|Wade Phillips is going to talk to Tampa about their opening. (Getty Images)|
Earlier on Sunday we passed along the report that the Bucs might be closing in on naming Mike Sherman their next head coach. So it's interesting (very interesting actually) that the Buccaneers asked the Texans for permission to interview defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.
And, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, the Texans gave Tampa Bay permission to talk with Wade and the two sides will speak on Friday.
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"I'm gratified somebody noticed," Phillips said, per McClain. "I don't want to leave Houston but I want to be a head coach. We'll talk and see how much interest [the Bucs] have in me."
Phillips has been a head coach at the NFL level three times. He went 16-16 as the Broncos head coach in 1993 and 1994, 29-19 as the Bills head coach from 1998-2000 and 34-22 as the Cowboys head coach from 2007-2010. He was also an interim head coach for four games with the Saints in 1985 and for three games with the Falcons in 2003.
Wade's gotten the lion's share of credit for turning the Texans defense from the NFL's worst unit in 2010 to the NFL's second-best unit in 2011. Even though the additions of Johnathan Joseph and Danieal Manning also helped, there's no question Phillips made a huge impact and his stock went way up after the Texans strong defensive performance this season.
Given the way the Buccaneers finished the season -- losing 10 straight in embarrassing defensive fashion and falling to 30th in the NFL in defense in the process -- talking with Phillips makes a lot of sense.
According to Chris Mortensen of ESPN, the Bucs will also speak with Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.
Zimmer can interview and take the position at any point since Cincinnati's eliminated from the playoffs. But the Bucs can't actually hire Phillips until the Texans are knocked out, which would be Monday, January 16 at the earliest (Houston and Baltimore play that Sunday).
All of this makes it much less likely that Sherman's announced as the next coach within the week.
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