The 2010 Dallas Cowboys have needed a wake-up call for around nine weeks now, and on Monday, when head coach Wade Phillips became the first head coach in the history of the franchise to be fired in the middle of the season, they may have gotten it.
Phillips addressed the player before exiting Valley Ranch for (presumably) the last time on Monday and, afterward, many in the group expressed a feeling of responsibility for the unenviable fate of their head coach.
"They always say the coach is not going to fire the coach, that's what Jerry said," said linebacker DeMarcus Ware, per the Dallas Morning News. "The players are going to get the coach fired and that's what I think happened."
After Phillips’ address, he reportedly received a standing ovation. Since then, players haven’t been shy in expressing their gratitude and respect for their former head coach--as well as their regret, in the fact that a 1-7 start resulted in his exit from Dallas.
"It's tough. I think in a lot of ways as a leader you feel disappointed because you feel like you let Wade down and to be in this situation it almost feels surreal to think that we're 1-7,” said tight end Jason Witten, on Tuesday. “But the last three and a half years we've been able to do a lot of good things.
“Unfortunately this year it seemed like it snowballed on us and we haven't been able to shake it. So from that standpoint it's hard to wrap your arms around why it happened and it's real. Yesterday see that happen and hear Wade talk to the team there's a lot of emotion wrapped up in a few words. There's always accountability and consequences when you don't have success and unfortunately it started with him.”
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