On Thursday, it came down that if the Denver Broncos hired Vance Joseph as head coach, he would replace Wade Phillips as defensive coordinator. Why that move would make sense on the surface, it would be a big mistake for the Broncos.
Sure, Joseph is a defensive guy. Nobody can blame him for wanting to run his own scheme. However, it is worth noting that Joseph only has one year of experience as a defensive coordinator under his belt. Under Joseph last season, the Miami Dolphins finished 18th in scoring defense.
Phillips has 25 seasons of experience as an NFL defensive coordinator, a number that does not include his many stops as a head coach. Under his guidance, the Broncos have had a top-5 defense in each of his two years.
Joseph knows how good Phillips is, having worked under him with the Houston Texans.
Currently without a contract, Phillips is rumored to be seeking top-coordinator money. That however, should not be a deterrent; as the stats show he deserves it. If the Broncos don’t pay him, someone else will (i.e. the Washington Redskins).
Broncos defensive backs coach Joe Woods is rumored to be the man that would get the nod over Phillips, should Joseph get the job. Considering that the “No Fly Zone” boasted two All-Pros, and Denver had what was far-and-away the best passing defense in the NFL, it’s no surprise to hear Woods mentioned as a candidate. If it were any other job, he might even deserve serious consideration.
But this is the Broncos. This is a team that has been to two of the last three Super Bowls. This is a team whose engine is fueled by it’s vaunted defense. A defense whose players LOVE Wade Phillips. If I were John Elway, I would ink Phillips and mandate that the next coach keep him in his current position.
Come on John, it’s time to pay Wade.