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Cowboys fire Wade Phillips

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Posted Nov. 08, 2010 @ 7:02 p.m. ET
By PFW staff

Updated Nov. 8, 2010 @ 7:02 p.m. ET
Posted Nov. 8, 2010 @ 3:03 p.m. ET

The Cowboys have fired head coach Wade Phillips and named Jason Garrett their interim head coach.

Owner Jerry Jones announced the move on Monday, the first time he has fired a head coach in the middle of the season.

"An in-season coaching change is not something I've done before, something I was reluctant to do as recently as last week," Jones said. "But I think what's best for the organization and the fans is a coaching change."
 
Phillips had a 34-22 regular-season record (1-2 in the postseason) in his 3½ seasons on the Dallas sideline, twice winning the NFC East and leading the franchise to its first playoff victory in 14 years last January. He could not overcome a horrendous start to the 2010 season, however, as the team that had Super Bowl expectations at the beginning of the season has started 1-7, including a 45-7 loss to the Packers on Sunday night.

"I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the fans of the Cowboys and to the entire Jones family for all of the support that we received here in Dallas," Phillips said in a statement. "I would also like to thank our coaches and players for their loyalty and dedication. ...

"I am disappointed in the results of this season to this point, but I am also very proud of what our team and our players accomplished in the previous three years. In good times and difficult times, our players stuck together and never lost hold of their belief in each other and the strong team bond that they have shared. Family and coaching football have always defined my life, and I will always be grateful for my experiences here with the Dallas Cowboys."

Garrett has been the team's offensive coordinator since 2007. He spent eight seasons as the team's backup quarterback and 12 seasons total in that role.

"I do believe that Jason has the temperament, the disposition, to effect a culture change," Jones said.

Paul Pasqualoni will assume the role of defensive coordinator, which Phillips previously held. Pasqualoni was the team's defensive line coach and previously had been the head coach at Syracuse for 14 seasons and was the Dolphins' defensive coordinator for two years.

Jones said he addressed the players briefly before announcing the move and informed them that the team was not giving up on this season.

"This is not an admission of defeat or finality for this season," Jones said. "We need to play in a winning way."

The decision to fire Phillips, Jones said, was not made until today. But his opinion on making an in-season change held firm until Saturday night, when he first had thoughts about a switch. Sunday night's loss to the Packers sealed the deal. The move was made official at 1:45 p.m. local time.

Phillips has an overall career mark of 83-65 as a head coach. He had never had a record worse than 7-9 prior to this season. The Cowboys had not made the postseason since 1996 until Phillips guided them there in 2007.

He had tried to guide the team back to basics by reinforcing fundamentals and going back to a training-camp-like atmosphere in practice. It clearly didn't work as the Cowboys suffered another blowout in Week Nine.

The way we see it

The embarrassing losses were piling up for Phillips and the Cowboys, reaching a boiling point in Sunday night's loss to the Packers. It really was the failure of the defense, which has allowed 179 points the past five games, that ultimately cost Phillips his job. It has been thought for a while that Garrett would be next in line to coach the Cowboys. Garrett has come under fire in recent seasons for his offensive play-calling, so it will be interesting to see if he can get the players to perform with more urgency and better fundamentals. He will have eight games to prove to Jones that he deserves a shot to be named the permanent head coach after this season.

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