Sean McVay praises Wade Phillips on his way out the door

Getty Images

As the Rams move on from defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, the public praised being heaped upon him by coach Sean McVay raises an obvious question.

Why isn’t Phillips being retained?

Technically, his contract has expired. Phillips said that the Rams have told him the contract won’t be renewed, which makes the move not his choice, but the team’s decision.

“Coach Wade has been a veteran voice in heading our defense for the past three seasons,” McVay said in a statement issued by the Rams. “His wealth of experience, sound advice, and helpful demeanor has been invaluable to our coaches and players, and also has set an example for me as a head coach and a leader of men. I thank Coach Phillips for his numerous contributions to the Los Angeles Rams and our community, and I wish he, his wife Laurie, and the rest of the Phillips family the best.”

An article posted by the team’s website explains that, “[d]espite losing several key starters, Phillips’ unit still managed to improve from 19th to 13th in the NFL in total defense, going from 358.6 yards allowed per game in 2018 to 339.6 in 2019.” Not bad, given the regression of the offense.

Again, so why isn’t he coming back?

“He’s been great,” McVay said regarding Phillips before the regular-season finale against the Cardinals. “Even from the very first time that we started working together. His experience that he’s had, to be able to draw on. I think our personalities, it’s a good balance — in terms of some of the things where you see just how even-keeled he is, has helped. Like I’ve mentioned in a lot of different ways, he’s always had a great perspective just based on his experience — whether it be as a head coach or as a coordinator, but it’s never pushed on you. He’s always willing to share and has a way that he thinks is the best way to be able to do it, but I’ve never felt like any of that was pushed on you.”

One more time, why not bring him back? The Broncos didn’t renew Phillips’ deal three years ago because they wanted to promote Joe Woods into the job. The Rams reportedly want to bump Joe Barry into the defensive coordinator position for 2020, and presumably beyond.

Woods and Barry are both 49. Phillips is 72. And so the explanation may be the one that never would be acknowledged by the Rams, due to the mandates of the federal and state law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of age: Like the Broncos possibly did in 2017, L.A. may simply be choosing to go significantly younger at the position.

26 responses to “Sean McVay praises Wade Phillips on his way out the door

  1. Maybe he wasn’t retained because the broadcasters didn’t televise him like they do Saleh?

    Or maybe we shouldn’t obsess over how often Saleh is displayed on your TV screen?

  2. It’s always kinda felt like Wade has been pushed around and then pushed out where ever he’s been, but he’s always been successful. I would say he’s one of the best defensive coordinators of all time.

  3. So they are going to hire Joe Barry to replace Phillips? Did anyone bother to look at Barry’s record as a defensive coordinator? 0-16 with the Lions. Two pathetic season in Washington. One of the WORST DCs ever, EVER!

    There are a lot better options available. Heck just about anyone with some experience would be better.

    The Rams are going to be a mess going forward and McVay is working his way out of a job.

  4. He must have questioned Les Snead about giving away Marcus Peters and using two firsts for a different CB. Seeya

  5. Defense wins super bowls…how do you replace his experience? I guess the Rams need to sell some tickets so they will employ the flavor of the month, good luck with that and oh yeah the salary cap thing.

  6. WD was and continues to be a class act. He was let go because of 3 games: vs the Bucs, Ravens and ‘Boys.

  7. The supposed reason is that Wade didn’t want to adjust his defensive scheme much from game to game, while the boy genius wanted him to be more flexible with more significant wholesale scheme adjustments based on the opposition (ie, like BB out east). The obvious counter to that is Wade’s scheme seemed to work in prior years and was more consistent than the offense this year. Now I guess we will really see McVay’s true vision and intellect.

  8. He’s basically not being re-signed b/c they need a scapegoat for going from 12-4 to 5-11 & it can’t be the in over his head 33 year old millennial coach. I’m sure WP will get another DC job, Aaron Donald certainly thrives in his schemes.

  9. the teams have caught up to the boy wizard that took the league by surprise-2 yrs of tape reveal chinks in offenses- especially by the top DC’s

  10. McVay is firing him because he’s trying to deflect how terrible the offense was–which was his side of the ball. The wrong coach is getting fired here. I give McVay two more years before he gets fired. Goff will probably be joining him in the unemployment line.

  11. This kind of reminds me of the Bills situation a few years back….Rex Ryans brother was running our defense into the ground so Rex decided he needed to fix it…..he fired the offensive coordinator….

  12. You guys that are bagging on McVay are on crack! The guy is thirty-freaking-three years old and has already been to a super bowl. Posted three straight winning seasons after a DECADE plus of hot garbage from four different H.C.s. OK, his offense got a little predictable (and he adjusted BTW) but he has what it takes to build greatness and has already shown that. Also, stonecoldbrettfavre, I don’t know if you’ve been watching but Aaron Donald thrives in ANY scheme.

  13. Rams have huge money tied up in the mediocre Goff and broken down Gurley. Ramsey is about to demand to be the highest paid player in the NFL or else his back will start acting up again.

    These supposed genius play callers win when they take over an already well coached team but then it falls apart over the next few years because play calling is not all there is to coaching.

  14. He had to go. Every time McVay went to call Gurley’s number on plays, Wade would blow a raspberry and totally put him off, for real.

  15. Rams headed for dark, dark days. 3 other teams in the division have reason for optimism going forward. Rams can look forward to salary cap problems with high-paid guys who are mostly 2nd tier talents (Donald top-tier, obvs).

  16. OCs and DCs are fired all the time. You can’t assume its age discrimination.
    Maybe the HC felt Wade didn’t adapt.
    How good was the Rams defense in 2019?

    I don’t see this as age discrimination, it’s more about developing a replacement.

  17. Even though age discrimination is “illegal” it is alive and well in the USA. Trust that I know whereof I speak…perception is reality, even if it isn’t.

  18. Joe Barry is McVay’s selection for Rams DC? Seriously? He was the DC for the Skins in 2015 & 2016, he wasn’t very good.

  19. Welcome to the basement of the division, Rams. Get comfortable there.

    Rams are clearly outclassed by the 49ers and Seahawks, and the Cards are one solid offseason from passing them by. Rams unaffordable roster will be falling apart soon.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.