The Broncos have brought back Wade Phillips to be their defensive coordinator, it was announced on Wednesday. In his first Denver stint, Phillips coordinated the Broncos defense from 1989 to 1992 and took over as head coach for two seasons after the firing of Dan Reeves.
He was something of a placeholder head coach for Mike Shanahan, who turned down the head job in 1993 but returned two years later. According to various reports, Phillips may again be taking a temporary position, as Vance Joseph's contract in Cincinnati will be up after 2015.
On Tuesday, Alex Marvez speculated that Phillips might be hired for 2015 with the intent of making Joseph the DC in 2016 and shifting Phillips into a role as a senior defensive advisor.
The Bengals refused to let Joseph out of his deal, even though a move to Denver would have provided a promotion from secondary coach to his first coordinator job. Joseph also coached defensive backs under Phillips and head coach Gary Kubiak in Houston from 2011 to 2013.
Since his first run in Denver, Phillips has held four different coordinator jobs and two head gigs, plus two stints as in interim coach, including in Houston after Kubiak was fired. Although the son of Bum Phillips has often been described as a great coordinator and poor head coach (including by this author), he has a more than respectable 82-64 (.562) record as the man in charge.
Over his 23 years as a coordinator, seven of Phillips' defenses have ranked in the league's top four relative to net passing yards allowed per attempt. Six times, they ranked in the top five in passing yards allowed, and another four times, they were #1 or #2 in passing touchdowns allowed.
This time around, he'll inherit a slew of talented players, led by Von Miller, Chris Harris, Aqib Talib, Brandon Marshall, DeMarcus Ware, Malik Jackson, and T.J. Ward, plus rising second-year player Bradley Roby. Danny Trevathan will be working his way back from knee surgery, while Terrance Knighton and Rahim Moore are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents.
Phillips figures to run the 3-4 defensive system created by his father, known as the Phillips 3-4. Over the coming weeks and months, we'll have plenty more on what to expect out of Phillips' defense, but for now, here are a few articles from the archives worth checking out: