HOUSTON (CBS Houston) – For whatever reason, Wade Phillips seems much better suited to be an assistant coach in the NFL.
But his desire is to return to the head coaching ranks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers want to discuss their opening with the Texans first-year defensive coordinator. Phillips is set to meet with team officials on Friday night, two days before the Texans take on Baltimore in an AFC Divisional playoff game.
Some believe interviewing at this point with a chance for the Texans to advance to the AFC Championship game on the line is a distraction the team doesn’t need. Texans coach Gary Kubiak, however, isn’t among those who see this opportunity for Philips as a distraction.
“I don’t look at it that way. I think it’s a compliment,” Kubiak said during Monday’s press conference. “We all know Wade’s track record and the job he has done. That’s not a surprise at all that somebody would want to visit about the head coaching job.”
Phillips,64, has been a head coach on three different occasions in the NFL with his last shot at the helm coming with the Dallas Cowboys from 2007 to 2010 when he was fired by Jerry Jones. Phillips also had head coaching stints in Denver and Buffalo.
There have always been questions about his ability to lead an entire team, but his knowledge and impact on the defensive side of the football is undeniable. His 3-4 defense has transformed the Texans from one of the worst to one of the best defenses in the NFL in just one season.
Wade’s defense has been given a large amount of credit for delivering the Texans to the playoffs for the first time in their 10-year existence. The defense has played well throughout the season and is coming off an impressive showing during Saturday’s 31-10 wildcard win over Cincinnati at Reliant Stadium.
Understandably, fans are up in arms with the timing of Phillips’ interview for the Tampa job, but if he has any chance this is the only realistic chance he has to interview. Out of work coaches Marty Schottenheimer and former Packers and Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman are reportedly the other two candidates so asking Phillips to wait until after the Texans playoff run could unfairly penalize him.
Tampa followed protocol and was granted to permission to speak with Phillips this week. They will talk Friday evening after the entire game plan has been put in for Sunday’s game in Baltimore.
“That is just part of it,” Kubiak said of the timing. “There is a window where they have to ask for permission to talk to your guys and then you try to make it work within your normal schedule.
:There is nothing that will change about our schedule. We will go through our normal week and then Wade will visit with them sometime Friday evening. So he will still be working Friday evening while everybody else is getting a little break.”
While Phillips has seemed to enjoy his short time with the Texans, he also has made no secret of his desire to be a head coach again. He is 82-59-0 in regular season games and 1-5 in postseason games he has coached in and seems much closer to the game than Schottenheimer and Sherman at this point.
If there is a concern it could be Phillips’s health. He is coming off a serious gallbladder and kidney operation that forced him to miss two games late in the season and he still doesn’t seem to be full strength.
“If you look at my record, and you can look at all the people they’re talking about now, and my record is better than most everyone they’re talking about, as a head coach I’m talking about,” Phillips said last week when asked about the possibility of being a head coach again. “If you want a winner, if you want experience, you know, I’d like to talk about it, but this is the best job I’ve had.”