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HOUSTON — Texans fans should take a huge sigh of relief because it looks as though first-year defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will be around for at least one more season and possibly for the long-term.
Wade has been a candidate for the vacant Tampa Bay Buccaneers job and was schedule to interview on Friday, but according to reports from the Houston Chronicle Phillips has decided to pull out of consideration for the opening. That seems consistent with how he expressed on Thursday his desire to stay with the Texans and his wish not to be a distraction as the team heads into an AFC Divisional Playoff game against Baltimore on Sunday.
“My first priority is to be here. I like it here. I love it here,” Philips said during Thursday’s press conference at Reliant Stadium. “We had such a magical year that I want to keep it going. That’s my first choice. I might not be their first choice, either. “
It is highly likely Phillips could have been the top candidate with the other potential candidates being former longtime NFL coach Marty Schottenheimer, ex Texas A&M and Green Bay Packers head coach Mike Sherman and Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray.
But Phillips, who was most recently the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, may have figured out he and Gary Kubiak have a good thing going here. Phillips has stepped in and immediately transformed the defense from one of the worst to the second best defense in the NFL.
His 3-4 scheme is widely credited for being the key to push the Texans over the top to their first ever postseason appearance. Phillips also has had some recent health issues that also could have weighed into the decision for him to bow out.
The veteran coach had a surgical procedure last month concerning his kidney and gallbladder that forced him to miss two games and he has been limited the last two weeks, calling the games from the press box. Only this week is there even some consideration of Phillips moving back to his more comfortable sideline coaching post but that was still up in the air as of Thursday.
“I think he’s getting stronger every day,” Kubiak said of Phillips on Thursday. “We take a chair out to practice, so he gets a break in between periods, but I think coach has gotten stronger. His day’s gotten longer throughout the course of this week. Just excited to see him getting back to full health, and I know the players are great to have him back around throughout the course of the day, practice, and everything we’re doing, so I think he’s doing a lot better.”