Could Wade Phillips be heading to Titletown?
Greg Bedard, former Milwaukee Journal Sentinel NFL writer and now current Sports Illustrated Senior NFL writer, toyed with that very notion on Twitter Thursday. He tweeted:
“@GregABedard: Wonder, if Wade Phillips doesn't find a DC job, if he lands in some sort of role with Packers. He & Ted are like brothers.”
Packers General Manager Ted Thompson played linebacker for Bum Phillips, Wade’s father, with the Houston Oilers when Bum was the head coach and general manager from 1975-1980. Up until Bum’s death, Thompson remained close to him and his family, even spending time with Bum in Texas during the offseason. Thompson even interviewed Wade for the Packers head coaching position in 2005, where the job eventually went to current coach Mike McCarthy.
It’s no secret that Thompson and Phillips have a close relationship. And the mere fact that the Packers need to improve their defense is a strong indication that this reunion could be a possibility. Phillips has a good track record as a defensive coordinator, especially when he starts coaching a new team. But, those same teams have been known to regress the following seasons.
But Phillips won’t be brought in to be the defensive coordinator. Dom Capers has been praised by head coach Mike McCarthy along with his players and if Dom was going to be let go, it would have been done by now. So, that leaves the question: Where would they fit Wade in?
The Packers currently have no defensive coaching positions open. And the last time Phillips was a position coach, was when he was the defensive line coach for the Houston Oilers in 1980, when Thompson was playing. It’s highly unlikely the Packers let go of Mike Trgovac, their current defensive line coach, because Trgovac has a solid coaching background and has done a decent job so far with the Packers.
It’s not to say that Phillips couldn’t coach any other position, but with his ego (he recently tweeted about his displeasure of not getting an interview for a coordinator job), would he even settle for a position coach? I don’t think so, and I don’t think the Packers would let go one of their younger assistants for him, especially if it’s just for one year.
The only way the Packers can bring in Phillips is for a defensive assistant role or a consultant role. And even that might get tricky. Would Phillips and Capers butt heads on philosophical differences? Yes, both run the 3-4 defense, but they are slightly different.
If Thompson wants to peruse this, he has to tread carefully. He would first have to get Mike McCarthy on the same page with him and then they would have to get Dom Capers on the same page as well. And would the organization want to even bother pursuing Phillips for what likely might be only a one year deal? This of course assuming he would leave at the first chance for a coordinator position the following year.
My advice? Thompson, McCarthy, and Capers need to sit down and at least discuss it. If Phillips is there and the Packers agree to take him on, they should do so in a heartbeat, but in a consultant type role. Much like what the San Francisco 49ers did this past season when they hired Eric Mangini. Phillips has a proven track record of great defenses and the fact that he has been a defensive coordinator or head coach since 1981, speaks volumes of his knowledge.
And the Packers need all sorts of help on their defense. From the players playing better and the coaches coaching better. Adding Phillips could help out that defense tremendously. And if it could have the same affects that Mangini has had on the 49ers, it could be a win-win situation.
But this relationship would only work if everyone was on board. Thompson can’t just make McCarthy or Capers go a long with it. If there is any type of friction in the coaching staff, the Packers will not go very far next year.
It’s an interesting concept though. Phillips would be an asset to the Packers struggling defense if they could find a role for him. If all parties involved can come together and have a healthy, working relationship, it could do wonders for the Packers.
And get Phillips another coordinator job the following year.