Jerry Jones and Wade Phillips held a press conference wrapping-up the 2009 season and to announce Wade's new two-year deal that will have him as coach through 2011. The presser can be found here.
Below, I summarized some of what was said. These are not exact quotes, just paraphrases, so don't treat them as verbatim. But, they convey the general idea of what was said.
Jerry opened with the following (roughly):
Make the jump...
Jerry: Agreement with Wade, head coach thru 2011 season. Finalized yesterday, we're comfortable with the agreement. Mentioned in San Antonio at training camp before this year I was pleased Wade was there to coach 2009, we can take advantage of his years of experience. Believe so strongly that we are fortunate to take advantage of what we've built in last 3 years, and take advantage some 33 years coaching experience, with 3 of them as HC of the Cowboys. Our fans and team get to take advantage of all of the things that made coach the coach he is today. Inappropriate to go forward without taking advantage of that. He's a better HC today than 3 years ago, better than when we went into TC this year.
Evaluating our team and where we can go, it's not without work, but Wade is a great value for this franchise and for fans. Build on the foundation of the last 3 years. Continuity is the exception toady instead of the rule. It will benefit the team. Get us where we want to go, and if I didn't believe that we wouldn't be here. This team is going in the right direction, the arrow is going up. The players are embracing Wade's leadership, knowledge. I just talked to a practice squad player, he expressed it best - "I want to get everything I can get from coach Philips, everything from Paul Pasqualoni, it was a d-lineman, everything I can get from their experience and resourcefulness.
Encouraged by progress, but were not satisfied. This contract is for 2010 and 2011. Two years is an eternity, but it has to be urgent, addressed like no tomorrow. We exceeded nearly all preseason expectations, but fell short of postseason expectations. Proud of our progress, we've won 2 of 3 NFC East titles, we're one of 3 teams in the NFL with a winning record for the last 5 years. We've won more regular-season games of the NFC East than anybody since 2005. But we won't rest, won't temper our willingness to change, to add new blood, to play new players, nothing about this year's success tempers improving. Not good enough for us, for fans or for coaches. I don't view it as two years, I view it as year 4 and 5 of 5 years of Wade's productive tenure. Only 12 coaches have been in their position longer than Wade. Turnover can take its toll. Of the 12 teams with coaches with a longer tenure, only two had losing records last season. We made a decision in right direction.
Wade: Made some changes last year, will make more this year. Address things, excited about being the coach, for 1 year or 10 years, I'm very comfortable. I think we will go forward, we won lots of games, but that isn't the goal, the goal is a World Championship. Think this team can do that, particularly on defense, after the KC game we found we have a defense than can win. We have a strong offense and special teams. Looking forward to next season, not discouraged by the playoff loss, but disappointed. Contracts are like players, you got to come thru, got to coach and do your best, and produce, but we want to win it all. Better opportunity now.
Fixing the lame duck status?
Jerry: Wade demonstrated how strong he is, the ambiguity didn't matter last year. That's impressive stuff. When Wade speaks the players listen, listen with respect, can help them and coach ‘em up and help us win as a team.
Extending the assistants, those with contracts running out?
Jerry: Have not talked to assistants yet about extensions, but Wade wants to do it and that's his call, and we will do that. If it had gone the other way they wouldn't get an extension. All of our coaches are expected back except Todd, we added Paul, but all of our coaches should be back.
Wade as DC?
Wade: That decision, I feel like with 33 years at defense, most as a coordinator, it was about making decision I've been making in the past. I found myself getting away from that defensively. We thought that was a change that could help us. I think it did. Use my expertise defensively, more so than in past, wish I'd done it earlier.
Jerry: Last year, Wade said as head coach "I need to have the best defensive coordinator I know on planet. As far as I'm concerned, I'm him. I want to hire him." I'll say it, it dramatically increased his work load and scope of ground to cover. It did not diminish overseeing to the offense or special teams in any way, just a bigger job to do it that way. That's the catch. But he did it. In a successful way.
Will you get more involved in other aspects (offense, special teams)?
Wade: It's more demanding, but it's no problem for a coach. Whatever time it takes on defense, it doesn't take away from the other the two areas. In the offseason is when I am in a lot with the offense and special teams.
Is this team solidified for training camp?
Wade: Defensively, from the 5th game on, we were a dominate front. The play of Jenkins improved, we played 3rd down better. I see a team that had two shutouts, back-to-back, that shows potential. We won't change a whole lot defensively. Miles Austin and Felix Jones came on for the offense. We got a great nucleus of young players, got a QB and a defense, we got a chance to do what we all want to do. We're going to address all things, great thing working with Jerry, he wants to win and if we need to change players, we will.
Do you expect most of the team back?
Jerry: Most of the team back is correct. Because of injuries to this draft class, we'll have a draft class and a half, good news is the injured players were in the strength and conditioning programs and they've done outstanding. At that young age, improving coming out of college, they were outstanding in how they used that time. They can come in and compete. We'll be active in scouting potential players. Not assume anything, we'll be aggressive in finding talented players.
Having Marion Barber, then drafting Felix Jones and Tashard Choice, stack them up at a position and get a football player with talent, and they will unstack some how.
Jerry: I think you look at talent potential, contract, and that combination; he came in early and stayed late, he tried to improve. We need to look for ways to maximize his value. Do you compromise your football team? No. I don't think that is the case. We got a player who has the will, and has the ability. One of the #1 things about Wade that I was told, he knows what a football player looks like, but not like you see on ESPN or even by scouts. He can see things players can do well and tailor things for them. Bobby Carpenter is this year's example. I value Wade's opinion on what a football player can be, it can go beyond even production. One of the reasons I'm excited about him being the HC.
Wade: That's part of what I have to do, take a guy with talent, a hard worker, he came in 2-weeks early, and help him. I'm disappointed in myself, I got to find a way to help him in this scheme. The offense still scored a lot of points, it didn't kill the offense. but we can have more with him. I'll put the best football players out there that can help us win. No matter when they're drafted.
Personnel improvement in the offseason?
Wade: We're going through that process now. We go back as coaches and analyze every snap, of every player, then you evaluate, that takes some time.
Jerry: Because of the uncapped year and being a Final 8 club, we can sign one free-agent over $5 mil, and other players under $3 mil.
Can you depend on Felix Jones and increase the workload?
Wade: We made progress on that at the end of the year. He was hurt last year, and hurt early this season, but finished strong. We can go from where he was at the end. These guys mature, the body matures, they get stronger. Offseason program does a great job.
Jerry: Not prone to injury in college, we hope the combination of learning and body maturing, learning the nature of the game, not saying make business-decisions, but how to play and avoid injury.
Wade: Obviously we'll have to evaluate that.