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Tag:Houston Oilers
Posted on: November 18, 2011 1:15 pm
 

Five questions (or more) with Bum Phillips

Phillips

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Every Sunday, Bum Phillips watches with fatherly pride as his son, Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, helps his team to another standout performance. After Houston finished 30th in total defense last year, Wade Phillips, after switching the scheme from a 4-3 to a 3-4, has the Texans as the No. 1 defense in the NFL in his first year in the organization.

You might be surprised, considering Wade Phillips’ up and down head coaching career, but there’s no doubt he’s a strong defensive coordinator. He gets much of that from his father, Bum Phillips, who was the first coach to bring the 3-4 to the NFL in the mid-1970s and eventually became the popular Houston Oilers and New Orleans Saints coach. Bum Phillips finished his career with an 82-77 mark, and he was rarely seen without his trusty cowboy hat. He was a character and a good coach, and apparently, Wade got many of those genes.

We caught up with 88-year-old Bum Phillips earlier this week, and we talked about the job Wade has done this year, how the Texans will survive without quarterback Matt Schaub, the 3-4 defense and if the Broncos can win with Tim Tebow.

Previous Five Questions (or more):

Sept. 16:
Actor/former Patriots DB Brian White

Sept. 30: Bills RB Fred Jackson

Oct. 7: Sweetness author Jeff Pearlman

Oct. 21: 49ers LB Aldon Smith

Nov. 4:
Chris Crocker


1. CBSSports.com: Considering how bad the Texans defense was last year, how did Wade come in this year and turn it all around? Even with the lockout and not having any time to install it in the offseason, how did it happen?

Bum Phillips: Good players. And a good system. And a bunch of good people around them on offense. They keep the ball on offense, which helps them a lot. If they went three-and-out all the time and didn’t keep the ball real long, it’d be hard to keep the defense from not getting tired. He’s had 35 years in the league, and he’s been defensive coordinator for a bunch of teams. They’ve had good teams with him coaching. It’d have to be the system.

CBS: But I think what surprised me is that the turnaround happened so quickly, even with the lockout and not having an offseason.

Phillips: The 3-4 evidently fits their personnel better. They’ve got better linebackers than they do defensive linemen. They don’t need but three defensive linemen line to play.

2. CBS: How did Wade get over what happened last year in Dallas with him being fired in the middle of the season and then having to take a step down and go back to being a coordinator again?

Phillips: I don’t know. It’s just football. It’s like a game. When it’s over, it’s over, and you get ready for the next one. He’s always had good teams. I think he’s a great football coach. Thirty five years is a long time to stay in the league, so he must be doing something right.

CBS: You coached with Wade for many years. He was your assistant in Houston and in New Orleans. What was it like to coach with your boy?

Phillips: It was like coaching with anybody else. He’s my own son, but he was a good football coach. He did exactly what we asked him to do. And he did it well. I was very close to all my coaches. One of them just happened to be my son. I never looked at it like that he was my son. He was always just a coach. He didn’t get any favors. He didn’t get any undo fussing out.

Bum Phillip's son,Wade, has turned around Houston's defense (US Presswire).3. CBS: Talk to me about bringing the 3-4 to the NFL.

Phillips: Pretty easy. I found about it when I was coaching in high school. We put it in here when I got in pro ball, because football is all about using the personnel you’ve got. You have to get the best 11 defensive players on the field. It’s up to you to put them in a situation where you can use them all. If you’re short on linemen like we were in San Diego  (in the late 1960s) and you had four really, really good linebackers where we couldn’t play all four of them, you utilized your best people. But after Chicago beat us bad in the preseason, Sid (Gillman) made me go back to the 4-3 defense. When I was at Oklahoma State (in 1973), Sid asked me to come to Houston as the defensive coordinator, and I said I would do it if he let me play the defense that fit the guys we had. He said sure, and we played the 3-4. I knew it would work. We were the first to do it down-in and down-out. Other people used it as a prevent defense if they were winning the game. You know, put eight back in the secondary and rush three. But I knew darn good and well it would work.

CBS: Did other coaches at the time think it was a gimmick? Is that why Sid Gillman didn’t want to stick with it in San Diego?

Phillips: No, it wasn’t a gimmick. Everybody thought it was. We put it in Houston in 1974, and by 1976, 19 times were using it. It had never been used in pro ball. They said you would have a hard time stopping people with three linemen and four linebackers. But those linebackers are like defensive ends, and it’s a great way to rush the passer.

They’ve changed it a lot (in the current NFL) since we started using it. But that’s what you have to do in football. Now, they offset the nose tackle. Now, some people drop into a 3 technique on the weak side. Pittsburgh plays a 3-4 defense but they do it differently. It’s just something that’s evolved. They’ve improved it.

4. CBS: How much do you follow the NFL these days? Are you watching games every week?

Phillips: Sure. I watch more now than I used to (laughs). Nah, not really. But I’ve got a TV where you can record them. I’ll record three or four, and I’ll watch one or two at the same time and then go back afterward and watch the others.

CBS: And you’re watching all the Texans game I guess, right?

Phillips: Oh hell yes.

5. CBS: What do the Texans do now that they don’t have Matt Schaub for the rest of the year?

Phillips: That’s going to hurt them quite a bit. One of the reasons the defense has been good was because Matt Schaub could move the ball down the field. It’s going to take a really, really good effort from everybody. It’s not just as easy to say we’re going to change the quarterback or just run the ball. If they put enough guys up there in the box, you can’t run the ball. It still goes back to the quarterback needing to complete passes. They might put seven, eight or nine guys in the box.

CBS: You know, with those running backs, they should just install the wishbone.

Phillips: I don’t think they’d do it.

CBS: Well, I’m just kidding, but Denver has been doing the read option with Tim Tebow.

Phillips: But here’s the problem. One of those options is the quarterback is going to have to keep it sometimes. If the defense takes the pitch man and the dive man away, the quarterback has to keep the ball. I just don’t think the quarterback can do that for 16 games. Having to run every now and then because you don’t have anybody open, you can get tackled by one guy. But when he’s running the option, there’s going to be three or four people hitting you at times.

They need to try to win ballgames. They’re talking about the kid not throwing but eight passes. Hell, he ran the ball. What do you need? You need to move the ball consistently. That’s what you’re supposed to do. You don’t have to throw 30 passes a game if you can win the ballgame running. If you take eight passes, who cares if you’re winning?

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Posted on: August 31, 2011 8:26 am
 

Dan Pastorini feels let down by NFL, NFLPA

Dan Pastorini is upset with the way he feels been treated by the NFL and the NFLPA (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Dan Pastorini is mad. He’s mad at the NFL owners. He’s mad at the NFL Players Association. And he’s mad at Drew Brees.

“F--- Drew Brees,” Pastorini said.

Pastorini is mad at the way he feels he and his former NFL compatriots have been treated, and though Brees isn’t the true villain in this movie, he’s also an easy target for something he said two years ago.

Pastorini looks at the new CBA deal and figures out how much more money he’ll receive as a player who retired before 1993. He remembers how much he made when he was playing quarterback for the Oilers, Rams, Raiders and Eagles from 1971-82. Then, he thinks about the NFL Players Association and the NFL owners -- and the labor fight for which he couldn’t participate -- and his blood boils.

He gets mad, really mad, and he lets loose on a rant in which he places blame on both sides who he believes simply doesn’t care about the men who helped build the NFL into what it is today.

The $620 million “Legacy Fund” added to the new CBA for the players who retired before 1993 that will be used to increase pensions? And the $300 million in other benefits, including those for health? It’s simply not good enough for Pastorini. Not good enough for how much he says he sacrificed.

“I’m going to get an extra $1,000 a month. Big f------ deal,” the 62-year-old Pastorini told CBSSports.com recently. “I think it’s a travesty the way they treat the older players. I’m part of that group. They’re throwing us a bone with the $620 million. By the time they get to a new CBA after 10 years, they won’t have to worry about us pre-93er’s. It’s sad, but it’s their M.O. They want to wait for us to die.

“What they’re talking about now is to give us a bone and to shut us up. It’s just wrong. It’s damn wrong. And the players association is just as greedy as the owners are, if not more so. The players don’t go to bat for us, which makes us ashamed.”

And what Brees said in 2009 when discussing retired players who complained about their benefits -- as recounted here by CBSSports.com’s Mike Freeman -- really upsets Pastorini.

