CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Wade Phillips makes it easy to laugh. All he has to do is starting talking about himself.
Tuesday, Phillips struck a perfect balance, providing levity while also explaining why a victory this week remains important.
"I know (coach Gary Kubiak) is going to miss the game and we are going to miss him," Phillips said. "And we're going to play for him, I'll tell you that. I'm going to talk to the defense and we're going to dedicate this game to him."
Phillips has been integral part of Kubiak's head coaching career. He returned to Denver because of the former Broncos quarterback.
"He's meant so much to this team and is the reason we won a Super Bowl. So we're going to do something for him," Phillips said. "We are going to play this game for him."
Phillips' direct message stood in contrast to the majority of Tuesday's press conference. He took no issue with general manager John Elway naming Joe DeCamillis the interim coach. It suggests, as Elway predicted, Kubiak will return on Monday. And besides, Phillips explained DeCamillis deserves the chance over him.
"If you look at my interim record, I'd say, 'Make sure you don't make him the guy,'" Phillips said. "I told you all I was a lousy head coach. So no, it's a one-week deal. I think it makes the most sense for Joe D. Everyone respects him. All the players think he's a great coach, which he is."
Phillips believes his defense will bounce back. The Falcons presented unique matchups in patterns out of the backfield. The Patriots did something similar last season with limited success. It isn't a blueprint to solve Denver because few teams have personnel like the Falcons. Phillips admitted this week is about managing distractions.
Kubiak's absence jolted the Broncos. However, the culture he helped create provides ample push this week.
"I said it when I was first here: they expect you to win here. And I think that helps you," said Phillips, beginning his yarn about his days as Denver's head coach in the 1990s. "They expect to win everywhere, but some places are satisfied when you don't. Here, they fire you if you're 8-8. That's what I've heard anyway."
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