Broncos tap Wade Phillips for defensive coordinator as time runs out on Vance Joseph
By Johnny Hart
After trying to lure Vance Joseph away from his post as Cincinnati Bengals defensive backs coach to run Denver’s defensive for nearly two weeks, the Broncos finally have its defensive coordinator.
The thing is … it’s not Vance Joseph.
Instead, it’s the club’s second choice: former Broncos head coach Wade Phillips.
Joseph, a rising star on the NFL coaching circuit, had interviewed for Denver’s head coach opening after the team consciously uncoupled with John Fox, interviewing just days before former Broncos offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.
But when the Denver head coaching job went to Kubiak, Joseph rose to the top of Denver’s defensive coordinator’s list –– a list of candidates that included Phillips among others.
Cincinnati would squander any chance of Joseph and Denver hooking up, however, by not allowing the assistant to interview for the Broncos coordinator position.
Not required to allow Joseph out of his contract, which runs until 2016, the Bengals didn’t budge, leaving the Broncos with its second choice to run the Denver defense.
But Phillips, who had Joseph as a member of his staff in Houston for three years under then-Texans head coach Kubiak, told the Denver Post, “That’s the way the league is.”
Denver’s new D-coordinator called Joseph a “bright, rising star,” according to our Broncos insider Mike Klis, saying he may have “taught him too good.”
The son of Bum –– literally (his father was former Houston Oilers head coach Bum Phillips) and also on Twitter (@sonofbum
) –– isn’t exactly a slouch.
During his 32 years as either head coach or coordinator in the NFL, Phillips’ defenses ranked 10th or higher in total yards 17 times.
In his last coaching stint, Phillips took over a Texans unit ranked 30th in the league and posted the second best defensive by total yardage (285.7 yards per game) in 2011.
Much like Kubiak, and freshly hired offensive coordinator Rick Dennison, Phillips will undergo his second stint in orange and blue. He coached Denver’s defensive from 1989 to 1992, when he replaced Dan Reeves as head coach.
Phillips managed a 16-16 record as the Broncos head coach before being replaced by Mike Shanahan in 1995.
With Phillips will likely come a change in defensive scheme for the Broncos –– from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4.
It’s the scheme that netted Broncos linebacker DeMarcus Ware 60.5 sacks from 2007 to 2010 as a member of the Dallas Cowboys, when Phillips was the team’s head coach.
Said Phillips to Klis and the Denver Post
: "I've had DeMarcus before and with Von Miller, those two guys can be awesome - they are awesome but they can be more awesome in the 3-4."
The defensive hinges on a finding a suitable nose tackle to eat up space on the line of scrimmage, which could be an issue if Broncos defensive tackle Terrance Knighton should leave via free agency.
Report: Gary Kubiak to become Denver Broncos newest head coach
By Johnny Hart
During the club’s end of season press conference last week, Denver Broncos general manager John Elway used the words “world championship” or some iteration therein seven times.
On Sunday, Elway and the Broncos brass hired the engineer of Denver’s only two World Championships as Denver’s newest head coach.
This will be the third time Elway and Kubiak have hooked up in Denver, both who came into the NFL in 1983 as quarterbacks for the Broncos.
Kubiak would backup Elway until 1991, when he retired and turned to coaching.
The two would meet up again in 1995, this time with Kubiak as offensive coordinator, as Denver geared up for back-to-back Super Bowl wins.
Kubiak would end up coaching the Broncos to three AFC Championship appearances in his decade in Denver before becoming the Houston Texans head coach in 2006.
After winning just two of Houston’s first 13 games in 2013, however, Kubiak was dismissed as the Texans head coach.
Kubiak landed in Baltimore this season as the Ravens’ offensive coordinator, where he took a 25th ranked offense just a year ago and turned it into the eighth best in the NFL in 2014.
The team likely will introduce Kubiak on Tuesday. We’ll have coverage of that press conference live on 105.5 ESPN or online at ESPNDenver.com