Owner Jerry Jones is 100 percent behind coach Wade Phillips.
Yes, Phillips is in the last year of contract. And no, Jones has not yet exercised the team option for 2010 or given Phillips a contract extension.
But following Sunday's 17-0 against the Redskins, which clinched a wildcard playoff berth for the Cowboys, Jones made it known that he does not want to replace Phillips as the Cowboys coach.
Jones didn't guarantee Phillips' return. He has said in the past that he will make a decision on Phillips' future after the season, while acknowleging how the Cowboys finish and do in the playoffs will be strong factors. The Cowboys (10-5) face the Eagles next Sunday for the NFC East title.
But Jones said that it's not in the Cowboys best interest to make a coaching change.
"I do not want to make a coaching change,” Jones said. “This is not the time with what we’ve got in place, with our personnel, with what we’ve got going with our schemes, with what we’ve got going with our staff. It’s not in the best interests of the Cowboys right now to make a change.”
Phillips is embattled despite three successful years as Cowboys, including a 32-16 record. He has now taken the Cowboys to the playoffs in two of his three years. The Cowboys are one win away from their second division title in three years under Phillips.
Jones said Phillips, long criticized for being soft and not winning when it mattered the most, has the Cowboys peaking down the stretch, especially on defense.
The shutout win against the Redskins came after two games in which the Cowboys held the Chargers and Saints to their lowest scoring out puts of the season.
Jones credited Phillips' defense and his steady hand of leadership for the way the Cowboys are playing and how they bounced back from their only two game losing streak of the season with victories of the previously undefeated Saints and Redskins.
“I don’t want to take anything away from our players, but I think what you’re seeing develop and evolve is 100 percent Wade Phillips,” Jones said. “I know how hard he’s working. When our defense is playing [well] and our team really realizes how much of him is involved in the defense, then it does give him huge credibility.”
Quarterback Tony Romo agreed that it's time to give Phillips his due.
“He kept a steady hand when outside forces try and make it seem as if your team is done or doesn’t have much of a chance,” Romo said. “Wade does a great job of letting the team know that’s not it. His demeanor, his approach, his style has worked great for this football team. He doesn’t deserve any criticism. You guys [media] need to start giving him some praise, because he’s been good.”