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Peter King gives us the scoop from Jerry

Peter King spent a lot of time talking to Jerry Jones about hiring Wade Phillips Friday night. Jerry was pretty candid about a lot of things. You should read the whole article because it has lots of interesting stuff in it, and I'm only going to excerpt a few paragraphs, although I felt like re-printing the whole thing.

It came down to Norv Turner and Wade Phillips as we already knew. King lays out the two options and what they would bring to the Cowboys. The Norv option allowed Jason Garrett to learn under Norv. He also adds in that Parcells told Jerry Jones that Todd Bowles has the attributes of a head coach.

He then describes the Wade Phillips option.

The Wade Phillips/Garrett/Tony Sporano Option. Phillips was a 3-4 coach who'd been the Chargers' defensive coordinator last season, when they finished fifth in the league in scoring defense, first in sacks with 61, and third in rushing. The one thing Dallas had struggled with on defense was rushing the passer, even with some reputable rushers. The Cowboys had 34 sacks last fall, below the league average of 36.

Jones liked what Parcells had done in his four years with the team, but he thought the defensive production could be better, and he liked what Phillips said in his interview about molding a defense according to the skills of the players you had. Jones had visions of DeMarcus Ware morphing into a world-class pass-rusher instead of a good one.

But the big thing that Jones said was that the decision came down to what Jones could live without.
Jones decided he could live without Turner, because of Sporano's demonstrated ability and Garrett's potential. He could not live without Phillips. So late Wednesday night he called Phillips and told him he'd like him to come to Dallas on his private plane to open negotiations for a contract. He didn't tell him he was hired, because they hadn't talked money yet.

"If we hire Norv, I decided we would have had double-coverage on offense because, in the end, I felt comfortable with our offense. And you may not know what you have [with Garrett] until you remove the net. It's like you have a good player on the field with a very good prospect behind him, and you'll never know about the prospect until you put him in the game and take the veteran out. The one player's a good player, and the other player might be a better player. You never will know until you put him out on the field. That's sort of how I felt with Jason.''

King also drops this enticing nugget on us.

Two pre-eminent college coaches sought the job. "I got calls from two of the top coaches in the country, two guys with teams in the Top 10,'' [Jones] said. "I'm not going to name them because it's a sensitive situation. I have a lot of respect for college coaches, but I didn't think it was the way to go here. It was the learning-on-the-job issue.''

King thinks it was a good hire.

In the end, the Phillips hire makes sense to me. There's a good chance he'll add some pass-rushing teeth to a defense with talent. It also makes sense that the Cowboys hired Garrett when they could, and paired him with a smart but unknown play-caller in Sporano -- even before Jones knew who he'd hire as coach. The one thing we can't know for sure is whether Phillips' laissez-faire style, so different from the in-your-face Parcells way, will work here. That said, I still think Dallas enters the offseason in pretty good shape to be an 11-win team in 2007.

Mickey Spags has an interesting story in his latest article. Jim Hess, a former coach in Texas and a scout for the Cowboys, is an old friend of Wade Phillips - and Bum - and gives his take on the hiring. The key part for me was this snippet, where Hess talks about Wade's common sense approach to coaching football.

He remembers when Wade first went to the Oilers, and they had the mammoth (in those days) Curly Culp to play nose tackle when the Phillipses introduced the 3-4 defense to the NFL. He was massive by that decade's standards, so Culp would just line up on the center and go to it.

But later on, Hess says he remembers Kenny Kennard playing nose tackle. He was smaller. He was a totally different player. So the Phillips guys adjusted, slanting him more to utilize his speed.

Just good, ol' common sense, and Hess insists Wade will figure out how to get the most out of Roy Williams.

Don't, though, get the idea because of this simple approach to football, or because he's rather understated or likes to fire off one-liners, that Wade Phillips is a soft guy. That players can take advantage of him.

"He's not going to get bullied," Hess said.

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