HOUSTON — Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will take over as Houston’s interim head coach and try to help the team end a six-game skid with Gary Kubiak out indefinitely after suffering a mini-stroke this weekend
“I’m just keeping the seat warm,” Phillips said.
It’s a familiar position for Phillips, a 30-plus-year NFL coaching veteran, who was last a head coach in Dallas and has twice served as an interim head coach in the league. The first time came in 1985 when his father Bum Phillips stepped down with the Saints, the second was in 2003 when Dan Reeves re-signed down as Atlanta’s coach with three games left.
“Thirty-three years I’ve been either a coordinator on one side of the ball or a head coach,” Phillips said. “I think experience helps. I hope it does in this case. I’m pretty familiar with what (to do).”
Phillips has had a tough month with the recent death of his father and being thrust into this role with Kubiak ailing. He’s talked to the team about dealing with adversity and thinks the players will respond well Sunday.
“A lot’s been going on in my life and, I told the players, too, we’ve lost some games, but there are tougher things than losing some ballgames that people have overcome,” Phillips said. “And so we can overcome losing ballgames if people can overcome some of the things that have happened.”
Offensive coordinator Rick Dennison will take over the play-calling duties, with input from Phillips, when the Texans travel to Arizona on Sunday. Dennison doesn’t believe much will change offensively with Kubiak out.
“I’ve been with him for a long time and we have the same philosophy on how to win football games,” Dennison said. “I would say just being around him in this position for the last four years we would be very similar. I don’t know that we’re exact, but we’re very similar.”