Believes Texans Have Talent Needed For His
coordinator Wade Phillips believes the
Texans' roster has the necessary talent to
make a smooth transition to his defense
TX, Friday, January 7, 2011.
When told that a lot of fans don’t think the
Texans have the right players for a 3-4
defense, Wade Phillips chuckled.
the same thing just about everywhere I’ve
gone,” he said. “I just don’t believe that
based on what I’ve seen on film.
“What we do
with our front seven depends on what players
has coached some of the greatest 3-4 players
in NFL history, has watched tape of 15
Texans games and says he’s excited to get to
work with his new players.
version of the defense is closer to a 4-3
than the traditional 3-4, said the Texans’
new defensive coordinator.
The Texans have
only one way to go on defense. They will add
players in the draft and free agency to help
improve a defense that ranked 30th in the
NFL, including 32nd against the pass.
fired by the Dallas Cowboys after a 1-7
start to the 2010 season. His one victory
was a 27-13 conquest of the Texans at
replace Frank Bush, Phillips is eager to get
started on changing the Texans’ defense — a
switch he says isn’t as difficult or
complicated as many expect.
traditional three-man front, the ends are
directly across from the offensive tackles.
The ends are responsible for covering two
gaps — one inside the tackle and the other
outside the tackle.
When the ball
is snapped, the ends are supposed to grab,
hold, locate the ball and try to disengage
from the block to make the play.
Williams and Antonio Smith will be excited
to know that in the Phillips 3-4, they will
line up farther outside and have
responsibility for only one gap.
powerful,” Phillips said. “He can be a
dominant player. I want him to get up the
field. He gets good leverage. He’s strong
against the run. It’s a matter of helping
him, technique-wise, and putting him in
position to take advantage of his talent.”
Smith played in
Arizona’s 3-4 when the Cardinals lost to
Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl.
Antonio,” Phillips said. “He’s been in a
3-4. He’s got quickness off the ball. He’s
tough and plays hard.”
situations, the 3-4 becomes a 4-3.
stay on the field and play end, probably on
the opposite side from outside linebacker
Connor Barwin, who would drop down and rush.
Smith would move inside, as he has done with
the Texans. The other tackle in a four-man
front could be Amobi Okoye, someone else on
the roster, or another player the team
A 3-4 gives a
defensive coordinator more opportunities to
create pressure packages and mismatches and
encourages the front seven to be versatile.
The nose tackle
is the key player up front.
traditional 3-4, the nose lines up directly
across from the center and is responsible
for the gaps on each side of the center. For
a 3-4 to work, the nose tackle must be so
strong, quick and athletic that he ties up
two blockers on every play.
In the Phillips
3-4, the nose tackle lines up on the center,
but he’s responsible for only one gap. Which
gap depends on what call is made.
film, Phillips has seen two Texans linemen
who can play nose in his system — Shaun Cody
and Earl Mitchell.
says the Texans don’t have the players to
play on the nose is wrong,” Phillips said.
“I’ve only seen them on film, but I think
Cody and Mitchell can play on the nose. From
what I saw, both of them had good years.
“It helps to
have a good player on the nose. Everywhere
I’ve gone except Buffalo — where I took Ted
Washington with me — they’ve had a player on
the roster we turned into a pretty good
Mike and Mo; no
In a 3-4, the
inside linebackers — Mike (strong side) and
Mo (weak side) — make most of the tackles.
“When I was
coaching with the Oilers (defensive line in
1976-80), we were going to call the weak
side inside linebacker Meg, but (Gregg)
Bingham didn’t like it, so we changed it to
Mo,” Phillips said.
linebackers can drop down and rush as ends.
Those two linebackers, especially the one on
the weak side, are the best pass rushers.
The Texans are
loaded with linebackers. DeMeco Ryans will
play inside and Barwin outside. From
watching film, Phillips isn’t sure if Brian
Cushing will be more effective inside or
outside. Darryl Sharpton, Zac Diles, Xavier
Adibi and Kevin Bentley are the other
linebackers in the mix.
wants to try some of the lighter defensive
ends such as Mark Anderson and Tim Jamison
at outside linebacker.
Gary Kubiak and Phillips still have to hire
coaches for the linebackers and defensive
backs, which could be done as early as next
week. Once the defensive staff is
solidified, Phillips will turn his attention
to the players.
“I can’t tell
you how excited I am to get going on this
job,” he said. “There’s talent to work with,
and I’m ready to get started.”
has coached excellent players – and Hall of
Famers – on several defenses where he served
as an assistant or head coach. Here are some
of the best:
Bruce Smith (Bills), Reggie White (Eagles),
Elvin Bethea (Oilers), Patrick Kerney
(Falcons) and Rulon Jones (Broncos).
Curley Culp (Oilers), Jay Ratliff (Cowboys),
Ted Washington (Bills), Pat Williams
(Bills), Jamal Williams (Chargers) and Greg
linebackers: Robert Brazile (Oilers),
DeMarcus Ware (Cowboys), Rickey Jackson
(Saints), Shawne Merriman (Chargers), Shaun
Phillips (Chargers) and Simon Fletcher
linebackers: Gregg Bingham (Oilers), Keith
Brooking (Falcons, Cowboys), Chris Spielman
(Bills) and Karl Mecklenburg (Broncos).
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