“There's some guys out there that have made bad business decisions,” Brees said then. “They took their pensions early because they never went out and got a job. They've had a couple divorces and they're making payments to this place and that place. And that's why they don't have money. And they're coming to us to basically say, 'Please make up for my bad judgment.' In that case, that's not our fault as players."

It might have seemed Brees was talking directly to Pastorini, who’s had to declare bankruptcy twice and has been divorced after ending his one-time Pro Bowl career. Clearly, Pastorini feels that Brees -- who is making $7.4 million this year and could be the next quarterback to win a $90 million contract -- made it personal.

“My first year’s salary was $25,000, then $30,000, then $35,000,” Pastorini said. “These guys make my first contract in a game. Look at (former NFLPA executive director) Gene Upshaw and what he left his wife when he died? How did he leave her $15 million? They’ve been screwing us from day one. My pension was $1,100 a month, then $1,200, then $1,400, and now it’ll be $1,750. No medical, no disability -- $1700 doesn’t even pay for my rent.”

Not surprisingly, the NFL has a slightly different opinion.

Said NFL spokesman Greg Aiello in a statement to CBSSports.com: “We respectfully disagree with Dan.” The NFLPA declined comment on the issue.

But let’s look at the other side of the story. Before the newest CBA, the Legacy Fund didn’t exist. The NFL and the NFLPA are both contributing at least $300 million over the next 10 years to add more money for former players. If it’s $1,000 more a month for a retiree, that’s $1,000 more than that former player had before.

And though Brees’ statement continues to backfire on him and the union, those close to Brees says he was one of the retired players’ biggest advocates in trying to give back to the players who came before him -- and to get everybody to understand the importance of doing so. Witness a radio interview he gave last April to XX 1090 in San Diego.

“I know that I’m fighting for so many people here, for former players in the form of improving their pensions and disability benefits to take care of those guys that built this game for us and future players too,” he said. “To be honest with you, this is one of those things that when a settlement is reached, that settlement is something that I’m probably never going to benefit from. It’s guys before me, it’s guys that are going to come after me. So for me, there’s so many guys that made sacrifices before us to make this game better.”

Dan Pastorini with Bum Phillips, Wade Phillips and Bob McNair (Getty). Pastorini (second from the left in the photo to the left) has good reason to want better medical benefits as well. With so much newly emerging information about chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Pastorini is worried that he’s going to be suffering from the dementia-like condition if he lives long enough.

“I’ve been to clinics. I’ve been put on vitamin regimens. I find myself not remembering people’s names,” said Pastorini, who said he sustained at least a dozen concussions when he played. “I’ll go to the kitchen for a cup of coffee, and I can’t remember why I went in there. It’s possible I have that. I won’t know until they cut my brain open.”

Pastorini isn’t alone in his thoughts. During Super Bowl week in Dallas, the NFL Alumni held a press conference that featured former players who were fighting -- and outspoken in their demand -- for better pension benefits and long-term health care.

But in reality, what can the NFL and the NFLPA say to fully satisfy the league’s alumni? Probably nothing, and to their credit, both sides feel like they’ve tried to improve the conditions for the retirees. But to Pastorini, it’s just not good enough.

“There’s a lot of greed in this business,” Pastorini said. “We’re the guys on the outside looking in, and we’re never going to be compensated for what we do. We built the game, and these guys should be kissing our ass now. But they’re not.”

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Posted on: June 4, 2011 3:24 pm
 

HOF RB John Henry Johnson, 81, dies

John Henry Johnson died Friday at the age of 81 (Getty).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Hall of Fame RB John Henry Johnson, who made four Pro Bowl teams during his 14-year pro career, died Friday at the age of 81.

As the San Jose Mercury News points out, Johnson teamed with RBs Joe “The Jet” Perry and Hugh McElhenny and QB Y.A. Tittle in San Francisco to form one of the most-impressive offensive backfields, nicknamed “The Million Dollar Backfield,” in league history.

Twice in his career, Johnson rushed for more than 1,000 yards, and he also helped the Lions win a NFL title in 1957.

He played in Canada in 1953, but he moved to San Francisco for the 49ers the next three seasons after that, and later in his career, Johnson played for the Lions, Steelers and Oilers.

"He was a very caring man," John L. Brown, Johnson's nephew, told the paper. "He always came back to the Pittsburg (High School) community and gave back. He also was a great family man who loved his five kids and many grandkids."

