The Cowboys haven't been in training camp since the day after the playoff loss to the Vikings, although you'd be forgiven for thinking otherwise. Only one team started camp before the Cowboys and just about all of them have already wrapped up that portion of their preseason schedule while the Cowboys still get their game on in Oxnard.
It's no surprise, then, that the Cowboys are feeling a little sluggish after such a long spell away from home. What is a bit of a surprise is that Wade Phillips likes having his team running on fumes at this point in the season.
"I think the team is tired," Phillips said. "I knew that going in into the preseason games. They have been tired. But I want them to be tired. Sure, it's affected their performance. That's the way we do it."
That's a strange quote from the head coach of a football team. Wade is saying that it is his goal to work the Cowboys so hard in practice that they actually play worse during games as a result. That's like a teacher saying he wants his students to spend so much time studying that they aren't able to do well on tests because their brains are fried. That can't possibly be what he means, can it?
We'll say no and point to two possible reasons why Wade is pitching such serenity about his team possibly leaving their best on the practice field. One is that he is trying to defuse concerns about the team's poor performances in the three games and the other is that he's trying to diminish expectations for this weekend's game against the Texans. We're betting on the latter since he followed up his earlier gem with this corrolary.
"Usually the last week of camp you don't play as well," Phillips said. "When they feel like they are going home they have already gone home [mentally] instead of playing that game."
Talk about words that make you want to run through a brick wall! Whenever Phillips is done with this coaching stuff, he's got a real future as a motivational speaker. If there's one preseason game you want your team to be in peak mental and physical form for, it is this one because the guys who will actually determine success or failure this season will be playing into the second half.
The record -- 9-2 in September -- shows that the Cowboys break well from the gate under Phillips so we'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
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