Wade Phillips: Texans Coordinator Takes Leave of Absence at Best Possible Time

Wes ODonnellFeatured ColumnistDecember 14, 2011

The Houston Texans are truly plagued by the injury bug more than any other club in the league right now.

As if it isn't bad enough that the first playoff team in Texans franchise history already lost Andre Johnson, Mario Williams, Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart for extended periods of time (or the entire season, in most cases), they now have one more to add to the list.

Star defensive coordinator Wade Phillips (and, yes, he is a star) will miss the next two games as he undergoes a medical procedure according to Mark Berman of Fox26:

Houston Chronicle beat writer John McClain backs up the story and reports that linebackers coach Reggie Herring will call the defense in his stead.

Phillips has transformed one of the league's most dismal units into one of its best. For all his shortcomings as a head coach, there is no denying that Phillips is a brilliant defensive coordinator.

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 16: Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips of the Houston Texans looks from the sidelines against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 16, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens won 29-14.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Ima
Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Texans rank third in the league against the pass, fourth in the league against the run and have done majority of their work without their best player, Mario Williams. On top of that, the defense has had to carry an offense devastated by injury and currently being lead by third-string quarterback T.J. Yates.

We all wish Phillips the best in his recovery and—make no mistake about it—the Texans eyed this two-game stretch as the ideal time for the coordinator to do what he needs to do.

Houston has already clinched the AFC South but are in the hunt for the No. 1 overall seed with four other teams. The two games Phillips will miss are a home game against the Carolina Panthers and a road game against the Indianapolis Colts.

No game is a "gimme" in the NFL, but the Texans couldn't ask for a better opportunity to be without their coordinator than a visit from a rookie quarterback and a road game against the league's worst team.

The Texans actually hold the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed right now because of their better conference record.

Things will be different without Wade Phillips calling the shots, but this is the best opportunity they'll ever have to do it without him. If all goes well, he'll be back on the sideline as the Texans close the season as possibly the No. 1 seed in the AFC.