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6/16/2007

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The Phillips 34 and How it Helps Romo

Wade Phillips was the defensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers from 2004-2006 and he put together some solid defense in his tenure there. The big difference we'll see are points allowed under the Phillips 34. Let's look at the rankings with points allowed:

San Diego Year/Rank | Cowboys Year/Rank
2006: #7 | 2006: #20
2005: #13 | 2005: #12
2004: #11 | 2004: #27

Correlation with team's season record:

2006: San Diego (14-2) Cowboys (9-7)
2005: San Diego (9-7) Cowboys (9-7)
2004: San Diego (12-4) Cowboys (6-10)

I expect the Cowboys to have much better numbers with points allowed, and hope the Cowboys could put together a 12-4 season or better, with a Super Bowl as the ultimate goal.

SportingNews has a good article on the difference we'll see between a Phillips 34 and Parcells 34. The main difference being a one-gap vs a two-gap:

It is a one-gap scheme, which distinguishes it from other 3-4 defenses. Movement, pressure and unpredictability are some of the ingredients. The system also has built-in versatility to accommodate the personnel.

"Everybody thinks it's the X's and O's, but it's the Moes and Joes," says Phillips, who turns 60 next week and has been a 3-4 guru since he joined the Houston Oilers as an assistant coach in 1976.

Supports more of what we're learning about the Phillips 34. No more read and reacting, but rather, more attacking with playmakers. I can't wait to see it in live action with the players we have.

The secondary play is where we're hoping to see some improvement. The 3-4 was suppose to allow the defense to pressure the QB and allow for more plays downfield from our secondary. Unfortunately, the front seven didn't pressure the QB much at all, and the offense's meal ticket was directed at Anthony Henry and Roy Williams.

Bill's way: The lack of a pass rush up front put more pressure on these guys. Cornerbacks Terence Newman and Anthony Henry played a lot of press coverage and the safeties split the deep half of the field.

Wade's world: Don't expect to see much cover 2. Strong safety Roy Williams had five picks in '06, but shadowing receivers isn't his forte. He'll line up closer to the line more often and sometimes will be like another linebacker. Phillips still must determine how much zone the corners will play.

X-factor: Free safety Ken Hamlin. In Seattle, he sometimes jumped shallow crossing routes and got beat from behind. But Phillips likes Hamlin's range and thinks he'll be a good center fielder and quarterback in the secondary.

Fanball.com has a small sneak peak at training camp, and they point out more of what I've thought; where, there won't be a position battle per-se at the RB spot between Jones and Barber:

Fantasy owners are probably hoping to read about a wide-open competition between Jones and Marion Barber, but the new staff has given no indication of such a struggle. Garrett will change which types of running plays are used, but Phillips has insinuated that the Cowboys will continue to use a committee approach. Will Barber start over Jones? Will the touches be more equal? Possibly, but don't expect one back to emerge as a clear carry leader

Another position battle of interest from the article is Pat McQuistan. McQuistan is quietly creeping up the ladder, and could be a legitimate starter this year:

We're not quite ready to call it a "battle," but the offensive line could still see some changes on the left side. Second-year man Pat McQuistan has earned a lot of praise during his time with the club, and he spent the summer filling in for Flozell Adams (minor knee surgery) at left tackle. Assuming Adams returns and looks fine, McQuistan could take one step to the right and challenge Kyle Kosier for the starting left guard job.

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for McQuistan to battle it out. May the best player win!

And of course more talk about Romo and his contract, but more interestingly is the talk about Garrett's role in Romo's success this year.


Romo is in the final year of his deal, and the Texans upped the price tag by inking Matt Schaub to an absurb, desperate, six-year, $48 million contract. The money is only half of the story with Romo, though. We're also interested to see how he looks in Garrett's new, vertical-oriented passing attack. Romo got off to a hot start in 2006, but he cooled down the stretch. Just how good is he?

I guess this is the benchmark set for Romo, this is what everyone else is writing about too. Those aren't bad numbers. Question is, does Romo and his agent Tom Condon think he's worth more? I'm sure this topic will stick around until camp starts.

Garrett's new offensive scheme is what Phillips new scheme to the defense will be: DYNAMIC. We're going to see both units excel and the playmakers are going to carry the load. We're going to spread the offense around, and be attacking.

This topic of Romo "cooling down the stretch" or "falling apart" is becoming tiring to me. This is a team effort and the effects of everyone will effect the QB play, that's just a fact. The interesting thing about this whole "falling apart down the stretch" subject can be pin-pointed as to when this supposedly started.

I'm going out on a limb by saying the defensive woes came to the forefront once we lost Greg Ellis. And with the defensive woes came the offensive woes, and with the offensive woes comes this whole "Romo cooling down" crap. You can say what you want about Ellis, but he had a big impact on this team last year. Ellis went down in week 8 against the Cardinals, the following two weeks we had home game victories against the Colts, and the Bucs on Thanksgiving, after that, forget about it, the defense fell apart, and the offensive play calling stayed the same without change, teams figured out where to hit us on offense and defense.

With Ellis out, teams down the stretch tore us up by targeting Bradie James, Roy Williams and the whole secondary, the Saints really exposed the weak spots bigtime.

This is why we drafted Anthony Spencer this year, and not a OT or WR. If Ellis is not 100% at camp or during the season, Spencer will be that pressure guy we need in his spot. If not, expect that chink in the armor to get exposed, its a domino effect. What about Carpenter? Don't worry about Carpenter, this guy is smart and dynamic, he'll be out on the field more than you think. He'll be right there pushing for a MLB spot too.

So, with all that being said, this Phillips 34 will help the team as a whole, and with defensive success comes offensive success, they will feed off each other's fortunes.

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