Week 10 Predictions – My Take on Phillips, Childress

Blah Blah Blah Jerry and Wade, Wade and Jerry.

I don’t care what Jerry Jones did or did not say. I don’t care what Brett Favre said about Brad Childress or what Childress said about Favre.

I don’t care how badly the Green Bay Packers beat the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night. I don’t care if the Minnesota Vikings came back to beat the Arizona Cardinals or not.

Well, from a fan’s standpoint, I do. But if I’m judging whether or not Brad Childress or Wade Phillips should keep/have kept their jobs, that has no bearing on it whatsoever.

Both men should have been coach of their respective teams through the end of this season. Right now, Childress still is. Phillips isn’t.

The reason Jerry Jones said Phillips was going to keep his job for the rest of the season is because he really planned on that being the case. I don’t think he was just saying it to say it. He wanted to keep Phillips in that position because canning him more than halfway through an already lost season would do no good.

The reason he bit the bullet and fired him is because fan outcry became so overwhelming that he had no choice. Object No. 1, of course, is to keep butts in the seats. And I don’t think fans were going to be filling his billion dollar stadium much longer with Phillips at the helm. With him out, they still might not.

Childress still has a job and I commend Ziggy Wilf for sticking to his guns thus far. Firing a coach midseason does nothing but put your franchise in a position worse than it already is in. Here’s why:

(We’re going to use the Cowboys for all of these hypotheticals because they already fired their coach. But just assume these apply to the Vikings as well).

So Jason Garrett is the new head coach of the Cowboys. As a Dallas fan, you’re thrilled that the franchise finally got rid of Phillips. Now what?

Worst case scenario – Phillips’ departure means nothing. The team continues to suck under Garrett and the Cowboys finish something like 2-14 or 3-13. The Cowboys can Garrett after the season and completely makeover the organization. They fire all the assistants, a few front office guys, etc.

Next year, Jones makes a splash with a big name coach (Jon Gruden, Bill Cowher) and pays up the wazoo for him. Now he’s paying Big Name Coach and Phillips (whose contract runs through 2011).

Cowboy fans may say: That’s the WORST case scenarion? And sure, that doesn’t sound all too horrible or all too unlikely given the current circumstances, but let me ask you this: Couldn’t that have all been done the same with Phillips sticking around through week 17? In this scenario, what did firing Phillips early accomplish? Putting a few extra butts in the seats? I hardly think Phillips/Garrett makes a difference. Fans aren’t going to pay to watch a 1-8 team regardless of who is at the helm.

Best case scenario – The Cowboys are rejuvenated under Garrett and go on a winning streak and finish somewhere around 6-10 or 7-9. They start blowing away opponents, leading to talking heads around the county saying things like “THERE’S the Cowboys we thought we were getting at the beginning of the season,” and “Garrett sure knows how to get the most out of his players!”

After the season, Jones hires Garrett as the full-time head coach and gives him a fairly large contract because he wants to keep his new hotshot coach around. Offseason hype starts swirling around again because of the hot finish and the Cowboys go into next season with high expectations yet again with Garrett, Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and a (supposedly) rebuilt defense.

So what’s wrong with this scenario? Well, turns out the Cowboys were playing over their heads at the end of the season. Turns out the pressure of expectations gets to Garrett and his new coaching staff. The Cowboys start next season 1-3 and the pressure’s on Garrett and Jones once again. Now what do they do? They’re already paying Garrett AND Phillips this season. They’re stuck in a revolving door of suckiness and bad coaching contracts.

Even Worse Option Than The Others That Nobody’s Talking About – Everything happens that I mention in the “Worst Case Scenario,” except there’s a lockout. Now, Jones is paying Phillips AND Big Name Coach in 2011, and NEITHER man is coaching because of a lockout.

That’s what’s looming over this entire scenario, and it’s the reason teams are smart to wait. Phillips is under contract through 2011, Childress through 2013. You fire them and hire a new guy and you could potentially be two coaches to not coach in 2011. That’s the nightmare scenario that both Wilf and Jones are envisioning. Jones still hit the panic button, Wilf hasn’t yet.

Wilf’s scenario is equally troubling because Leslie Frazier is supposedly the coach-in-waiting. The only difference between his scenario and Garrett’s is that there are expectations for Frazier to be a good head coach. So if they hand him the reins for the rest of 2010 and he flops, you’ve lost your future head coach AND a really good defensive coordinator, because there’s no way in hell he returns in 2011 as anything other than the head coach.

On to my week 10 picks:

Baltimore Ravens at Atlanta Falcons (-1)
Most bizarrely good stat I saw this week: Matt Ryan is 17-1 at home as a starting quarterback. That’s insanely good. Falcons to win and cover.

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-6.5)
Not sure why this line is so low. Jimmy Clausen is starting at quarterback for the Panthers. Bucs to win and cover.

Detroit Lions at Buffalo Bills (-3)
This is the second week in a row the winless Bills are favored. That’s insane. Also, I can’t believe how much love they’re getting. They must be the best winless team in NFL history. Lions to win outright.

Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars (-1.5)
Jaguars have been better than they were supposed to be this year and it frustrates me from a picking standpoint. I think this has the makings of a 42-21 game. Take the over. Texans to win outright.

Minnesota Vikings (-1) at Chicago Bears
I’ve been going back and forth on this game all week and still am not confident in picking it either way. Best case scenario: Tie. My gut says the Bears but my brain says the Vikings. That said, Bears to win outright.

New York Jets (-3) at Cleveland Browns
Break up the Browns! I think this is the week they come back to Earth and the Jets lay a stomping. Jets to win and cover.

Tennessee Titans (-1.5) at Miami Dolphins
Is it time for me to jump off of the Dolphins bandwagon? Is Chad Pennington their starting quarterback? Yes and yes. Titans to win and cover.

Kansas City Chiefs (-1) at Denver Broncos
Bold prediction: If Todd Haley is smart enough to give him a majority of the carries, Jamaal Charles threatens the single-game rushing record this week. Chiefs to win and cover.

Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (-14)
Vegas has certainly given up on the Cowboys. As has the rest of America. This has letdown game written all over it for the Giants. Giants to win, Cowboys to beat spread.

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (-3)
Both of these teams piss me off. That is all. Seahawks to win outright.

St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers (-6)
Call me crazy, but I think the 49ers go on a mini run here with Troy Smith at the helm. 49ers to win, Rams to beat spread.

New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.5)
I’m really, REALLY glad the Patriots finally got exposed last week. They weren’t as good as their record. Steelers to win and cover.

Philadelphia Eagles (-3) at Washington Redskins
I haven’t jumped off of the Redskins bandwagon yet, but I’m slowly moving to the back of the wagon and looking for a clear landing to jump onto. Redskins to win outright.

Week 9 – 9-4 (4-8-1 against spread)
74-55 (62-64-3 against spread)


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