Okay, So How Do the Cowboys Get Better?
The bar for Cowboys' football has been lowered further than I expected. Once upon a time this proud franchise - America's Team, anyone? - measured success via Super Bowl banners. These days it's Wild Card wins.
Phillips has been here three seasons. His Cowboys have one playoff victory. Really, that's progress? Ask yourself, are the Cowboys any closer to winning a Super Bowl today than when they walked off the field after Tony Romo's botched hold in Seattle back in 2007?
Maybe. But only marginally.
The question then, how do the Cowboys get better?
The Cowboys won in December. For the time since 1996 they won a playoff game.
Unfortunately, the next advancement - from good to great to elite -may be even more difficult.
Re-signing Miles Austin is off-season priority No. 1. He's a genuine run-after-catch playmaker that opens options for everybody from tight end Jason Witten to running backs Felix Jones, Tashard Choice and Marion Barber. As a restricted free agent, the Cowboys can match any offer from another team. In other words, he'll remain a Cowboy.
Second on the list has to be finding a reliable kicker. Nick Folk wasn't the answer, nor was Shaun Suisham. It'd be a shame for the Cowboys to attain and acquire championship-level parts only to taint the whole operation with a Dollar Store kicker.
Defensive end Marcus Spears is the only other front-line player who will require an off-season re-signing, putting the Cowboys in healthy shape roster-wise.
In the draft, they need an offensive left tackle. Flozell Adams is old and creaky and - though his injury against Minnesota was debilitating - the Cowboys were lucky he made it though 17 weeks. Doug Free proved himself serviceable, but after Adams' departure the Cowboys allowed four sacks, scored 0 points and went 0-9 on third down. Upgrading from Ken Hamlin at safety and Roy Williams at receiver are also on the front burner.
Am I missing something?