Wade Phillips knows defense better than you.
He knows defense better than just about anyone on the planet. Phillips takes that knowledge and creates success. The most recent example is his time with the Houston Texans as the defensive coordinator.
As Bucky Brooks from NFL.com points out, Phillips transformed a defense that ranked dead last in pretty much every statistical category in 2010 into the No. 2-ranked defense in the NFL. He also did that without a Pro Bowl player.
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Imagine what Phillips could do with the talent on the Denver Broncos defense. If he could take a defense that was the worst in the league and the very next season make it one of the best, with nowhere near the talent, there’s no end to what he could do. When you pair him with new Broncos defensive line coach Bill Kollar, you have the makings for something really special on that Denver defense.
For some that’s not enough. They can’t look past his failed stints as a head coach, one with the Broncos in the early 1990s. They say Phillips isn’t nasty and mean enough. What does that mean anyway? You can either coach or you can’t. You know defense or you don’t. They say he’s a retread and won’t bring anything fresh. If you look above, that’s complete nonsense.
Phillips is one of the brightest defensive minds football has seen the last 30 years.
But that’s not the only reason Gary Kubiak is at least looking at Phillips. There’s no doubt familiarity breeds into that since they worked together in Houston. It also goes back to Kubiak’s playing days in Denver when Phillips was the defensive coordinator here.
Sep 29, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips reacts to an unnecessary roughness call in overtime against the Seattle Seahawks at Reliant Stadium. The Seattle Seahawks beat the Houston Texans 23-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
This goes deeper than that. This goes beyond that. Phillips is a Bronco. He knows what the organization is about. He knows what the goal is. He’s lived it. He’s breathed it. If you haven’t been paying attention, the last two coaching staffs didn’t get that. The expectations that come with being the head coach in Denver crushed them. One didn’t get it or care, the other had one foot out the door and quit.
If Phillips wasn’t a defensive genius, this wouldn’t work. There’s no way Kubiak would even consider Phillips for his defensive coordinator. But when you see what Phillips did in Houston with a defense that is nowhere near the level of the Broncos, there’s no wonder why Kubiak would at least look into the possibility. To at least talk to Phillips about what he would do or change. He would be doing the Broncos a major disservice not to talk to Phillips.
Fans have their favorites. They have the guys they think are “the guy” because they meet their criteria and bring what they think the Denver defense needs. Jim Schwartz, Teryl Austin and Vance Joseph are the most ballyhooed by Broncos Country.
When you include Phillips, all have their positives and negatives. Kubiak couldn’t go wrong with either one. But there’s one huge piece that makes Phillips stand out above the rest: He’s a Bronco. He knows what this organization is about. He knows the expectation that comes with that.
Right now, that’s what the Broncos need more than anything.
Dec 1, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips on the sidelines against the New England Patriots at Reliant Stadium. The Patriots beat the Texans 34-31. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports