Camp Cupcake was declared a thing of the past when the Cowboys gathered for the start of practice in San Antonio a couple of weeks ago. Based on the evidence provided in Oakland on Thursday night, we can now say that they were correct. We just didn't expect that they would have replaced it with Camp Pancake.
It wasn't a good effort last night, and it was a particularly poor effort by the guys on the team who had the most to gain from playing well. That's Wade Phillips' opinion, anyway. He was asked last night if the team suffered any injuries during the 30-10 loss, and his response, while short, spoke volumes.
"We didn't really play hard enough to get any injuries," Phillips said.
It's nice to see Phillips refusing to play the friendly dad who rationalizes away poor play with a series of excuses and misdirections. The team didn't play hard, and the coach refused to let them off the hook. No pizza, no ice cream and no pats on the back because nobody earned them.
Problem is, it takes more than just talking tough. Earlier this week Phillips laced into his players for lollygagging their way through a practice at the Alamodome. Again, it is the right response from the guy in charge of setting the tone for the entire team and that's a welcome change from the Cowboys teams of the recent past. At the same time, though, that makes two times in less than a week that the head coach had to publicly vent his frustrations about the fact that his players appear to be as eager to play football as the writers of "Entourage" are to come up with a storyline other than "things look bad for the boys but work out in the end."
That makes you wonder if the problem with the message is the sender or the recipients. If it's the latter, there isn't at least a segment of the team that isn't buying what Phillips is selling because they still think Uncle Wade is going to reappear. That's where doing more than talking tough comes into the equation. Send a few doubters to the unemployment office, and the others will fall into line.
If that doesn't work, we'll know it was the sender and it will be up to Double J to deal with that problem.