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Rumor: Wade Phillips The Front Runner For Redskins DC Job

Jason Cole cites sources close to Phillips and people with knowledge of the Redskins thinking

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Cole, an NFL insider currently working with Bleacher Report, is reporting that Wade Phillips is the favorite to land the Washington Redskins vacant Defensive Coordinator job.  Jim Haslett and the Redskins "mutually parted ways" last week after Haslett's 5 year run with the team.  Cole cited sources close to Phillips and who have knowledge of the Redskins "thinking".  Cole listed the following reasons for Phillips being the favorite for the position:

  • He runs a blitz-oriented, aggressive 3-4 defense which fits the Redskins talent
  • A.J. Smith is a close ally of Team President/GM Bruce Allen(A.J. worked with Phillips previously in San Diego and Buffalo)
  • Jay Gruden knows Phillips very well
  • Phillips is "highly regarded" by Jay's brother Jon Gruden

The connections between A.J. Smith and Wade Phillips have already been documented by John Keim and others, and Phillips makes a lot of sense for some of the reasons Cole lists.

Don't be surprised if Smith pushes hard for Wade Phillips as the defensive coordinator. Phillips was the San Diego Chargers' defensive coordinator for three seasons when Smith was the general manager. Smith was a scout and then pro personnel director in Buffalo during Phillips' six seasons as defensive coordinator and then head coach. In San Diego, Phillips' defense ranked 11th, 13th and then seventh in points allowed per game. They were 18th, 13th and 10th in total yards. Doesn't sound like there's any doubt Phillips would want to return to coaching. Phillips' son, Wes, also serves as the Redskins' tight ends coach.

My guess is that people in the organization already know Smith's thoughts on who he'd recommend as the defensive coordinator. So even though interviews will take place before his meeting with the Redskins, I'd imagine those thoughts would be taken into serious consideration

Phillips is reportedly set to interview with the Redskins tomorrow.  Dianna Russini from NBC Washington 4 reported last night that Head Coach Jay Gruden, Team President/GM Bruce Allen, and team owner Dan Snyder were in a meeting to discuss the evaluation of the team, and go over potential coaching changes.  Echoing Keim's speculation, A.J. Smith is reportedly being offered a bigger voice in the organization and he is a fan of Phillips.  While the team has requested interviews with several candidates, the team could already have their guy picked.

Wade Phillips is anxious to get back on the sidelines, has attended several games this year to watch his son's(TE's coach Wes Phillips) team, and has support within the organization.  Even  before Cole's report Phillip's was considered the favorite(sorry Joe Barry, your Tampa Bay connections might not be enough this time).  The biggest concern is obviously Phillip's age(67), but with a first year coach coming off of a 4-12 season, instability at the QB position, and question marks in the front office, the job might only be there for a year or two before more change happens.