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Cowboys players excited about Wade Phillips

Some player quotes on Wade Phillips:

"I've just heard great things," quarterback Tony Romo said. "I'm going to get a hold of a few Chargers when we sit around the bar tonight and find out what they can tell me. He's going to bring a smart defensive mind to the team, and he's obviously been in this position before, so the transition should be really good."

"I've already talked to Merriman about him and he got me all excited about playing for him," said [DeMarcus] Ware, who the Cowboys picked over Merriman in 2005. "He's going to utilize all of his talent and we've got a lot of talent for him to use. ... This is probably one of the greatest guys in the league that we could get."

"I'm excited to see what kind of impact he'll have on our team," Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said. "I think we should be able to pick up right where we left off. We've got a lot of talent, and there's no reason we should have to take a step back. I think (Phillips) is the kind of coach who can keep us at the level we've reached and get us to go further."

But John Clayton had my favorite quote; it came from a San Diego player:

"Those guys are going to love his system," Chargers defensive end Luis Castillo said. "They've been in a straight-forward 3-4 defense where they were two-gapping. They're going to do a lot more moving, a lot more blitzing. They're going to have opportunities to make plays."

That is the reason I've been backing Wade Phillips all along. The fact that he had won as a head coach and had improved teams everywhere he went were also key, but his aggressive 3-4 defense was what I wanted most. The Cowboys roster is stacked with potential on the defense, it just hasn't surfaced all the way yet.

Clayton also wrote this:

Quietly, they had been grumbling toward the end of the season about the Cowboys' 3-4 scheme. There was not enough blitzing and there was too much two-gapping in which a defensive line has to basically wrestle with a blocker instead of shooting a gap and going up field. Phillips' 3-4 scheme features more slanting and one-gapping. Plus, it has more blitzing. The happiest people will be along the defensive line because they will be able to be more aggressive and possibly post some decent statistics.

I'm going to write more about the new-look 3-4 defense we'll be running, but this has got to get any Cowboy fan excited.

So how much did Jerry pay Wade anyway?

"...Mr. Phillips, who signed a three-year contract with an option for a fourth, averaging about $3 million a year."

That's about right, maybe a little more than I thought.

Now, we need a staff.

Mr. Phillips said the first task is filling out a staff that suffered eight assistant-coach defections since the season ended. The only offensive coaches on staff are assistant head coach/running game coordinator Tony Sparano and Jason Garrett, who will probably be the team's offensive coordinator. Todd Bowles is a likely candidate to become defensive coordinator, according to Mr. Jones, and Paul Pasqualoni and Vincent Brown also are under contract.

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