Stinging Loss Has Phillips Changing His Tune

a wild-card playoff bid.

Do some of that, and maybe there is less defensive confusion when a team, as has been done before by the Eagles, lines up a running back such as Brian Westbrook out wide like a wide receiver causing a grade-school fire drill to commence on your side of the ball.

That seemed to be the platform Phillips was setting down on Monday after this year's trendy preseason picks to advance to the Super Bowl flamed out in Game 16 of a winner-take-all contest with the Eagles, whose fans had feasted on the Cowboys getting pummeled so badly in the second and third quarters, even those Broad Street bullies didn't seem to have the heart to make fun of them in the end.

That left him saying such things as, "When you go through something like we went through here and the expectations are high and you lay an egg like we did, something has to change." And then this also, proclaiming, "Things aren't going to change unless you change things."

Yes, all of us are doomed if we continue to repeat what causes us to fail. History should never be a strange bedfellow.

So not sure what is worse or more painful to experience during this now 12-year drought without a playoff victory - longest in the franchise's 49-year history - flaming out in a sixth consecutive playoff loss, as the Cowboys did last season, or not even getting there for seventh time in that 12-year span as they did this year for the sixth time in the past nine seasons.

When asked why this continues to happen, Cowboys veteran cornerback Terence Newman, who now has experienced three of the six consecutive playoff losses and three of the seven playoff absences, said, "That's a good question, but it's the same question as last year."

Better not be the same question at the end of next year, otherwise you get the feeling the owner will not be as compassionate.

This talk of change then is a start, and as Wade said, "The next season starts now."

So no handing out any goose-feathered pillows to rest heads on out at The Ranch. No passing the buck. To me, the Cowboys didn't lose this game on Sunday in Philadelphia, they lost it on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and Christmas Day and Friday out here at The Ranch by not making winning a priority in their lives - by not properly preparing and focusing on earning something that you just know wasn't going to be handed to them.

Cuz you almost got the feeling when Tampa Bay and Chicago were beaten earlier on Sunday, presenting the Eagles with a win-and-you're-in opportunity, too, the Cowboys looked up and said to themselves, "Oh *$%#!"

Yeah, things must change.

Phillips, after talking with Jones Monday morning, did not absolve his staff, saying those guys weren't immune from changes. He did not absolve any of his personnel, saying no matter their high prices, the players were not immune from changes.

Can Phillips do it? Can he be the bad guy? Can he push a supposedly talented group harder than they've been pushed? Will he be comfortable in that role?

"It doesn't matter about comfort for me," Phillips aid, "it's about winning and losing, and if it takes that, that's what I'm going to do."

Time to move on while the hurt still is most painful, a stinging reminder of what has been but what can't continue to be. Yep, 9-7 says that.

"What I do is going to change," Phillips said, then going on to point out all the things he can change, followed by, "I think you have to do something - I know you have to do something."

The past tells him that.

Now we'll see.

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