9:56 p.m.: This post has been updated.
The Washington Redskins front office was planning to meet with former head coach Wade Phillips about the team’s defensive coordinator job Friday evening, according to a source with knowledge of the search process.
But Phillips, whose defensive acumen was critical to the Denver Broncos’ victory over the Carolina Panthers in last season’s Super Bowl, instead accepted an offer to become defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
The Rams on Thursday hired Redskins offensive coordinator Sean McVay as their new head coach, signing the 30-year-old to a reported five-year deal.
Phillips, 69, a former head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Broncos, would have been at least the third candidate to interview for the Redskins defensive coordinator job since Joe Barry was let go the week after the Redskins ended their 2016 season with a lackluster 19-10 defeat to the New York Giants that shut them out of the playoffs and left them with an 8-7-1 mark.
On Monday, the Redskins interviewed former Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine for the defensive coordinator job. On Wednesday, they brought former Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley to Redskins Park for an interview. Bradley served as defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks before taking the reins in Jacksonville. But according to multiple media reports Thursday night, Bradley was expected to follow former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator and interim coach Anthony Lynn to the Chargers. Lynn and the team were reportedly negotiating a contract Thursday night.
Phillips boasts 38 years’ experience in the NFL. As an architect of defenses, he’s known for running a 3-4 scheme, like the Redskins, that he tailors to the strengths of his personnel.
In Barry’s the two seasons with the Redskins, the defense ranked 28th in yards allowed.
Phillips’s contract with the Broncos expired at the end of the season. The Broncos this week hired Vance Joseph, a former defensive coordinator with Miami, as their new coach. Joseph told Denver media Thursday that Phillips “is a free agent.”
Phillips’s son, Wes, serves as tight ends coach for the Redskins. But there is wide speculation that he might join McVay at the Rams, and the prospect of his father serving as defensive coordinator has heightened the speculation.
The Redskins were granted permission to interview Carolina defensive backs coach Steve Wilks but aren’t believed to have spoken with him yet. Wilks is now viewed as a candidate for Carolina’s defensive coordinator post after Sean McDermott was named head coach in Buffalo earlier this week.
Redskins Coach Jay Gruden’s offseason to-do list expanded Thursday when McVay accepted the Los Angeles Rams’ head coaching job, leaving the team with both coordinator jobs to fill.
Phillips had spent the past two seasons as defensive coordinator for the Broncos, who allowed the fewest yards of any NFL defense in 2015, which they capped their the Super Bowl championship. Largely for that achievement, Phillips was named NFL Assistant Coach of the Year in 2015.
Before joining Gary Kubiak’s staff in Denver, Phillips was the defensive coordinator in Houston in 2011 and quickly turned around a poor-performing unit. He took over as the Texans’ interim head coach late in the 2013 season, while Coach Gary Kubiak dealt with a health issue.
After Kubiak was let go in Houston, Phillips was out of football in 2014. During that span, he interviewed for the Redskins’ vacant defensive coordinator job after Gruden parted ways with Jim Haslett. Gruden chose Barry instead.