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Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Arians understands Phillips' position

By Tania Ganguli

HOUSTON -- The coaches facing each other Sunday in Arizona are two who have been in similar shoes.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians took over last year in Indianapolis as Colts coach Chuck Pagano underwent treatment for leukemia. Starting today, Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is officially the team's interim head coach while Gary Kubiak recovers from a transient ischemic attack he suffered at halftime of Sunday night's game against the Colts.

The emotional part of taking that role wasn't easy for Arians.

"It was difficult," Arians said. "Our first thoughts were about Chuck and his illness with leukemia, and making sure that that was taken care of. Football kind of took a back seat for me, personally."

The Xs and Os, though, were easy enough.

"I just kind of kept doing my job," Arians said. "We had a head coach. We knew that one day he was going to come back and was a matter of keeping the seat warm. And just expanding your duties a little bit as far as throwing the flag on Sunday. I just asked every coach to do his job and do a little bit better."

Phillips had similar sentiments Sunday. Beyond things like deciding when to kick field goals, Phillips managed the defense as he always does and left the offense to coordinator Rick Dennison. Kubiak typically calls offensive plays.

During the week it's meant running team meetings and practices.

It's an awkward position, but Phillips has held the role of interim coach before. And while Kubiak is going through a difficult episode, Phillips will take this role having the peace of mind knowing that his colleague and friend will make a full recovery.