Lame Duck Phillips?

Relax, both coaches could be talking to Tony Romo again next season.
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I’ll serve up a smorgasbord of training camp insights later this morning, but wanted to get to the news of the day first.

Contrary to the asinine sentiments of some columnists, this isn't guaranteed to be Wade Phillips' last season as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Shoot, he might not even have to win the Super Bowl to keep his job.

So says owner Jerry Jones, who I cornered after yesterday’s afternoon practice here in Oxnard. (Hey, gotta hit the ground running, right?)

“It’s not a Super Bowl issue,” Jones said of Phillips’ status. “Winning the Super Bowl is not the criteria. “It’s just plain wrong to say that if we don’t win the Super Bowl then Wade doesn’t keep his job. That's not even a thought for me.”

In last week's column I wrote that Wade would likely be gone if the Cowboys don't win the Super Bowl. Jerry can't come out and say that, but I still believe that.

But some nimrods in the media – including John Madden – are labeling Phillips a “lame duck” coach, saying this is his last season regardless of the results. What with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett waiting in the wings.

But even with Phillips only having one year left on his contract and Garrett passing on head coaching jobs at Atlanta and Baltimore to be the NFL’s highest-paid assistant, Jerry apparently isn’t locked into rushing the situation.

"There's no agreement with Jason," Jones says. "If offers come to him after this season, there's nothing standing in his way of pursuing them. I wanted to find a way to keep both Wade and Jason and I've done that for this year. That was the goal."

It's hard to envision a scenario where the Cowboys lose the NFC Championship Game or even the Super Bowl and Wade returns to coach next season and even beyond. Does Jerry ultimately envision Garrett as his head coach? Sure.

But, remember, he suffered through the hirings of guys like Dave Campo and Chan Gailey and Bill Parcells, so accelerating the process of ridding himself of a coach who went 13-3 is not top of mind.

And it shouldn’t be.-- Richie Whitt

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