Said 49ers owner and co-chairman John York in a release: "I was deeply saddened to hear of John Henry Johnson's passing. He was a good friend, not only to my family and me, but the entire 49ers organization. As a member of ‘The Million Dollar Backfield’ he holds a cherished place in both 49ers and NFL history. His contributions to the game of football will be forever celebrated. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to the entire Johnson family."

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Posted on: March 19, 2011 2:41 pm
 

Former Oiler Drew Hill dies at 54

Posted by Andy Benoit

Former Oilers wide receiver Drew Hill has passed away at the age of 54. On Friday we wrote that Hill was hospitalized with a “brain-related condition.”

John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports that Hill died from two massive strokes.

Former teammate Warren Moon played with Hill during the Oilers’ run-and-shoot era.

“I’m shocked,” Moon said. “I can’t believe it. Drew meant so much to us as a player and as a person. I counted on him so much. He was the consummate professional. It’s just so sad.”

Hill spent five seasons with the Rams before joining the Oilers in 1985. He had never caught more than 19 passes in a season until he went to Houston, where he snagged 64 balls his first year.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: January 27, 2011 6:10 pm
Edited on: January 28, 2011 10:11 am
 

Fisher and Titans parting ways (UPDATED)

Jeff Fisher and Tennessee have parted ways (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

In a move that's had the NFL buzzing - so many questions: why now, what's next, how did this happen? - Jeff Fisher has coached his last game for the Titans.

The move is awfully surprising because owner Bud Adams essentially chose Fisher over troubled QB Vince Young in a showdown of the loser-must-leave-town following Tennessee’s 6-10 season. But according to SI.com's Don Banks, who broke the story, Fisher was troubled that he had to fire defensive coordinator and close friend Chuck Cecil while very well-respected defensive line coach Jim Washburn left for Philadelphia.

UPDATED (6:51 p.m.): Though Fisher’s team was going to have to play well in the final year of his contract in order for him to save his job, he’s been the respected Titans coach since 1994 when the club was known as the Houston Oilers. Since then, Fisher’s squads earned a 142-120 record with a combined six postseason berths, four division titles and a Super Bowl XXXIV appearance.

Plus, he had a Hall of Fame mustache and, most likely, he will have a few choices for head coaching spots after next season. Although some on Twitter have already begun to wonder if Fisher could be a candidate for the open Eagles defensive coordinator spot, that seems like a bit of a stretch at this point (though perhaps Washburn being there might be a positive).

But now the Fisher era in Tennessee is over. So, where will the Titans go for their next head coach? And for that matter, will Adams want Young to return?

As for the second question, it wouldn’t be a huge shock (certainly not as shocking as THIS news). Young is still only 27, and though his practice habits and work ethic have been questioned – as well as his attitude – he still could be a solid QB in the NFL for the next few seasons. Give him a coach with whom he can connect – that was a vital missing component in his relationship with Fisher – and maybe Young could be a top-10 guy in the league.

Plus, you know, Adams seems to have a soft spot for Young.

And I can’t leave without passing along this quote from Adams, courtesy of the Tennessean’s Jim Wyatt:

“Where did you hear that? I better check on that. I can’t talk about it now … I really can’t talk about it now because I don’t know what’s been said. I want to see what is going on.”

UPDATED (9:00 p.m.): The Titans and Fisher have released statements.

Statement from the Titans:

“We will be forever appreciative of Jeff Fisher’s leadership and accomplishments through his time with our franchise. We reached some of our greatest heights and experienced some unforgettable moments during his tenure.

“After the season was complete, we had numerous discussions on the direction of the team and were pleased that we were moving forward with Jeff at the helm. Since that time, it became evident that consensus was increasingly hard to find and reality wasn’t matching the vision we discussed. It is unfortunate that this decision is coming at this juncture, but we believe that we have reached the point where change is in the best interest of both parties.

“We will start the head coaching search tomorrow. We expect to talk to a broad and diverse group of candidates. We are confident the coaching pool still has a number of quality candidates that can lead our football team.”

Statement from Fisher:

“I want to thank Mr. Adams and the organization for a special 17 years. I can’t thank the fans enough for the support they showed us through the years; it has been a tremendous experience. We all did our very best and I think I can look back with fond memories and be very proud of what we accomplished. I want to wish the organization, the current players and the fans nothing but the best in the future.”

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com