Considering how things have turned out, Jones should've hired both: Phillips to run things through Thanksgiving, then Turner to take over from there.
But Phillips got the job, while Turner wound up the head coach in San Diego. Phillips' teams have been terrific the first three months of every season before fading in December. Meanwhile, Turner's clubs have done the opposite, struggling early, then posting a perfect record in the final month and remaining strong in the playoffs.
On Sunday, the coaches square off for the first time since Jones chose between them to replace Bill Parcells in Dallas, with their teams following predictable paths.
Since they were 2-3, the Chargers have rolled to seven straight wins. The latest improved them to 10-0 in December under Turner and gave them an NFL record with 15 straight wins in the month.
The Cowboys have a stout 8-4 record and a share of first place in the NFC East, but an ugly loss to the New York Giants last weekend stripped away the good vibes of a 6-1 wave they had been riding.