Earlier this week, the Green Bay Packers made the decision to move on from defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. The decision to move on came after the team’s second consecutive NFC Championship loss. Pettine had been a holdover from the Mike McCarthy regime in Green Bay. Now, head coach Matt LaFleur will get to choose his own defensive coordinator. Wade Phillips could be on that list.
Wade Phillips’ Coaching Career
Former defensive coordinator and head coach Wade Phillips is generally regarded as one of the best defensive minds around the NFL. His coaching career, which spans five decades, has shown that he is able to adapt his schemes as the game evolved.
Phillips’ first six years of coaching were spent on the high school and collegiate level. In that time, he was a linebacker coach, defensive line coach, and defensive coordinator. It was not long before he got the call to the NFL.
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His first NFL coaching job was with the Houston Oilers as their defensive line coach. After three years, he was snagged by the New Orleans Saints to be their defensive coordinator. During his last season in 1985, he also served as the interim head coach.
In 1986, he was hired as the defensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles. It was there that he helped mold and develop Hall of Fame defensive end Reggie White.
1989 saw Philips take the defensive coordinator position with the Denver Broncos, who he helped reach the Super Bowl. In 1993, he took over as head coach of the team, but only lasted one season.
From 1995-2000, Phillips was a with the Buffalo Bills franchise. He served as defensive coordinator from 1995-1997. In 1998, he was named head coach, a job he held until after the 2000 season.
Over the next 19 seasons, Phillips held defensive coordinator positions for the Atlanta Falcons, San Diego Chargers, Houston Texans, Denver Broncos, and Los Angeles Rams. He was also the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys from 2007-2010. He won a Super Bowl with the Broncos in 2015, the same year he was named the NFL Assistant Coach of the Year. Phillips also helped the Los Angeles Rams reach the Super Bowl in 2018.
The Matt LaFleur Connection
When Wade Phillips was named the defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams in 2017, he was not the only new coordinator in town. Matt LaFleur also was brought in as the offensive coordinator. While Phillips remained in Los Angeles for two more seasons, LaFleur departed after 2017 for the Tennessee Titans, where he would have play-calling duties.
Phillips remembers Matt LaFleur well. As his name floats around Packers’ social media as a potential defensive coordinator, Phillips Tweeted the following:
Does Phillips Even Want to Coach?
Wade Phillips retired from coaching following the 2019 seasons. At 73 years old, many wondered whether or not he would even want to coach again. However, Phillips himself answered that question about two weeks ago: