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Colts can't stomach second dose of Phillips

Discussion in 'San Diego Chargers Hall of Champions' started by robdog, Jan 18, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

    Jun 29, 2009
    Source: <a href="http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2006/01/18/sports/scholfield/21_54_571_17_06.txt" target="_blank">North County Times</a>


    The Pittsburgh Steelers might want to send Wade Phillips a thank you card.

    Phillips, the Chargers' defensive coordinator, cracked the code of Peyton Manning's offense during the regular season with a defense that ended the Colts' 13-game winning streak.

    After watching the way the Chargers attacked Manning, other teams went to school.

    The big payoff came Sunday when the Steelers turned back Manning's Colts 21-18 in the AFC playoffs.

    Here's what Phillips did to stump the Colts: He stacked his two best rush linebackers, Shawne Merriman and Steve Foley, on one side of the line, while the rest of the defense pretty much stood still.

    Manning's greatest success comes when the defense tips its hand, usually by moving a linebacker or defensive back. The Chargers stood still and won. The Steelers did pretty much the same thing.

    Merriman and Foley created mismatches on the offensive line, and the Colts never really figured out how to block them. The result was a 26-17 victory that took place exactly one month ago today.

    The Colts entered that game averaging a league-high 30.2 points per game, but the Chargers sacked Manning four times. He had been sacked just 12 times in the previous 13 games.

    And the credit goes to Phillips, 58, a 29-year NFL veteran.

    What boggles my mind is why other teams searching for a proven head coach have not pursued Phillips.

    He did have an interview in Green Bay, but that job went to Mike McCarthy.

    One would think the Houston Texans would at least give him a call. His father, Bum Phillips, was the highly successful coach of the Houston Oilers.

    It seems owners are leaning toward new and younger coaches.

    McCarthy, 43, has never been a head coach in the NFL.

    Neither has Eric Mangini, who turns 35 on Thursday, or Sean Payton, 42.

    Mangini joined the New York Jets and Payton the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday.

    Payton, incidentally, spent two different terms at San Diego State (1988-89 and 1992-93) where he coached running backs and then quarterbacks.

    All might be fine coaches, but their resumes don't match Phillips'. He was the head coach of the Buffalo Bills from 1998-2000. He also was Denver's coach from 1993-1994. Phillips also served as interim head coach in New Orleans and Atlanta.

    He has an overall winning record of 48-39.

    He won 29 games in three seasons with Buffalo. Since then, the Bills have won just 31 games in five years and are searching for their third head coach since Phillips.

    The one stat that really sticks out with Phillips is this one: He's 6-for-6 in making the playoffs in the first year after joining an organization either as defensive coordinator or head coach.

    He came to San Diego in 2004 and the Chargers have won 21 regular-season games in two seasons. The last time that happened here was 24 years ago during the 1980-81 campaigns.

    Put simply, the man can coach.

    He certainly doesn't get the credit he deserves nationally, and part of that is because of the A.J. Smith-Marty Schottenheimer inane policy of not allowing their assistant coaches to talk to the media.

    Phillips was allowed to talk on one occasion earlier this year and shed some light on his situation. Yes, he would love to coach again. And yes, he is surprised he has not seen more offers come his way.

    "I guess once you get fired they think you didn't do a good job," Phillips said referring to his previous coaching posts in Denver and Buffalo.

    He was let go in Denver because management wanted to hire Mike Shanahan. And Buffalo owner Ralph Wilson released him because Wilson wanted Phillips to fire an assistant coach. Phillips refused.

    "I guess the timing hasn't been right," Phillips said when asked about his current situation. "If it doesn't happen, there's no place I would rather be than here in San Diego. We have a good thing going here, and I want to do the job as well as I can."

    That has to be good news for Chargers fans. But I still think some NFL team is missing out by not giving Phillips a chance.

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