IRVING -- A troubling sign occurred today at Valley Ranch. Coach Wade Phillips is avoiding December talk.
It's an interesting concept but one that shouldn't be avoided.
The Cowboys have not posted a winning record in December/January since 1996 when Barry Switzer was the coach. Under Phillips, the Cowboys went 1-3 in December last year and 2-2 in 2007.
In a nearly 25-minute news conference, Phillips just said the team needs to take it one at a time. In another 10-minute session with the beat writers, he avoided the subject again.
"You've got to get them focused on what they're doing right now," Phillips said. "We can't do anything about the whole five games. You don't play five games at once. You play one. That's what I have to do. Get them focused in on one. Yes, there are a lot of people out there coming up with baseball stats and so forth. Baseball stats -- we lost at night, at 3 o'clock in the morning or something, I don't know."
Phillips is right that you can't worry about the whole month of December, but he should at least acknowledge the team hasn't played well down the stretch.
“I don’t know how I felt at this time last year,” Phillips said to the beat writers when asked about if he felt better this year than last year regarding December.
Then adding with laughter: “I felt bad last year."
On a serious note: "Coaches always think you’re going to win. We're always optimistic. Realistically, looking back at it, certainly we had a lot of injuries last year and we seemed stronger injury-wise this year. Whatever you want to say, it’s a factor. But the injuries before last year, when the quarterback got hurt, were pretty significant. Losing two out of three there, we wouldn’t have had to beat Philadelphia to be in the playoffs."