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Wade Phillips: I want to be a head coach again, I don’t think I will

Wade Phillips AP

Wade Phillips is doing a great job as the defensive coordinator of the Texans. He was a big part of the reason the Texans made the playoffs for the first time ever last year, and he’s a big part of the reason the Texans are 4-0 this year. So does that mean Phillips will be on the short list of head-coaching candidates when jobs open up at the end of this season?

Phillips hopes so. But he doesn’t think so.

“I’d love to be a head coach again,” Phillips told USA Today. “I don’t think I’ll get that opportunity.”

According to Phillips, NFL owners will focus too much on the number 65 (his age) and not enough on the numbers 82 and 59 (his regular season wins and losses in his previous stints as a head coach).

“I think just age,” Phillips said. “And I think people tend to think I wasn’t successful as a head coach but only as a defensive coordinator. They don’t look at my record. They say, ‘Oh, you got fired here. You got fired there. So you’re not a good head coach.’ But that’s all right, I love it here.”

Phillips was certainly not a bad head coach in his stints with the Broncos, Bills and Cowboys: He took all three teams to the playoffs, and has only finished below .500 once in his eight full seasons as a head coach. But Phillips is probably right that NFL owners are going to look for a fresher face if they’re looking to fill a head-coaching vacancy in 2013 or beyond.

So Phillips is probably stuck where he is. And there’s nothing wrong with being one of the NFL’s best defensive coordinators.

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39 Responses to “Wade Phillips: I want to be a head coach again, I don’t think I will”
  1. qmizzle says: Oct 7, 2012 7:43 AM

    Bout time you guys fixed the comments section on my iPhone. Keep up the good work

  2. lightcleric says: Oct 7, 2012 7:45 AM

    One the one hand, people are just better in certain roles and there’s no shame in that.

    On the other, you have to wonder if the problem was really that the Cowboys aren’t as good as ESPN tells us they are every year and no coach could meet those expctations with that team.

  3. jsratx says: Oct 7, 2012 7:46 AM

    If I were Bob McNair I’d back up the truck and ensure he’s the highest paid D Coordinator in the NFL so he doesn’t even think about leaving.

    Anyone remember our D before Wade? I rest my case.

  4. philyeagles5 says: Oct 7, 2012 7:49 AM

    your DEF may be sick, but youre not HC material.

  5. icantadd says: Oct 7, 2012 7:58 AM

    The headline should just read “Wade Phillips is Sad.” What a bummer.

    I loved Wade when he coached in San Diego and I’ve always thought that him leaving is one of the biggest reasons their defense has underperformed. You can’t help but wonder what he could’ve done gotten out of the young guys like Larry English or Corey Liuget.

  6. baloneyjohn says: Oct 7, 2012 8:01 AM

    Stick to what you know.
    You are fortunate to have coached as long as you have.
    You don’t know offense. Simple as that

  7. davekezer says: Oct 7, 2012 8:03 AM

    As a Skins fan, I have an inclination to hate Phillips, but I mean… look at what he did to that Texans offense. They were beast the second he stepped in and changed the 4-3 to the 3-4. It took the Skins 3 years under Haslett to get to 75% of what Phillips did in one year.

    Not sure about his head coaching abilities, but ANY team in the NFL would be lucky to have Phillips as their DC.

    It also helps when you have J.J. Watt. I have an embarrassing football-crush on that dude.

  8. CKL says: Oct 7, 2012 8:03 AM

    I’d rather do the job I was best at. I have no beef with trying to see if the bigger job is something one is good at, but one should accept the results and deal with the facts. Phillips was an ok HC but is a fantastic DC. RAC should accept this as well and he is significantly worse as a HC than Wade. Look at Dick LeBeau. He tried HC, wasn’t successful at it, and returned to the position at which he is dominant. Smart move, he’s got rings behind it.

  9. davekezer says: Oct 7, 2012 8:04 AM

    Texans *defense. Sorry.

  10. stanklepoot says: Oct 7, 2012 8:16 AM

    I don’t remember Phillips well as the head coach of the Broncos, so I won’t speak to that. I do remember his stints as the HC of the Bills and Cowboys, however. What I remember is that his win-loss ratio with those teams don’t tell the whole story. In both cases, he inherited solid rosters rebuilt by other coaches. He put together some nice wins with those coached-up rosters, but his wins started to decline over time as some of those players wore down or left the team. He either failed to find the right players to replace those he inherited, or failed to make a strong enough case to those in the front office who had the final decision-making power. I lean towards the second option. His biggest failing as HC seems to be that he wasn’t strong-willed enough. He was too afraid to rock the boat, which is why he went with the high priced FA Rob Johnson over the cast off Doug Flutie despite the fact that the team performed much better with Flutie. He also stood by while Jerry Jones used pretty much all his high draft picks to get skill position player after skill position player while ignoring the offensive and defensive lines throughout Phillips tenure in Dallas. Let’s face it. Some people are suited to be HCs, and some are suited to be coordinators. They’re different skill sets, and it’s no shame to be better suited to be a great coordinator.

