Texans candidate watch: Wade Phillips

December, 10, 2013
12/10/13
3:30
PM ET
The next three weeks will be an audition for Houston Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. He's getting a chance none of the other candidates for the Texans' vacant head coaching job will get: The chance to show Texans owner Bob McNair what he can do running this team, rather than just tell him.

"I’m going to try to influence some things offensively that I feel can help us. I’m not going to take over the offense," Phillips said. "I’ll probably delegate more duties defensively. Also, I have to help with special teams. I’m going to try to be a well-rounded head coach. I think that’s what the head coach does is try to be involved in all aspects of the game. And I’ve done that."

Phillips believes he can still be a good head coach. He considers the end of his last stop as a head coach to be a function of the business.

After the Cowboys fired him, former Texans coach Gary Kubiak hired Phillips to turn around one of the worst defenses in the NFL. It worked.

More to know about Phillips:
  • Former player? Linebacker at the University of Houston
  • Coaching debut: 1969 as a graduate assistant at the University of Houston
  • NFL coaching debut: 1976 as a linebackers coach for the Houston Oilers
  • Significant stop: Phillips' first coordinator job came in 1981 when he became his father's defensive coordinator with the New Orleans Saints. When Bum Phillips stepped down as the Saints coach in 1985, Phillips got his first nod as interim head coach. It took him eight more years of being a coordinator to get his first official head coaching job.
  • Head-coaching experience: Phillips' first two head coaching positions, with the Denver Broncos and the Buffalo Bills, came on teams with which he served as the defensive coordinator first. He spent two seasons with the Broncos and went 16-16 before being fired. His next stop was as the Bills' defensive coordinator. After three seasons doing that, Phillips ascended to head coach. He went 29-19 as the Bills' head coach. The Cowboys hired Phillips in 2007. His only playoff win as a head coach came with Dallas. Phillips went 34-22 as the Cowboys' head coach. He remained there for three-and-a-half seasons.
  • How did it end? In Denver, Phillips was fired after a 1994 season when the Broncos started 0-4 and finished the season 7-9. In Buffalo, Phillips was fired when he refused to fire the special teams coordinator (firing the special teams coordinator was the first thing that happened when Phillips took over in Houston on Friday. He called it a team decision). In Dallas, Phillips' final season began 1-7 with his only win coming against the Texans. He was fired after eight games.

Tania Ganguli

ESPN Houston Texans reporter

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