A draft analyst looking to pass along some of the scuttlebutt from the Senior Bowl got more than he bargained for on Monday, when Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips decided to fire back on Twitter at a report suggesting that Phillips was responsible for the rift between the Denver offense and defense in 2016.
“Your sources about me and dividing the team are an out and out lie,” Phillips said in response to the report. “I resent [you] saying that — ask any off coach or player.”
The forceful nature of Phillips’ reaction invited further digging. A source with knowledge of the situation said that there’s no truth to the notion that Phillips caused division within the team. He was, and still is, loved by the players.
While the source also said the split between the two sides was amicable, with Phillips wanting to move to L.A., where his daughter lives, there were other factors at play. Defensive backs coach Joe Woods was starting to become a hot name for potential defensive coordinator jobs; the Broncos didn’t want to lose him to another team. (Because Woods was still under contract, the Broncos could have blocked him. They believed the better course was to ensure he got his promotion without leaving.)
Also, money was an issue. Not this year, but a year ago. Phillips, per multiple sources, wanted to be the highest-paid defensive coordinator in the NFL after the Broncos won Super Bowl 50. The Broncos resisted, and Phillips entered his contract year with the intent of becoming a coaching free agent.
He did, and now he’s a member of the Rams. The Broncos in turn kept Woods, and both sides are pleased with the outcome.