Wade Phillips tweets his contract with Rams as defensive coordinator will not be renewed

Published 2:53 pm Monday, January 6, 2020

Port Neches-Groves graduate Wade Phillips announced Monday on Twitter that the Los Angeles Rams would not renew his contract as defensive coordinator.

Phillips, a longtime assistant and head coach in the NFL and son of former Houston Oilers coach Bum Phillips, helped the Rams reach Super Bowl 53 last season, but the Rams failed to return to the NFL playoffs this season despite a 9-7 record. Phillips completed his third season with the Rams.

“I have been informed by the Rams that my contract will not be renewed,” Phillips tweeted. “I want to thank them for the opportunity to be a part of their success the last 3 years. Most of all I want to thank the players who I loved [working] with. I still want to coach and feel I can contribute.”

It would not be unprecedented for Phillips to return to a team where he was once head coach. Phillips engineered the Denver Broncos’ defense on its way to winning Super Bowl 50 in the 2015 season, 21 years after he was the team’s head coach.

But Phillips likely won’t be headed back to Dallas, where he was the Cowboys’ head coach from 2007-10. Mike McCarthy, who has reportedly been tabbed as head coach in Dallas, is nearing landing Mike Nolan as defensive coordinator, CBSSports.com reported Monday.

McCarthy, who won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers in the 2010 season, succeeds Jason Garrett, who took over the Cowboys after Phillips was fired.

Phillips has coached in the NFL since 1976, working under his father in Houston and has been head coach in Denver (1993-94) and Buffalo (1998-2000). He was interim head coach in New Orleans (1985) and Houston (2013).

Phillips’ defense in 2019 gave up 22.8 points per game, 16th-best out of 32 NFL teams, and 339.6 total yards per game for 13th best. Both averages were improvements from its run to the Super Bowl in 2018 season, when it allowed 24 points and 358.6 yards per game.

The Rams went 33-15 in the past three regular seasons. Still, members of the Rams’ brass apparently felt a change had to be made on defense after not making the 2019 playoffs. The Rams’ website did not make any mention of Phillips’ job status on its website as of Monday afternoon.

Los Angeles lost seven of its 11 defensive free agents from 2018, including nose tackle Ndamukong Suh, but gained two on defense from free agency, former Baltimore Ravens free safety Eric Weddle and former Packers linebacker Clay Matthews.

Los Angeles started the 2019 season 3-0 but dropped its next three, two of them against NFC West Division rivals and playoff teams Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. Back-to-back losses, both on the road, to the Dallas Cowboys and 49ers in Weeks 15 and 16 sealed the Rams’ fate, but Los Angeles closed out the season with a 31-24 home win over the Arizona Cardinals. The Rams finished two games behind the Seahawks.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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