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Wade Phillips: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coaching Candidate

Wade Phillips will interview for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' head coaching position on Friday, which means we get to talk about the possibility of Wade Phillips as a head coach. Phillips is a very hot name in coaching land right now because he's turned around the Houston Texans' defense quickly and efficiently, despite losing his best player to injury early in the season. Wade Phillips has consistently put out great defenses, and that's certainly a good thing. He has also been successful as a head coach, at least in the regular season, with a career 82-59 record and two division titles in 9 years.

Of course, there's some reason to criticize Wade Phillips too. He's had five head coaching opportunities in total, two of them as interim coach, and he has had success - but it hasn't been overwhelming. There are questions about the way he runs teams and whether he can control a roster and run a tight ship - something the Buccaneers are supposedly looking for after Raheem Morris.

Wade Phillips has a terrific track record as a defensive coordinator, but being a good coordinator and being a good head coach are two different things. Can he translate his success as a coordinator into playoff wins and even a Super Bowl? He hasn't done that so far.

Previous Experience

Graduate assistant, University of Houston, 1969
Defensive Coordinator, West Orange-Stark High School, 1970-1972
Linebackers Coach, Oklahoma State University, 1973-1974
Defensive Line Coach, University of Kansas, 1975
Defensive Line Coach, Houston Oilers, 1976-1980
Defensive Coordinator, New Orleans Saints, 1981-1985
Interim Head Coach, New Orleans Saints, 1985
Defensive Coordinator, Philadelphia Eagles, 1986-1988
Defensive Coordinator, Denver Broncos, 1989-1992
Head Coach, Denver Broncos, 1993-1994
Defensive Coordinator, Buffalo Bills, 1995-1997
Head Coach, Buffalo Bills, 1998-2000
Defensive Coordinator, Atlanta Falcons, 2002-2003
Interim Head Coach, Atlanta Falcons, 2003
Defensive Coordinators, San Diego Chargers, 2004-2006
Head Coach, Dallas Cowboys, 2007-2010
Defensive Coordinator, Houston Texans, 2011

Why Wade Phillips should be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Head Coach:

  1. He's an experienced winner
    Experience seems to be the number one criterium for a head coach right now, and Wade Phillips certainly has it. He's not Marty Schottenheimer, but then no one is. But he has an 82-59 regular season record and a 1-5 record in the playoff. He has consistently won games (though not in the playoffs), and he's done so with multiple teams. He has experience, he knows what it takes to win, and he's done it before. That's what the Bucs are looking for, judging by the guys they're bringing in.
  2. He can turn around a defense and do it quickly
    Whatever doubts you have about Wade Phillips' abilities as a head coach, there should be no doubts whatsoever about his abilities as a defensive coordinator. He has done well as a coordinator in every spot he's coached, and has managed to build very good defenses in very short times. Yes, he runs a 3-4 defense - but it's a one-gap 3-4 defense that would be fairly easy to transition to for the Bucs' current personnel.
  3. He will put together a good staff
    Wade Phillips knows people. Lots and lots of people. He's been in the league forever and then some, and he's played for everyone and their mother. It's ridiculous how many teams this guy has coached for, but he's been exposed to anyone and everyone. That means one thing: he has the connections to put together a good coaching staff, and that's key to succeeding in the NFL.
Why Wade Phillips should not be Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Head Coach
  1. Discipline?
    Wade Phillips has never been known as a guy who can instill a sense of discipline into a team. In fact, when he was fired in Dallas the main complaint was that he seemed to have lost the team and couldn't instill discipline. Sloppy play and penalties characterized that 2010 Cowboys team. With the Bucs coming off a season marred by sloppy play, penalties and a team that seemed lost, does a coach who suffered from those same problems in his previous job work?
  2. Playoffs?! We talking about playoffs!?
    As with Marty Schottenheimer, Wade Phillips has not had success in the playoffs. In fact, he's only won one playoff game in his career. That's not very good. He's also been fired in three different cities, and hasn't ever lasted more than four years with one team as a head coach. Is this a concern for the Bucs? Well, right now a winning season would be nice regardless of any playoff performance, and Phillips has certainly shown he can deliver that.
  3. Offense?
    The Bucs want to build their team around Josh Freeman. They want to find the right guys to play with him, and the right coach to develop him. Hiring a defensive-minded head coach wouldn't really work with that objective. Can Wade Phillips help develop Josh Freeman, and can he bring in the right assistant coaches for Freeman to work with?

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