In making good on his promise to be more demanding of his players, Wade Phillips will do the Dallas Cowboys a great service; of course, we'll have to wait to see just what, in his words, "more demanding, more whatever" means exactly.
But early in camp, a palpable difference can be seen in Phillips and, in turn, the Cowboys as a whole. Wade has been uncharacteristically short with the media at times this year; players who miss an assignment or jump offsides must sit out the next play; and gone, apparently are the days when Wade took on the role of tireless defender of his team, justified or not.
Dallas seems to have a greater sense of accountability this season, which is more than you could say in 2008, and a credit to the third-year head coach.
This was illustrated this week in the no-nonsense, no excuses approach Phillips took with the media after a lackluster practice on Tuesday, which was echoed by receiver Roy Williams.
The center of the Dallas Cowboys universe.
"[Practice] wasn't that good offensively for us, in the passing game," Williams said. "A lot of incompletions, a couple interceptions, so I'm glad we got that out the way so it won't be like that on Thursday. I don't know [what caused it], I gotta watch film."
Phillips then went on to say in his press conference on Wednesday,"We weren't ready to play yesterday, and I was disappointed in practice yesterday mentally," Phillips said. "We've addressed that."
This is a departure, seemingly, from past seasons, during which any mistake was looked upon almost immediately as aberrant, a blip on the team's radar that would work itself out along the way. As Tim MacMahon over at DMN points out, this is a man who complained about media criticism over an immoderately ugly win over the Bengals last year.
The days of going through the motions, of assuming a place in the upper echelon of the NFL, are seemingly gone, which points, as much as the idea was derisively joked about this summer, to a changed Wade Phillips.
A changed Wade Phillips, if we're to assume that he has in fact undergone a significant change, is a good thing, but it's also only half the battle; because no one ever said a changed Wade Phillips was a golden ticket to the playoffs.
It's just a good start.