35 years after he coached the Oilers linebackers, Wade Phillips is back in Houston.
“I’ve always been a Texan,” Phillips said at his introductory press conference as Texans defensive coordinator. “Now I’m a real Texan. Being a part of this organization is a dream come true for me.”
The 2010 Texans defense was a nightmare and can only improve. The challenge for Phillips will be to transition to a 3-4 defense with players that were drafted to play in a 4-3. Phillips says Mario Williams will be an excellent fit because Phillips’ 3-4 doesn’t require a defensive end to handle two gaps.
“We’re not talking about a three-technique. We’re talking about a guy that we’re gonna let rush the passer, penetrate,” Phillips said. “We’ll probably move him and that’s what we did with Bruce Smith. You can look at a 3-4, where a guy plays inside all the time and you look at one where they play outside and go all the time. He’s going to be one of them.”
This is Phillips’ sixth defensive coordinator position. He has consistently improved the teams he’s joined by building his defense around his players rather than being inflexible. He sees Texans linemen Earl Mitchell and Shaun Cody as potential nose tackles.
The biggest question mark is where linebacker Brian Cushing will fit. Phillips and coach Gary Kubiak admitted they weren’t sure if Cushing would be on the outside or inside.
Phillips, as always, didn’t sound too worried.