IRVING, Texas — Jerry Jones never wanted to change coaches this season. As the blowout losses mounted, and Wade Phillips' defense was mostly to blame, the owner/general manager of the Cowboys had no choice.
Jones fired Phillips on Monday and promoted offensive coordinator Jason Garrett to take over the 1-7 club on an interim basis. Defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni was promoted to replace Phillips' other role as defensive coordinator.
Jones decided enough was enough after Sunday's 45-7 loss to Green Bay. It was the Cowboys' fifth straight loss and third in a row that wasn't close.
"I recognized that after the game we just weren't playing winning football and our best chance was to make a change," Jones said.
This is the first in-season coaching change in the franchise's 51 seasons. Garrett becomes the first former Cowboys player to take over the job.
Garrett, 44, has never been a head coach on any level but sounded confident.
"Wade is no longer the coach. I am the coach and what we're going to do going forward (is) get ready to have a great meeting, a great walkthrough and a great practice on Wednesday and give ourselves a chance to beat the Giants on Sunday," Garrett said.
Dallas has allowed at least 35 points in three straight games, which hadn't happened since the team went 0-11-1 in its inaugural season, 1960. Stranger still, the unit — personally overseen by Phillips — features nearly all the same players who closed last season with the first back-to-back shutouts in club history.
"We fought like hell for him," said Jay Ratliff, who went from a backup defensive lineman to Pro Bowl nose tackle under Phillips. "Things just didn't go our way."
In a statement, Phillips said: "I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the fans of the Cowboys and to the entire Jones family for all of the support that we received here in Dallas."
Packers CB Collins fined $50,000 for hit
GREEN BAY, Wis. — The league fined Packers safety Nick Collins $50,000 for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Cowboys wide receiver Roy Williams.
In a statement, league officials said Collins "violently and unnecessarily struck a defenseless receiver" in the neck and head area with his helmet Sunday at Lambeau Field.
Williams said after the game that he didn't think commissioner Roger Goodell should punish Collins. "Commissioner Goodell, don't fine the guy," Williams said. "… (It was) a football player making a football play. No injury, no harm."
Also, Green Bay released cornerback Al Harris, 35, cutting short his attempt to return after a serious knee injury.
NO FINE FOR COLLIE HIT: The league will not hand out any discipline for the hit that gave Colts receiver Austin Collie a concussion Sunday in Philadelphia. Collie was hit by Eagles safety Quintin Mikell, then took a shot to the helmet from safety Kurt Coleman's helmet in the second quarter. The NFL said because the helmet-to-helmet contact was a result of Collie being driven toward Coleman by Mikell's legal hit, there will be no fine. Coleman was penalized for unnecessary roughness. Coach Jim Caldwell said Monday that the second-year receiver returned to Indianapolis on the team flight and was recovering, but that his status was unknown.
MORE ON FINES: Commissioner Roger Goodell says active players won't be deciding punishment for flagrant hits that merit fines. Steelers safety Troy Polamalu has been outspoken against the crackdown since teammate James Harrison was fined $100,000 for three hits. "There are league executives involved and there are former players involved," Goodell said.
SPITTING CONCERN: Dolphins coach Tony Sparano says he'll ask the league to look into a complaint that Ravens fullback Le'Ron McClain spit in the face of Miami linebacker Channing Crowder. Sparano said he has sufficient evidence to pursue the matter. McClain denied the incident but a video replay from Miami's WFOR-TV appeared to confirm it.
NO FLEX: The Giants-Eagles game Nov. 21 will stay in prime time. The league could have moved another game to the slot in Week 11, the first week under its flexible scheduling policy.
BEARS: Receiver Earl Bennett apparently was okay after an early morning accident that damaged his car. Illinois State Police said Bennett's 1973 Chevy Impala was hit from behind by a 1998 Pontiac Sunfire in Chicago.
BILLS: Two starters, receiver Roscoe Parrish (right wrist, injured Sunday) and inside linebacker Andra Davis (nagging shoulder injury) are out for the season. Parrish will need surgery.
CHIEFS: Linebacker Derrick Johnson signed a five-year extension that includes a $15 million guarantee. Johnson's agent, Jeff Nalley, said the deal is potentially worth about $34 million.
GIANTS: Center Adam Koets tore ligaments in his knee and is out for the season, and tackle/guard David Diehl has a partially torn hamstring and an injury to a muscle in his hip.
LIONS: Matthew Stafford's status is uncertain after he hurt his right shoulder late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss to the Jets. He separated the same shoulder in the opener and missed five games. Coach Jim Schwartz said the two injuries aren't related. Stafford, the 2009 No. 1 overall pick, told Mitch Albom on his radio show that he didn't think he'd play Sunday against Buffalo.
PANTHERS: Starting quarterback Matt Moore (torn labrum, right shoulder) needs season-ending surgery. Moore was injured Sunday when New Orleans defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis drove him into the turf on a second-quarter sack. Coach John Fox was reluctant to commit to struggling Jimmy Clausen over fellow rookie Tony Pike as Moore's replacement for Sunday's game against the Bucs.
REDSKINS: According to ESPN, coach Mike Shanahan said starting quarterback Donovan McNabb's hamstrings got better during the team's bye week. But McNabb's legs have yet to be tested in a full practice. … Kick returner Brandon Banks is expected to miss two to three weeks after having knee surgery during the team's bye week.
SAINTS: Tight end Jeremy Shockey was apparently okay and X-rays to his ribs showed no damage, profootballtalk.com reported. Shockey left Sunday's game in an ambulance.
TITANS: New receiver Randy Moss arrived early, and coach Jeff Fisher said he passed a physical, worked out and met with coaches to start learning the offense. Fisher said what happened between Moss and his other teams is not an issue. "Usually, it's the case where you really don't have all the information," Fisher said. "…I'm excited for him."
VIKINGS: The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported that Percy Harvin's dispute with coach Brad Childress last week was over an MRI exam that the receiver didn't want to take. "It was a little dispute, but we settled it," Harvin said, according to the Star Tribune. "Me and Coach are fine." ESPN reported that the dispute between Childress and the former Florida standout got so heated that teammates had to physically intervene.