A Dallas Cowboys head coach did something today that hasn’t happened in five years. Yep, Wade Phillips appeared on local radio for an interview. I’ll pause while you pick your jaw off the floor and stick another pin in your Bill Parcells doll.
“Good, good. How you guys?” Phillips said as he began his segment on KTCK-AM (1310, The Ticket). Now, the new coach doesn’t exactly incite enthusiasm. In fact, his lazy, folksy drawl conjures images of a guy you might sidle up next to on a bar stool at your local watering hole. But with his radio appearance and his accessibility during last weekend’s minicamp, we can officially make this pronouncement: Parcells’ vice grip on Valley Ranch has been loosened, with a squirt of good ol’ WD-40.
“I know the Mavs were out, but we had a heckuva lotta media out here for a minicmap in May,” Phillips said. “I like it.”
Whoa, wha …? Did he say he actually liked -- as in, the opposite of Parcells’ despised -- the media? “Overall it helps to play in a fish bowl with all the attention and interest,” Phillips went on. “Players perform better when they know a lot of folks are watching and caring.”
I know the change-of-culture routine choreographed by Ron Washington isn’t exactly working out for the Rangers, but the fall of the Parcells Empire just has to be a positive thing for the Cowboys. Right?
Here’s what else we learned during Dallas’ first minicamp of 2007:
Love him or like him, owner Jerry Jones is here to stay. And, really, how can you not like him? After Jerry crowbarred his way into the discussion about the Texas Tech-Oklahoma State football game coming to Dallas, a certain Blow-hard columnist called him a “weasel.” So how does Jerry respond? “Any more questions for The Weasel?’’ Jones said, closing a light-hearted visit with media.
Terrell Owens whispered to people that his surgically repaired finger wouldn’t be ready in time for minicamp, then he arrived and miraculously, heroically caught passes. T.O. said he’s ready to embrace his new coach and, more important, a new offense in which he moves around more and gets the ball early and often in games . I’m not saying Phillips won’t have run-ins with T.O., but what makes more sense: Parcells referring to Owens as “the player,” or Phillips referring to Owens as “a great player”?
With free-agent Ken Hamlin signed to roam the open field, safety Roy Williams will be moved to linebacker on third-and-long situations. “I just call him a defensive back playing close to the line of scrimmage,” Phillips said. That move is a sign Phillips’ defense will attack, as opposed to Parcells’ read-and-react scheme. Under Phillips, the Chargers led the NFL in sacks last season. “Athletically we’re similar,” he said.
Quarterback Tony Romo may be cuddling Carrie Underwood. But he’s no longer holding. That job now belongs to veteran backup quarterback Brad Johnson. “I just know it isn’t me,” Romo joked. “I’m a former holder.”
How human is Phillips? He’s already joked that his company car from Troy Aikman Ford had a blinker problem. During his regime, Parcells tried to convince us he didn’t need a car because, of course, he slept in his office.
Countdown to training camp: 70 days. --Richie Whitt