stepped before the group this week and said, "Enough of this nonsense," or words to that effect.
Losing key players is never good. Losing your all-star quarterback particularly is never good. (Amazing how quickly all the people who had begun shrieking about Tony Romo and his supposed carelessness with the football now wonder what they'll do without him. ) Losing your exceptional punter is not good.
But you adjust. Phillips has clearly recognized the problems with special teams, however late in the game. He told reporters Wednesday he has assigned four assistant coaches, one each to one of the major special teams (punt and return, kickoff and return), to help beleaguered special teams coach Bruce Read. More attention will be paid. The problem is that players like Kevin Burnett and Anthony Spencer and Sam Hurd, among the best on special teams, appear unlikely to play this week. So others will have to get busy, and some of them may be starting players, and so what? It's part of the game. Channel your inner Larry the Cable Guy and "Git 'er done!"
Brad Johnson is not Tony Romo, but he has his strengths. He played well in preseason and can manage the team. For pity sake, the guy has passed for 28,000 yards and won a Super Bowl. He can get you from here to there.
Some players must play better. The entire offensive line must play like it has most of the season, not like last week. Mike Jenkins, you were a first round pick. Improve your study habits, play like a first rounder and no one will remember Pacman was even here.
Tashard Choice isn't Felix Jones, but he's a pretty good Tashard Choice. He can help take the load off Marion Barber. Sam Paulescu, you said Wednesday it's your time. Take your opportunity and help your team and yourself. (Mat McBriar, remember, was in two other stops before he got to Dallas and became a Pro Bowl punter.)
Hall of Fame coach Bill Yeoman told a story about a player he once had who he thought wasn't picking up a scheme. "Son," Yeoman asked him, " have you got this okay?" "Sure, Coach," came the replay. "It isn't rocket surgery."
This isn't rocket surgery. Players have to own whatever they've done that needs improving and do that. They need to look each other in the eye and play for one another. Fans need to believe. Everything isn't always sunshine. Sometimes it's hard. This will be hard.
But Phillips isn't sending Lee Elementary out to play the Rams. There are good enough players in enough abundance to keep this team afloat until people like Romo and Felix and Terence Newman get back. Hey, Sunday they could have two Roy Williamses playing.
Over? No, the season isn't over. If these guys have enough character, it might just now be getting interesting.