Wade Phillips interested in being Raiders defensive coordinator

Jon Gruden, Raiders, Wade Phillips
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Right after Sunday’s 44-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, the Las Vegas Raiders fired defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. Giving up 456 yards of offense (212 rushing yards) was apparently the last straw with three games to with the Raiders in playoff contention. Rod Marinelli will take over as interim defensive coordinator, and an interesting candidate has thrown his hat in the ring for 2021.

According to Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Wade Phillips wants to get back into the NFL. And he has particular interest in the Raiders’ new job opening.

Prior to spending this season out of coaching, Phillips was the Los Angeles Rams’ defensive coordinator for three seasons (2017-2019). But he of course has a long NFL resume dating back to 1976, and he was either a defensive coordinator or a head coach every year but two from 1981-2019.

In all or part of 12 seasons as a head coach for six teams, Phillips had an 82-64 regular season record. I say “had” because it’s unlikely the 73-year old will be a head coach, even on an interim basis, again. Since being fired in the middle of the 2010 season as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, he served as interim head coach of the Houston Texans for three games in 2013.

What Would Wade Phillips Offer The Raiders?

In 37 total seasons as a head coach or coordinator, Phillips’ defense has finished top-10 in total yardage allowed 20 times. In 2015, the Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50 spearheaded by Phillips’ No. 1-ranked defense.

Pro Football Focus has graded Phillips’ defenses well.

The Raiders are blitzing at the third-lowest rate in the league right now (19.3 percent). The Rams blitzed 28 percent in 2019 and 21.1 percent of the time in 2018 under Phillips. If he were to be hired, he would bring an aggressive vision to the Raiders.

Based on his reputation, and modern results shown by analytics, Phillips would be a nice fit for the Raiders as defensive coordinator. Bonsignore has offered a list of candidates, but it’s notable Phillips is most prominently mentioned as interested in the job for next year.