NFL: Week 9

Phillips’s time done in Dallas

Garrett inherits free-falling ’Boys

34-22 in Big D
Associated Press / November 9, 2010

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Wade Phillips was fired yesterday as coach of the Cowboys, with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett promoted to take his place.

Team owner Jerry Jones decided enough was enough following a 45-7 loss to the Green Bay Packers Sunday night. It was the Cowboys’ fifth straight loss, dropping them to 1-7.

“We are grateful to Wade and his contribution to the Cowboys, leading us,’’ Jones said. “We also clearly understand we are not where we want to be at this time, and that’s an understatement. We share the responsibility — all of us.’’

This is the Cowboys’ worst season since 1989 and among the worst in franchise history by record alone. Realistically, it’s the low point considering Dallas was coming off a division title and a playoff win, and was expected to contend for the Super Bowl that’ll be held at Cowboys Stadium.

“An in-season changing is something I was reluctant to consider,’’ Jones said. “I recently addressed the team and my comments with them were very brief and pointed. I told them they should not think this an admission of defeat or finality in this season.

“We have eight games left and we have one goal — to win.’’

The first game under Garrett will be at the New York Giants Sunday.

“He does have the opportunity to get the job long-term,’’ Jones said. “I do believe Jason has the temperament and disposition to affect a culture change.

“I think this is important. We know men’s styles are different. His style, I think is one that can be effective.’’

In addition to Garrett as interim coach, Paul Pasqualoni has been moved to defensive coordinator.

The bottom has fallen out since quarterback Tony Romo broke his left collarbone Oct. 25.

Garrett, 44, becomes the first former Cowboys player to become head coach. He was a backup quarterback behind Troy Aikman from 1993-99. He was the quarterbacks coach in Miami in 2005-06 before rejoining the club in 2007. He has had the title of assistant head coach since 2008, when he withdrew from other interviews to remain with the club.

The 63-year-old Phillips leaves with a 34-22 record over 4 1/2 seasons guiding the Cowboys. He also was 1-2 in the postseason. Dallas won the NFC East twice on his watch.

His career record as a head coach with Dallas, Denver, and Buffalo is 79-57, but only 1-5 in the postseason. He had only one losing record in eight full seasons. Counting a 3-4 mark over two stints as an interim coach, Phillips has 82 regular-season wins, matching the total of his father, former Houston and New Orleans coach Bum Phillips.

Moss reports early
How long the Titans and Randy Moss stay together remains to be seen. For now, Jeff Fisher is thinking playoffs and a Super Bowl win that has eluded the NFL’s longest tenured coach with his current team.

Fisher said he isn’t thinking past the end of the season — whenever that is. The contract extension Moss has been seeking most of this year won’t be on the table until then.

“I don’t have a ring,’’ said Fisher. “[And Moss] doesn’t have a ring [so] we’re going to try [to get one together].’’

Moss arrived early yesterday at the Titans facility in Nashville, and Fisher said the receiver passed a physical, worked out, and met with coaches.

Collins fined $50K
The NFL fined Packers safety Nick Collins $50,000 for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Cowboys wide receiver Roy Williams.

In a statement, league officials said Collins “violently and unnecessarily struck a defenseless receiver’’ in the neck and head area with his helmet during Sunday night’s game at Lambeau Field and called it a “flagrant violation of player safety rules.’’

NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson told Collins that future offenses “will result in an escalation of fines up to and including suspension.’’

The NFL did not hand out any discipline for the hit that gave Colts wide receiver Austin Collie a concussion in Philadelphia Sunday.

Collie was hit by safety Quintin Mikell, then took a shot to the helmet from fellow safety Kurt Coleman’s helmet in the second quarter. Collie briefly lost consciousness and was taken off the field by stretcher.

Coleman was penalized for unnecessary roughness.

The NFL said because the helmet-to-helmet contact was a result of Collie being driven toward Coleman by Mikell’s legal hit, there will be no fine.

Coach Jim Caldwell said Collie returned to Indianapolis on the team flight and was recovering from a concussion.

Stafford is iffy
Lions QB Matthew Stafford is recovering from another right shoulder injury and his playing status is unknown. Stafford was hurt near the end of the Lions’ 23-20 overtime loss to the Jets Sunday. Coach Jim Schwartz said it’s too early to tell the severity of the injury. Stafford, who had an MRI yesterday, separated the same shoulder in the season opener and missed the next five games . . . Despite helping to lead the Browns to an upset over the Patriots, rookie QB Colt McCoy has not been named the starter for Sunday’s game against the Jets. “He’s making the discussion harder and harder each week,’’ said Browns coach Eric Mangini . . . Panthers QB Matt Moore has a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder and will require season-ending surgery. Coach John Fox said rookies Jimmy Clausen and Tony Pike will compete this week for the starting job . . . One week after declaring Bruce Gradkowski (shoulder) would be the Raiders starting QB when he’s healthy, coach Tom Cable said he might stick with Jason Campbell, who has led the club to its first three-game winning streak since 2002.

Favre rallies troops
A day after throwing for a career-high 446 yards and leading his 46th career fourth-quarter comeback victory, Brett Favre challenged his Vikings teammates to put aside any personal differences they have with coach Brad Childress and try to turn this season around. Favre acknowledged he doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with the embattled Childress, who faced questions about his job security last week following his decision to cut Moss and because of a heated confrontation with Percy Harvin during practice Friday. “To say the coach, coordinator, running back, or quarterback is at fault is being a coward,’’ Favre said. “You’ve got to look at the mirror and say, ‘What can I do to make this team better?’ ’’ . . . Linebacker Derrick Johnson signed a five-year contract extension with the Chiefs that includes a $15 million guarantee. Johnson’s agent, Jeff Nalley, said the deal, potentially worth about $34 million, was signed yesterday . . . The Packers released veteran cornerback Al Harris, cutting short his attempt to return to the field after a serious knee injury suffered last November . . . Dolphins coach Tony Sparano wants the NFL to investigate the team’s complaint that Ravens fullback Le’Ron McClain spat in the face of linebacker Channing Crowder Sunday. McClain denied spitting intentionally. “He said stuff to me I didn’t want to hear. I said stuff he didn’t want to hear,’’ McClain said. “Spit came out of my mouth when I said something to the dude, and that was it. It wasn’t on purpose.’’

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