Maybe Coach Cupcake really has changed.

It's a universal belief around NFL circles that Wade Phillips won't be brought back as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys in 2010.

That being said, Phillips is creating a little bit of a buzz with the way he's running the team's defense. In addition to being head coach, Phillips replaced Brian Stewart, who was fired after last season, as defensive coordinator.

Cowboys linebacker Bradie James said the other day that he likes what he's seeing from the new-and-improved Wade Phillips, who promised to be tougher in 2009.

I was skeptical as was James. Then again, who wasn't?

But earlier in the week, James said during his appearance on ESPN Radio 103.3: "Wade is different. Wade is really different, man. ... I've learned so much in the last couple of weeks, just dealing with him during minicamps and OTAs. ... I think I've gained a whole new appreciation for him and the scheme, because there's no middleman now. ... You go straight to the horse's mouth, and he makes the change right here on the field and it stays that way. There's no uncertainty."

This morning, Michael Lombardi wrote in his Sunday at the Post column, "As defensive coordinator, he hasn’t gone easy on the Cowboys’ offense in camp this offseason, sending all sorts of blitzes and seemingly challenging the offense to respond."


Even after their high-profile departures (Terrell Owens, Pacman Jones, Tank Johnson, etc.) this off-season, the Cowboys are still loaded with talent.

Maybe, just maybe, the competition in practice, camp, etc. will get their competitive juices flowing and we'll finally see them play with some heart.

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