Bryant Earns More Praise, Romo Remains Realistic

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A few weeks ago at the Dallas Cowboys‘ rookie mini-camp, coaches had the opportunity to see first round selection Dez Bryant in action for the first time in team colors; the reviews were overwhelmingly positive, with Wade Phillips eulogizing the former Oklahoma State star, saying he was the most impressive rookie he had ever seen.

On Monday, the opening of organized team activities, veterans had the opportunity to see the most immediately impressive of their new teammates in the flesh; like Phillips, they were left somewhat mesmerized by the tools possessed by Bryant.

“I heard a lot of hype about him coming in, and I definitely agree with him being the first pick,” said cornerback Mike Jenkins, per ESPNDallas.com. “The guy is going to be a great receiver in this league. … I think he has all the ability to be the best receiver we have.”

Roy Williams, whose role as a starter was threatened–according to many outsiders–by Bryant’s selection, raved about the young receiver as well, adding that he’d like to aid in his development.

“I’m trying to make him better, not only for him but for the Dallas Cowboys in the future,” Williams said. “He’s the future guy for this football team. Everybody knows that. I want him to be the man, come real soon.”

Of course, Bryant still has some developing to do. Williams, who has made clear that he won’t hand over his starting role without a fight, knows this, as does Bryant’s quarterback Tony Romo. Now this is an obvious conclusion to draw from the situation, particularly in mid-May, but, admittedly, it’s easy to forget.

Bryant, in his brief time with the team, has just been that impressive. Fortunately for us, who find ourselves swooning in the possibilities of the future, Romo is a realist.

There’s a long way to go, it’s a process and it’s about improving,” Romo said, echoing every interview he’s ever given. “[With] young guys, it sometimes takes a little bit to get adjusted to press, different things, in the NFL, route adjustments. I’ll be interested to see all that as it gets forward. We’re just starting the process now.”

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Jerry says ‘Boys better off with Wade’

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Jerry Jones joined Showtime’s Inside the NFL for a sit down last night.

Cris Collinsworth: “You haven’t said Wade (Phillips) is coming back. As the decision maker of the Dallas Cowboys, is that a bit intentional to keep the pressure on this football team as they go into the playoffs?

Jerry: There is no need to because this team is motivated without me having to say, ‘Well I say our coach is going to be back.’ What is the case, and they understand that, is that we are going to be a better football team if we don’t make a coaching change. If I look back over the last 10 years and I need to re-do the last 10 years in varying areas, I look at the revolving door we’ve had with coaches here and that takes its toll. That takes its toll on the top personnel you have, on the schemes you run, so continuity would be important to me. There is no doubt the Dallas Cowboys would be better off in years to come if we can keep Wade Phillips as head coach.

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Jerry’s wish: Dallas Cowboys’ fast finish keeps Wade off firing line

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No one is rooting for Wade Phillips to succeed more than Jerry Jones.

He’d like nothing better than for Phillips to beat Philadelphia this week and capture his second NFC East title in three years, which means the Cowboys would host at least one playoff game.

If Phillips succeeds, then it justifies Jerry’s decision to hire Phillips instead of Norv Turner, and it justifies his decision to go with a players’ coach after Bill Parcells left.

Besides, Jerry loves working with Phillips because the coach allows him to be himself. He can be part of the process instead of feeling like an intruder when he wants to address the team after a game.

Jerry doesn’t want to fire Phillips.

Frankly, he’s looking for reasons to keep Phillips around. His 32-15 is a good start, but Jerry wants some playoff success. You can’t blame him, considering the Cowboys haven’t won a playoff game since 1996.

That’s why Jerry hasn’t been shy about saying what needs to happen for Phillips to keep his job.

It’s also why he hasn’t yet signed the club option that will guarantee Phillips another year.

Win Sunday and Phillips might just get a belated Christmas gift from the owner.

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It’s time for Dallas Cowboys to back Wade Phillips with wins, not words

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The players have spoken this week. Loud and clear. Oh, how they love Wade Phillips.

They’re upset because his leadership and approach to handling the Cowboys has been questioned for the 10 millionth time since Jerry Jones hired him instead of Norv Turner in 2007.

The players love Phillips’ demeanor. And his schemes. And the way he accepts responsibility for their mistakes.

Who wouldn’t love a guy like that?

It’s time for the players to prove their love. After all, words without actions are worthless.

This week, the players should win one for Wade. It has a nice ring to it.

If the players are sincere about their affection for Phillips, then they need to beat San Diego, ending the Chargers’ seven-game winning streak. That’ll get Phillips off the hot seat, stop the chatter about his eventual replacement and temporarily silence the critics — count me as one — who question his leadership.

It’ll even stop us from talking about the Cowboys’ 3-6 record in December under Phillips and their inability to play their best football in the season’s most important month.

Afterward, don’t give us any excuses. No mea culpas. No coulda, woulda, shoulda.

This is not the week for Terence Newman to let an interception slip through his hands or for Flozell Adams to succumb to his own agenda and start a brawl. This is not the week for Nick Folk to miss a field goal because the hold isn’t perfect.

Just win the game. Plain and simple.

This is as close to a must-win as the Cowboys can get without being mathematically eliminated with a loss.

Any player or coach who doesn’t realize that needs a brain transplant. If it takes that approach, Dallas will win.

It’s hard to beat a desperate NFL team at home. Look at how Green Bay drilled Dallas 17-7 a few weeks ago. Or how the Giants beat Dallas 31-24 last week.

Each was essentially on the verge of being eliminated from the playoffs.

Now it’s the Cowboys who must play as though their season is on the line. It is.

Beat San Diego and everything Phillips needs to happen to ensure Jerry Jones picks up the team option on his contract remains in play. The Cowboys will still be positioned to win the NFC East, host a playoff game and end their streak of 12 seasons without a playoff win.

Lose, though, and this season is a wrap. Guarantee it.

Lose and you can make easily make the case the Cowboys won’t win another game this season.

That’s not hyperbole. It’s reality. Whether the players and coaches choose to accept that is irrelevant.

Logic says the Cowboys could play well and lose in New Orleans, which would give them a three-game losing streak heading into a road game against Washington.

Don’t act like you can’t see how the Cowboys could lose at Washington, since the Redskins are playing good football and lost by one point in Cowboys Stadium a few weeks ago.

Add a four-game losing streak to 24-hour sports talk chatter about Wade’s status, Jerry’s inevitable vote of confidence and it’s a recipe for yet another opportunity for Philadelphia to put Dallas out of its misery.

That’s why it’s imperative the Cowboys beat San Diego on Sunday.

To do so, their best players must perform at a high level because the Chargers are so good Dallas could play well and lose.

This week it’s about Tony Romo and DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff. It’s about Jason Witten and Andre Gurode and Keith Brooking. It’s about Nick Folk and Bradie James and Miles Austin.

The season is on the line.

It’s time for the players to make it happen or the kind words for Phillips will ring hollow.

They control his future.

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