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Las Vegas Raiders rumors: The legendary Wade Phillips could join the team

Dec 29, 2019; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips after the Rams win over the Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

It was not a surprise that defensive coordinator Paul Guenther was fired late Sunday evening. Las Vegas Raiders rumors had suggested that this might be the case. It came after Las Vegas yielded 44 points to the Colts, yet another example that its defense is among the worst in the NFL.

Despite boasting a 7-6 record and being in the AFC Playoff race, these Raiders have yielded 30.1 points per game. That represents the third-highest mark in the NFL. Needless to say, head coach Jon Gruden needed to make a change.

Even with former Lions head coach Rod Marinelli taking over as defensive coordinator on an interim basis, we’re hearing a ton of Las Vegas Raiders rumors surrounding another veteran defensive-minded coach joining the organization.

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Las Vegas Raiders rumors: Could Wade Phillips be headed to Sin City?

“Long term, it isn’t yet clear what the Raiders plans to do with the defensive coordinator position. If they do decide to go outside their building for a permanent replacement, at least one prominent NFL coach is keenly interested,” Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on Monday. “According to people close to Wade Phillips, the 44-year coaching veteran and architect of the Denver Broncos defense that helped bring a Super Bowl championship to the Mile High City in 2016 is itching to get back to the NFL and is particularly interested in the Raiders’ opening.”

Now, this would be a pretty surprising development. While it’s highly unlikely that the 73-year-old Wade Phillips would join the Raiders this season, he would be an interesting short-term fix as their defensive play caller.

Phillips is seen as among the most-respected defensive minds in the NFL dating back to his first role as a coordinator in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints back in 1981. Most recently, Phillips has enjoyed a tremendous amount of success as the defensive coordinator for the Texans, Broncos and Rams.

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Las Vegas Raiders rumors: What would Wade Phillips bring to the table?

Las Vegas Raiders rumors: Wade Phillips
Dec 1, 2019; Glendale, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Just look at how well Phillips’ units have performed in terms of total defense over the past several seasons. It’s pretty astonishing stuff.

  • 2019: 13th (Rams)
  • 2018: 19th (Rams)
  • 2017: 19th (Rams)
  • 2016: 4th (Broncos)
  • 2015: 1st (Broncos)
  • 2013: 7th (Texans)
  • 2012: 7th (Texans)
  • 2011: 2nd (Texans)

Sure the Rams had some struggles under Phillips in 2017 and 2018, but a lot of that had to do with personnel. Overall, Phillips has anchored 20 top-10 defenses throughout his 44 years as a coach in the NFL. It’s hard to compete with that type of resume.

As for the Raiders, it’s as much about personnel as it is coaching on the defensive side of the ball. This team has lacked anywhere near a consistent pass rush since Gruden’s foolish decision to trade Khalil Mack ahead of the 2018 season. The secondary is raw and inexperienced.

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If the team were to bring in Phillips this coming offseason, Las Vegas Raiders rumors would then shift to adding proven talent on that side of the ball. Not even the most-respected defensive mind in the NFL today can make this unit look respectable in its current form.

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Related: If you’re a fan of the Raiders, check out #RaiderNation rumors, rankings, and news here.