All across Broncos Country, many people are lamenting the loss of former Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. Amongst those that were sad to see him go is newly-minted head coach Vance Joseph.

“Losing Wade, that was disappointing,” Joseph said on Tuesday.

Taking his place will be former defensive backs coach Joe Woods, who spent the past two seasons under Phillips with the Broncos. The pair have a mutual respect for one another, with Phillips wishing Woods the best in his new role.

“Obviously, Wade Phillips is going to go down as one of the best defensive coordinators in the history of the NFL,” Woods said. “I’ve had great conversations with Wade, he’s very happy for me.”

With change comes uncertainty. Broncos fans can rest easy however. Woods is highly-regarded after guiding the vaunted “No Fly Zone” in each of the last two seasons. Also, just because the coordinator has changed, doesn’t mean the look of the defense has to.

“We’ve been here for two years and we’ve played elite level defense,” Woods said. “The blueprint, in terms of what we’ve done, that’s not really going to change.

“We’re going to call everything the same. We’re going to have the same adjustments. We’re going to have a few tweaks along the way, but it’s just something that we’ll use to enhance what we’ve done the past two years.”

That sentiment was echoed by Joseph. When he was hired, there was much speculation that the Broncos would switch to the 4-3 defense he ran with the Miami Dolphins. Joseph refuted that notion, committing to the 3-4 that Denver has dominated with in each of the last two seasons.

“That’s our base defense: 34,” Joseph said. “Again most Sunday’s you’re in your base defense 20 percent of the time, it’s all sub; [but] we’re a 34 team.”

Joseph also confirmed to Mile High Sports that Woods will call the defensive plays. When asked what he would be most focused on improving, Woods felt the answer should be apparent.

“Obviously, it’s the run game,” Woods said. “Last year was a little bit different for us, in terms of how team attacked us. We didn’t play that well defensively against the run.”


Image credit: Ben Swanson/