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Dallas Cowboys coach Wade Phillips, left, sits by

Dallas Cowboys coach Wade Phillips, left, sits by team owner Jerry Jones as Jones announces that Phillips had been given a two year contract during a press conference at the teams training facility. (January 21, 2010) Credit: AP

Just how secure is Wade Phillips?

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones acted swiftly to remove speculation that head coach Wade Phillips would lose his job in the wake of a blowout loss to the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC divisional playoffs. Jones this week not only exercised the option for 2010 on Phillips' contract, but he added another year to the deal.

If you ask me, that isn't a ringing endorsement of Phillips, and doesn't reflect Jones' long-term commitment to the coach. It's essentially a one-year extension that merely eliminates - at least for now - the distraction of Phillips coming into the 2010 season as a lame-duck coach.

Had Jones truly been committed to Phillips long term, he'd have added at least another year to the deal. But under these terms, Phillips would very well see his run in Dallas end after next season unless the Cowboys get to at least the NFC Championship Game. Or perhaps even the Super Bowl.

A punter with plenty of heart

When Jets punter Steve Weatherford experienced a rapid heartbeat and discomfort in his chest a few minutes before the team's wild-card game in Cincinnati, he knew exactly what was happening.

But for the first time since a surgical procedure seven years earlier to address the problem, he couldn't get his heartbeat to slow down and wasn't allowed to play by the Jets' medical staff.

"Believe me, you've got to chop my leg off to keep me out of the game," Weatherford said. "I even jerked out my IV, took the electrode patches off my chest and said to the doctor, 'You don't understand. I've got to play.' "

Kicker Jay Feely wound up doing a commendable job as the team's emergency punter in the Jets' 24-14 win. And Weatherford returned for last week's win over San Diego.

Could it happen again? Not likely.

Weatherford will need an additional surgical procedure in the offseason to address an overactive synapse in his heart, but he is now on medication to prevent another episode.

Are self-absorbed receivers passe?

With diva receivers Terrell Owens, Randy Moss and Chad Ochocinco all in their 30s and on the back end of their careers, it's possible we are seeing an end - at least for now - to the era of me-first wideouts. That would be just fine for at least one receiver who preferred a more tempered approach.

"That's good to see," former 49ers and Raiders receiver Jerry Rice said. "We have gotten this title that we're divas, and I don't like that title. With Steve Smith [of the Giants], Larry Fitzgerald, even Reggie Wayne. You look at him, he's just one of those quiet guys who goes about his business and makes plays. They act like they have been there before. It's good to see some of that old-school [attitude], the receivers that come in that really respect the game and are not out there just for publicity, are not so flamboyant and all over the place."

No argument there.

Is Chan Gailey the answer?

The Bills aimed high in their head-coaching search, going after former Super Bowl winners Jon Gruden, Mike Shanahan and Bill Cowher. But after all three politely declined, the Bills settled for former Cowboys head coach Chan Gailey.


Is that really the kind of move that will energize a franchise that has been down on its luck since the Jim Kelly years? Not quite. In fact, Gailey is about as unimaginative a hire as we could imagine. As one NFL source who is familiar with the inner workings of the coaching business put it: "You could interview Chan Gailey at a McDonald's in the middle of Buffalo, and no one would know who he is."

Not that Gailey hasn't had his moments. He was a solid offensive coordinator with the Steelers and got the Cowboys to the playoffs twice before getting the boot from Jerry Jones after just two seasons. He was 18-14 in those two years, losing in the first round each time.

The Bills were locked into getting a coach with offensive expertise, and Gailey fit the criteria. The better choice? Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who has built an impeccable resume as an assistant and will soon become a head coach. Too bad it wasn't in Buffalo.

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