|Phillips likes it so much in Houston that it seems he plans on staying awhile. (US PRESSWIRE)|
By Ryan Wilson
Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has been as much a part of Houston's success this season as any other single factor. The Texans' D ranked 31st in 2010, according to Football Outsiders; a year in his system and the unit finished the 2011 regular season ranked eighth.
When coordinators have success, that often leads to head-coaching opportunities. It's how Phillips got his gig with the Cowboys in 2006 -- he did a bang-up job with the Chargers as Marty Schottenheimer's defensive coordinator. So it wasn't surprising that the Buccaneers, which had just parted ways with Raheem Morris after three seasons, wanted to interview Phillips. The two sides were set to meet this Friday … except that it appears Phillips has withdrawn his name from consideration, according to ESPN.com's Adam Schefter.
“Well again, you know, my first priority is to be here,” Phillips said of the Texans, who are preparing to play the Ravens this weekend, in comments distributed by the team. “I like it here. I love it here. You know we’ve had such a magical year and we’re going to keep it going so that’s my first choice. You know I may not be their choice either, but I am gonna interview and you know take it from there. As far as distractions, they asked me two weeks ago, they asked permission to talk to me two weeks ago so we knew what was going on for two weeks, but we didn’t let it be a distraction the week before so it won’t be this week.”
Turns out, Phillips likes it so much that he's decided to stay. Or at the very least, not pursue the Tampa Bay job.
Meanwhile, the Bucs organization is still in flux. Thursday afternoon, CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Scott Purks noted that "Nothing is totally clear about the search for a new head coach, but the leaders for the job appear to be Mike Sherman, Marty Schottenheimer, Wade Phillips and Brad Childress -- in that order. Interviews with more candidates are expected in the next couple of weeks."
We can whittle list to three now that Phillips isn't interested.
The Houston Texans will square off against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. Which team will advance to the Conference Championship? NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz preview this game. Watch the game at 1 PM ET on CBS.
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