  11. chmba says: Oct 7, 2012 8:17 AM

    Yes…and where did those teams go after he was fired…..down,down,down

  12. sfm073 says: Oct 7, 2012 8:19 AM

    Just keep up the good work and you can get paid like a head coach, but have half the headache.

  13. searchingwithmygoodeyeclosed says: Oct 7, 2012 8:19 AM

    Wade may very well be a head coach again…just not in the N.F.L.

  14. texanfan032000 says: Oct 7, 2012 8:20 AM

    Selfishly I hope he keeps being overlooked for HC jobs too, BullsonParade could be leading to some real parades at the end of many seasons.

  15. jamesx27 says: Oct 7, 2012 8:34 AM

    would LOVE for the Titans to hire him as Head Coach after the season if we continue to tank… kill 2 birds with one stone by taking him away from division rival Texans too.

  16. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Oct 7, 2012 8:34 AM

    First off, Wade Phillips and his Dad O.A. “Bum” Phillips are about as classy a people as you’ll ever find – inside or outside the NFL. Much respect to both those guys.

    As for his desire to be a Head Coach, he knows what he wants better than any of us. But, he is pulling the strings on an absolutely stacked defense – and he is doing it masterfully. At every level of the defense, there are playmakers. Even bench talent is high caliber —> watch out for when Houston takes the training wheels off Whitney Merciless.

    The Texan Offense is shredded too. Foster, Schaub and Andre are the well-known players, but they are much deeper than that.

    As for Wade Phillips, why not go down the Dick LeBeau path of being richly contented (and considered a legend – which he is) at DC in Houston?

    Being a Head Coach, I regularly saw so much criticism levied upon Coach Phillips — and so much consternation on his face during games and post-game pressers. In Houston, he is (deservedly) deeply beloved and respected.

    And if Houston keeps balling like they are, he can likely pick up some hardware — like LeBeau has.

  17. oaktown49er says: Oct 7, 2012 8:38 AM

    I’m sure Texans fans wish you the worst of luck in your pursuit to be a head coach.

  18. htowntexan says: Oct 7, 2012 8:43 AM

    I hope he gets the HC position in Houston. I think kubes has bought some time though . . .

  19. bobby927 says: Oct 7, 2012 8:52 AM

    Some are just not cut out to be the top dog. Wade is one of them, His expertise is running the D and he should stay there.

  20. broncosnative says: Oct 7, 2012 8:53 AM

    You have your great defensive coordinators, you tlhave your great offensive coordinators, and then you have your head coach whose great at both offensive and defensive schemes. Wade is a great DC when he only has to worry about one job but head coach, too many responsibilities and decisions to make.

  21. stayclassyasheville says: Oct 7, 2012 8:54 AM

    Tom Coughlin is no spring chicken and he’s done a great job. He’s older than Phillips. Maybe an owner will give him a shot. His defenses are nasty!

  22. rajbais says: Oct 7, 2012 8:54 AM

    Poor guy. He’s looks like a very likable person when looking at him afar.

    Thanks to Jason Garrett’s crappy offensive game plans in 2010 Wade was the fall guy. However, Wade and Jerry Jones needed better measures for discipline.

    I know one thing, he did a much better job in Dallas than Garrett has done as head coach. Also, he would at least have the Bucs hovering above .500 than Mr. “Kneel Down Defense”, aka Greg Schiano!!!

  23. frankhad says: Oct 7, 2012 8:56 AM

    Gary Kubiak had his share of growing pains as a first-time head coach. Along the way he built a consistently solid offense for the Texans. But he had precious little ability when it came to the defensive side of the ball, which is a big part of the reason the Texans struggled for so long. They simply couldn’t hold leads when the Texans got them.

    The knowledge and experience Gary Kubiak lacks on defense, Wade Phillips seems to lack on offense. The two of them together, however, form a potent and very successful combination. The ego of Gary Kubiak might take exception to it, but for the sake of team success, having co-head coaches, one for offense and one for defense, might be an idea NFL owners ought to consider.

