It finally hit me. I knew it from past history, I could tell from the press conferences, but it took today for the realization to become...real. Wade Phillips is a player’s coach. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Player’s coaches can win just like any type of coach. It’s just that after four years of autocratic rule, I need to re-adjust my thinking.
Bill Parcells was the antithesis of the player’s coach. In style and substance, players were expected to bend to his rules, to his outlook on life. For Parcells, football was all consuming; player’s concerns outside of football should be subservient to the organization. It was all or nothing. Although his relationship with a select few players, the so-called Parcells Guys, was a little different. But in general, the atmosphere was one of a police state.
What brought all this home to me was Phillips’ reaction to the missed OTA’s. In fairness to the players, this year we are holding a lot more OTA’s than we did under Parcells, so some absenteeism should be expected. In the old regime, absenteeism would be met with total silence, or a back-handed compliment like – "I guess those guys are already so good they don’t need to attend practices." But under Wade, it’s met with statements like these:
"We've told the players that these workouts are voluntary, and I've been happy with the level of off-season work that we've received from all of the veterans to this point," Phillips said Thursday.
"On the OTA's, the thing we have stressed is communication. We'd like for the guys to be here for as many of the workouts as they can, but if they are not able to make it, we want them to let us know in advance. To a man, that policy has been followed."
We’ll see how it works out. The thought is that with a relaxed atmosphere and a little more freedom, the players will be happier employees, thereby more productive employees. The worry is that things will get too loose, and players will start straying from the core mission of winning football games. Players are people too, and some of them will take a mile if you give them an inch. So Phillips has to walk the line between the two, keeping it light and relaxed while commanding respect and dedication to the franchise from the players.
Akin Ayodele thinks it’s working.
Linebacker Akin Ayodele said he doesn't believe anyone has taken advantage of the new climate.
"As players, if you are here in town and don't have any commitments, why would you not come?" Ayodele said. "We are committed and accountable to each other."
Check this out. A BTB reader sent me this link by email. He built some posters of Emmitt from over 3,000 old and current Cowboys football cards. That’s a labor of love.
Oh yeah, Terrell Owens is expected to get his bonus. I know, this is not really news.