Rams hire Wade Phillips as popular coach leaves Broncos

Posted at 6:10 PM, Jan 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-13 10:26:53-05

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Wade Phillips became a free agent this week. Suitors lined up.

The Los Angeles Rams made him an multi-year offer he couldn't refuse, landing the accomplished coach to serve as their defensive coordinator. Denver7 reported the Rams' interest earlier Thursday night as reports surfaced connecting Phillips to Washington.

"Those are false rumors (about Redskins)," Phillips told Denver7.

He wasn't kidding. Phillips is going to Washington to visit family on Friday, then he will turn his attention to helping an underperforming Rams defense. Phillips, who turns 70 in June, will pair with the Rams' Sean McVay, who, at 30, is the youngest head coach in NFL history. Phillips has coached longer in the NFL than McVay has been alive.

Phillips' exit ended a wildly successful two-year run in Denver.

"Thanks to John for bringing me the Greatest staff, to Gary our leader, to the Best players ever and to The greatest fans. I will miss you," Phillips tweeted Friday after receiving a three-year deal with Los Angeles where his daughter works in Hollywood. "Congrats to my friend Vance. Great hire by John Elway. Don't worry about the D. Vance knows what I know, Plus what he knows about Defense!"

Broncos coach Vance Joseph told Denver7 he considered keeping Phillips, calling him a "football father of mine." However, he hinted it was unlikely.  If the Broncos wanted to keep Phillips, they had time to work out an extension following Super Bowl 50. It never materialized, leaving Phillips vulnerable after coach Gary Kubiak stepped down because of health reasons.

The Broncos are set to promote secondary coach Joe Woods to the defensive coordinator's role.

"Joe is a bright coach. He's obviously ready to be a coordinator in this league. Joe is a guy who can defend the NFL pass game. That's tough," Joseph said. "Most of the game plans start at the back end. It's a passing league, so Joe is very capable. I love Joe. We've been friends for a long time. He's detailed and he's capable."

Players have uniformly endorsed the move for Woods. The Broncos want to keep defensive line coach Bill Kollar and linebackers coach Reggie Herring.



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Want Broncos news? Denver7 Broncos insider Troy E. Renck is your source. He talks to the players, covers the games and reports scoops on Denver7 and the Denver7 app. He is a CU grad who has covered pro sports in Colorado since 1996, including 14 years at The Denver Post. Follow him on FacebookTwitter and’s Broncos page. Troy welcomes most of your emails at