NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 19: Roy Williams #11 of the Dallas Cowboys is seen on the field during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on December 19, 2009 in New Oleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
The recent upswing in the Cowboys' level of play, their playoff spot locked up as of Sunday and a possible NFC East Title on the horizon, has cooled the generally relentless criticism of head coach Wade Phillips.
As well it should; Phillips has been on the hot seat since before the season began. It wasn't always peaches and creme, and Phillips' constantly casual demeanor--which is seemingly always suggestive of peaches and creme--only exacerbated to hyper-criticism of media and fans.
And yet, the Cowboys emerged from December sitting pretty. Beyond a mere playoff appearance, Dallas comes into Sunday's game against Philly with a shot at the division title, and playing better than they have, arguably since 2007.
This change in the team doesn't signal any change in Phillips, however; quite the opposite. Addressing one of the few dark spots in a generally clean win over Washington--read: Roy Williams' performance--Phillips delivered a characteristic defense of his receiver, the sort of which has come to be expected over the past three years.
"No," Phillips said, when asked if the team was losing confidence in the receiver. "I thought he had a touchdown in the game, didn't he? We scored 17, he scored six of them, so...You know, he made an important play in the game."
Granted, this is true. But Williams also had a costly drop, and an ugly tip that resulted in an interception.
"Every position, guys make mistakes or don't make a play or technique-wise they don't do exactly what you want. You can see it a lot more in wide receivers or guys that are handling the ball all the time...
"He played really hard in the game, and that's what I want him to do, I want him to play hard. And he did do that."