last decade. I've said for years that that was the single dumbest coaching decision I can remember.

For what it's worth, my second choice would be Shanahan starting Brian Griese over Bubby Brister when the Broncos were looking for the threepeat back in 1999.

by wr (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 4:32pm

Re 103: Continuing that thought about drafting, the worst example of drafting this decade would be the first 198 picks of the 2000 draft.

by David C (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 4:35pm

RE: 104, uh... neither and both are coaching decisions depending on the situation.

RE: Aaron, Wade was most definitely NOT a failure in Buffalo regardless of the single decision.

RE: Everybody, why is anybody worried about Wade's ability to coach the offense? Do you really think Jones hired Wade to let him run the offense? Jerry's too much of a control freak to let Wade do that. Everybody keeps bringing up Garrett, but Sparano, the guy with seniority on the Cowboys offensive staff, is getting completely ignored. In case you're wondering who Tony Sparano is, he's the guy who took a bunch of nobodies and turned them into Jason Witten (two years ago), Marion Barber (last year), Andre Gurode (this year) and Marc Colombo (this year). His only real failure is Rob Pettiti (but rookie 4th round draft picks shouldn't be starting at Right Tackle in games in the first place). He's the one who should've been named HC, and Jones and Phillips would have to be complete idiots to put Garrett in charge of the offense instead of him.

by David C (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 4:38pm

PS - While on the subject of ridiculously stupid coaching decisions... can starting Jones over Barber be placed in that category? I realize Sparano was probably involved in that decision... but still.

by ammek (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 4:53pm

re: Stupidest coaching decisions.

How quickly we forget Marty Mornhinweg's coin tossing call.

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 4:55pm


The back up runningback benefits from rushing against tired defenses. Throw in the fact that Barber rushes like a hammer and it is very visually pleasing.

Now if it were the other way and Barber hammered away 3 yard run after 3 yard run and then the shifty Jones had some longer break out runs then people would say start Julious because of his break out potential.

Everybody wants to play MMQB.

by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 4:59pm

I think that Texans should be criticised along with the Jets, Packers, Raiders, Bills and most of all the Lions for passing on Leinart (though Young would have been an equally legitimate, though riskier, choice). Drafting a running back first overall is just a fundamentally stupid idea, for cap reasons. I think the fact that there were two outstanding quarterback prospects last year and a third pretty good one blinded a lot of teams to just how valuable a great quarterback is.

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 5:23pm


Ooh, I like this game. That would mean the worst example of drafting in the 80s would be the first 202 picks made in 1983.

by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 5:30pm

111- I am with you that runningbacks are overrated but I can't fault the Texans in drafting a guy they think could be the next Julious Peppers. Not only could he be a long time pro bowler, but he fills a need in the Texans defense which has been horrible. A good defensive end could be the most valued position on defense.

The Lions, Jets Bills and Raiders should not have passed on Leinart. I could see GB not with Rodgers and the Texans because they are in a division with Manning and have a joke defense and a #1 pick QB already.

by Mentos Fillapeedios (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 7:42pm

The Jets did good to pass on Matt Leinart.
The Jets drafted two linemen in the first round. Both made the all-rookie team and should be staples on the team for a long time.
They drafted a QB in the second round. Maybe he doesn't pan out, maybe he does.
Leinart lacks arm strength, just like Chad Pennington. Leinart would have had issues in The Meadowlands.

by Gus (not verified) :: Fri, 02/09/2007 - 11:52pm

Leinart has not had shoulder surgery twice. To put him in the same categoty as Pennington, just because Leinart doesn't have a rocket arm, is overdoing it IMHO.

by Isaiah C. (not verified) :: Sat, 02/10/2007 - 12:45am

Please remember that hindsight is 20/20. Sure, in previous games, Johnson hadn't played to the level of Flutie. But Flutie was 39, Johnson was 26. Johnson was the QB of the future for the Bills at the time, and they needed to let him air it out. Why did they do that in a playoff game? How the heck should I know. Except that 99 was one of Flutie's worst years up to that point, and when Johnson had started in the last game of the season, he did a pretty darn good job (24-32, 287 yds, 2 td) I'd say Johnson was a Rex Grossman type decision, and one that in hindsight Phillips wouldn't make again.

by Basilicus (not verified) :: Sat, 02/10/2007 - 1:16am

I really liked what the Jets did at QB. Trusting in Pennington, who rewarded them by being 9th in DPAR this past year, was a good move. Picking up Ramsey, who I still view as having a pretty strong upside, was a low-risk, potentially high-reward move. And drafting Clemens gave them a promising player with maybe the best potential skill set of any rookie QB. I don't know that there's a better trio of QBs in the league right now. Even before (obviously) they drafted Clemens, they didn't have a need to spend a first rounder on a QB. They had much more pressing needs on the line, which they wisely addressed.

by Mentos Fillapeedios (not verified) :: Sat, 02/10/2007 - 12:41pm

re: 115
I suppose you are right. Leinart has to take his team to the playoffs before we can compare him to Pennington.

re: 117. Patrick Ramsey will be cut. That much is true.
The reason for this is he is due a roster bonus on March 1, I think.

by Brad (not verified) :: Sat, 02/10/2007 - 2:45pm

someone explain to me why everyone is so in love with Singletary

by PaulH (not verified) :: Sat, 02/10/2007 - 2:46pm

This is, I think, a good hire. No, it's not a sexy hire, and as a result some people are going to go bonkers, but it is a good hire from a football perspective.

Wade Phillips is a good coach, end of story.

He went 16-16 in two seasons as the Broncos head coach in 1993 and 1994. Certainly that's nothing spectacular, but many have done a hell of a lot worse in their first coaching stop.

Then he goes to Buffallo, where he does well as defensive coordinator, and then is promoted to head coach. He stays there three years, makes the playoffs twice, and goes 29-21 overall. For whatever reason, the Bills fired him after an 8-8 season in 2000. In the six years since his firing, the Bills have only won more than eight games once, and have yet to return to the playoffs.

After his firing there, he goes on to stints as defensive coordinator of the Falcons and Chargers, were both of his units do well.

So, the guy has done well pretty much everywhere he has been.

Beyond that, he's a 3-4 mastermind, and that's exactly what the Cowboys needed. Considering all they have invested in player personnel to run the 3-4, it would have been a MAJOR change to go to something else.

I really don't see why he won't do well, especially considering the Cowboys have a good bit of talent.

by Gus (not verified) :: Sat, 02/10/2007 - 10:55pm

118: That's not really what I meant, actually. I meant that Leinart has better arm strength than Pennington, and that it's a bit premature to lump Leinart into the same boat as "not having good arm strength" that Pennginton has to be put in.

This doesn't mean that I think Pennington isn't a good QB. I really like watching him play, but the guy's twice-mended arm means he probably won't last as long as some other starters.

I like that Leinart has a good chance to be better than Pennington, and that he showed considerable promise playing behind a terrible line.

by Mentos Fillapeedios (not verified) :: Sun, 02/11/2007 - 12:44am

re: 121

I agree with that. I was just busting your balls a bit.

I'd like to see Kellen Clemens step up and take Pennington's job sometime in 2007. I expect him to do so, in fact.
During the free agency era, there are only four QBs drafted in the first two rounds who did not get a chance to play meaningful football their first two seasons. They are Marques Tuiasosopo, Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, and Pennington.

by Gus (not verified) :: Sun, 02/11/2007 - 2:10am

Ye gods, Tuiasosopo was drafted in the early rounds? What a waste of a pick. As for Aaron Rodgers, we may seriously never know what kind of starter he'd be.