  24. billsfan4life says: Oct 7, 2012 9:04 AM

    As a bills fan I always thought he did a nice job w/ the team…

  25. billsfan4life says: Oct 7, 2012 9:11 AM

    Matter of fact if Gailey doesn’t work out in Buffalo (And I like Gailey), then maybe ‘ol Wade can come back and be head coach….OR if for some reason Dave Wandestedt is not retained as defensive coordinator, then I would DEFINITELY like to see him as DC of the Bills…just think what he could do with Mario, Marcel, Kyle & Mark…..Scary!

  26. broncostevenp says: Oct 7, 2012 9:40 AM

    Perception is reality wade. You are perceived as being a passive head coach that allows his players to run the asylum. Do you REALLY want to be a head coach again? Then do something to change that perception. Have a melt down in the sidelines when one of your players misses an assignment, then you might get another shot. Just a suggestion.

  27. nashwaakkidd says: Oct 7, 2012 9:45 AM

    excellent DC , he should stick to that. some guys just don’t make the transition to being the head man. Rex Ryan and Josh Mcdaniels being 2 that come to mind. Great position coaches , but utter disasters as HC. And be forewarned all those that would consider the other Ryan twin for the HC position , witness the trainwreck that is the jets!

  28. pesh00 says: Oct 7, 2012 10:15 AM

    He wasn’t good as a HC because:
    1) camp marshmallow
    2) never understood how to churn the bottom of the roster
    3) was too chummy with his players to a fault. He played older players with declining skills vs replacing them or using younger talent.

    It works as a DC because its likely the HC is the one doing the churning and replacing, so Wade can continue to have that “Gomer Pyle” look.

  29. sodaknick says: Oct 7, 2012 10:28 AM

    I’ve never forgiven him for benching Flutie for Rob Johnson. After that, his coaching ineptitude was sealed.

  30. wikipediasaidso says: Oct 7, 2012 10:35 AM

    There is nothing about Wade Phillips based on his previous HC stints — especially the last one in Dallas (and the “Hard Knocks” extended look at him that came with that) — that makes me hope my team would go out and get him as their head man and make him the face of the franchise. It’s not about his age. It’s a personality thing.

    But he’s the kind of guy who will never want for an assistant’s job, because there he can concentrate on what he does best with X’s and O’s. And he does that part pretty darn well.

  31. totallyuselessme says: Oct 7, 2012 10:45 AM

    Nobody’s perfect.

    Wade’s HC gigs didn’t exactly go as planned, but at least in the Cowboys’ case I don’t really put the weight of that on his shoulders. I thought he did a good job there, but ultimately when you’ve got an owner like JJ, your hands a bit tied and your say in things is a bit limited.

    The bottom line is, to me, he coaches well – unquestionably well. The way defenses perform under his leadership puts him firmly in the top tier of the league’s defensive minds.

    The only question is really his personnel moves. I’d say he could still be an HC, and a great one, but what he needs is a smart GM (NOT just an over-nosy owner) that can handle the personnel stuff. As an example, I’d give him a shot if I had a guy with a strong track record in that area – Otis Smith, Kevin Colbert, Ted Thompson – to put above him.

  32. 1972wasalongtimeago says: Oct 7, 2012 10:47 AM

    jsratx-

    D before Wade

    D Wade

    Hey, I think you’re on to something. The Texans defense should be called “D-WADE”

    Sounds like a champion to me.

  33. 6steelrings says: Oct 7, 2012 10:59 AM

    …but if he DOES get another chance, BACK TO THE DOLDRUMS for those little whiney texans!!

  34. dawsonleery says: Oct 7, 2012 11:07 AM

    Wade is a great coach and Texans are lucky to have him. He is one of the best DCs if not the best in football today.

  35. bighoutex says: Oct 7, 2012 11:15 AM

    He is not going anywhere he is from Houston he went to the University of Houston has family from Houston he will retire here with multiple Super Bowls

  36. bucsfan5000 says: Oct 7, 2012 12:07 PM

    He’s been fired three times as a HC because his teams choked in the playoffs (Music City Miracle, Cowboys/Giants in 07, Cowboys/Vikings 2009). Maybe Jerry Jones will convince him to come back after firing Jason Garrett).

  37. coseybedaman says: Oct 7, 2012 12:23 PM

    As a die hard Bills fan, I often wonder how Wade Phillips legacy would be different had Doug Flutie remained the starter that he was all season in 99. We were Super Bowl contenders that year. What a shame. I have to think there was pressure from the front office to make the move. I cant see any head coach switching QBs like that.

  38. source7769 says: Oct 7, 2012 1:20 PM

    stop it the bills were no super bowl contenders in 99, as for phillips if he is ever a hc again it will be in the college ranks

  39. Kelly's Chronicles says: Oct 7, 2012 6:38 PM

    Isn’t age discrimination illegal?

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