For 36 of the past 37 seasons, Wade Phillips found himself busy working as a coach in the National Football League, trying to drum up defensive schemes and getting his team ready for battle.
On Monday, however, Phillips took advantage of the opportunity to do something he’s seldom had the chance to do throughout his career: watch his son coach from the sidelines.
“This is ‘Sons Bring Their Dads to Work Day,’ so I got the opportunity to come out,” Wade Phillips told Redskins.com with laugh. “It was really nice for Coach (Jay) Gruden and Bruce (Allen) and those guys to let me come.”
Wade Phillips, 66, has coached in the NFL since 1976, when he became the Houston Oilers’ defensive line coach. Since that time, he’s coached with several different teams, serving as head or interim head coach of the Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans, where, in all, he compiled a .577 winning percentage.
Phillips, the son of longtime NFL coach Bum Phillips, said he passed along the same lessons that he learned from his father onto Wes, who is constantly seen conducting hand and footwork drills with the Redskins’ tight ends.
“Fundamental football is the key,” Wade Phillips said. “You have to be able to teach fundamentals like how to move in space, which is important to get a player better. That’s what coaching is: you have to help a player get better. That’s always been our family’s philosophy.”
He said in his time away from coaching, he’s been working on a book about the 3-4 defense – a scheme used by the Redskins and defensive coordinator Jim Haslett.
“They’ve got some strong outside backers, which is a building block for the 3-4 – to have guys that can set the edge,” Wade Phillips said of the Redskins. “That really helps. I think they will do well.”
Phillips also complimented first-year Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, a former quarterback who spent the past three seasons as the Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive coordinator.
“We played against him several times in Cincinnati,” Phillips said. “I really respected him as a coach, and I think he will do a good job.”
And although Wade Phillips once served as head coach of the rival Dallas Cowboys, he said his allegiances shifted gears after the Redskins hired Wes on Jan. 17.
“I think it’s gonna be a big year for this team … I’m impressed with their personnel here,” Wade Phillips said. “I’m obviously a big Redskins fan now.”