Wade Phillips: I was a lousy head coach, but I’m a pretty good defensive coordinator

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The Broncos brought Wade Phillips back to Denver to run their defense this year and Phillips said he’s a better fit running the defense than he was in the last job he held with the team.

Phillips went 16-16 and made the playoffs once as the Broncos head coach in 1993 and 1994, one of the six times he’s served as a head coach on an interim or permanent basis for an NFL team. This will be his eighth stint as a defensive coordinator and Phillips said Tuesday that he thinks he’s a better fit in that job.

“I was a lousy head coach, but I am a pretty good defensive coordinator,” Phillips said, via Troy Renck of the Denver Post.

Phillips actually has an 82-64 record as a head coach and he’s led teams to the playoffs in five of his eight full seasons in the job. That’s not all that lousy, although the latter half of his self-assessment impacts the Broncos much more.

Phillips thinks he’ll have plenty to work with in Denver. He called it “a better situation than I have ever come into” and confirmed that he’ll run the 3-4 base defense he’s utilized throughout his “pretty good” career as a coordinator.

38 responses to “Wade Phillips: I was a lousy head coach, but I’m a pretty good defensive coordinator

  1. It’s nice that a guy like Wade Phillips can recognize what his best fit is. There are a lot of great football minds who have proven to be lousy head coaches who are better suited for a coordinator position, regardless of what their record says… Norv Turner and Mike McCarthy to name a couple.

  2. Yes….Yes…..Yes…..Some just need to stay as coordinators: Buddy Ryan and Norv Turner to name a couple

  3. Mark these words… The Denver Broncos Defense is gonna be SICK in 2015. Denver fans should be pretty excited. Manning isn’t going to have to do much, which is probably for the best after what we saw at the end of this past Season.

  4. Wade is a great guy that has his head screwed on straight. If Spagnuolo didn’t return to the Giants I was hoping they would take a look at Wade. I wish him the best in Denver

  5. tvjules says:
    Feb 10, 2015 3:56 PM
    And with JJ Watt, you were a GREAT defensive coordinator.

    ————————————————–

    Wade was responsible for drafting JJ Watt. And he is a great DC.

  6. scoops1 said:

    “Imagine if he started Doug Flutie instead of Rob Johnson…..”

    No doubt. I was at that Wild Card game. And trust me, we Titans’ fans have always wondered about that ourselves. It would’ve been a completely different game and one I’m not confident the Titans would’ve won.

  7. He’s not a bad HC but he’s too soft on players and guys today need direction or they lose focus.

    Pretty good DC though. Seen him come up with great game plans plenty of times.

    The Steelers can thank Wade for their Super Bowl title back in 2006. Pittsburgh was dominated by Indy in the regular season, but towards the end of the season San Diego played Indy and Wade Phillips showed everyone how to beat Manning and the Colts. Pittsburgh used the Wade’s gameplan to beat Indy and they went on to the Super Bowl.

  8. A Wade Phillips sighting to an NFL team in 2015 is what a Bob Weiss sighting was to an NBA team in the 70s/80s/90s.

    Translation for anyone under 30: Both were desperation moves by teams that revived a washed-up retread straight from the mothballs.

    OK, now the mothball thing needs translation. This could go on…

  9. imagine if he started Doug Flutie instead of Rob Johnson…..
    ————————————————-

    No, imagine if Ralph Wilson had let him start Doug Flutie instead of Rob Johnson.

  10. OK, so now, in Denver he can admit that he is a better DC then HC. But 2 years ago, when he didnt get the HC position after filling in for the Texans at the end of the season, his ego couldn’t accept that.

    Riiiiiiiiight.

  11. Wade is probably assessing himself to his father and making his conclusion which would make sense in this context. I would still argue lousy is too unfair.

  12. No, imagine if Ralph Wilson had let him start Doug Flutie instead of Rob Johnson.

    Flutie got shafted by both the Bills and the Patriots in his first stint there. The guy could have had one hell of a career. By the San Diego years he was on the downhill side.

    This is much more interesting that talking about Wade Phillips.

  13. fbfanman says:
    Feb 10, 2015 3:49 PM
    It’s nice that a guy like Wade Phillips can recognize what his best fit is. There are a lot of great football minds who have proven to be lousy head coaches who are better suited for a coordinator position, regardless of what their record says… Norv Turner and Mike McCarthy to name a couple.
    ————————————-
    The guy that won a Superbowl, took his team to 3 conference title games, Got good production out of Matt Flynn (and Aaron Brooks when he was the Saint’s OC).

    Bill Belichick gave him props after his team defeated the Pats.

    He also almost beat the Pats in New England with Flynn…

    But I guess he’s an “Awful” head coach…smh.

  14. Nice as it is to see some modesty in the NFL from time to time, he is understating his accomplishments on both counts. In a league that has seen the likes of Josh McDaniels, Jack Del Rio (recently hired again), Norv Turner, Rod Marinelli, and even Jeff Fisher (20 seasons as a head coach, six of which resulted in playoff appearances), the fact that Phillips has taken three different franchises to the playoffs and has five playoff seasons on his resume, the guy was far from “lousy.”

  15. It’s good that Wade is being modest, but what does this say about the clown that the Burros hired as HC considering that Phillips’ record as a HC is far superior? The stats don’t lie:

    Phillips: 82-61 W/L, 5 playoff appearances in 8 full seasons

    Kubiak: 61-64 W/L, 2 playoff appearances in 8 full seasons

  16. Johnson over Flutie with the Freak coming to town is a good example of his first point; taking the Houston D from 30th to 3d in yards and 29th to 4th in points allowed in his first year proves his second point.

    Elway’s big problem is that in two years he’s going to fire Kubiak, and Wade will have made a case for himself as HC in the meantime.

  17. I always thought he was a decent head coach, but hey, he has more perspective on the matter than I do.

    One other commenter above had a good observation too. Didn’t seem to be the type to give players a kick in the butt when it was needed.

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