Browns Rumors: Wade Phillips Targeted for DC After Kevin Stefanski Hire

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IIIJanuary 14, 2020

FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2019, file photo, Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips watches as they play the Dallas Cowboys in an NFL football game in Dallas. Veteran defensive coordinator Wade Phillips has been fired by the Los Angeles Rams after three winning seasons. Phillips announced Monday, Jan. 6, 2020, on Twitter that the Rams are not renewing his contract. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth, File)
Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

Wade Phillips might serve as a defensive coordinator and coach for his 11th NFL team.  

According to Cleveland.com's Mary Kay Cabot, the 72-year-old who most recently served as the Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator is among those being considered to join the Cleveland Browns for newly hired head coach Kevin Stefanski.

Phillips is available because the Rams decided not to renew his contract following L.A.'s 9-7 2019 campaign. The move was confirmed by Phillips in a Jan. 6 tweet that also stated, "I still want to coach and feel I can contribute."

Steve Wilks is still listed as the Browns defensive coordinator. 

Cabot reported Sunday that Browns special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will be retained, so it's possible Wilks stays, as well. 

"Wilks was set to be Stefanski's defensive coordinator if he got the Browns job last year, a league source said," Cabot added. "He deserves consideration again this year given all the injuries and adversity on his defense in 2019."

Cleveland opted to promote offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens to head coach last year, and Kitchens was fired after leading the team to an underwhelming 6-10 mark. The Browns ranked seventh in passing defense but 22nd in total defense and 30th in rushing defense under Wilks.

Starting cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams missed four games apiece early in the season with hamstring injuries, then defensive end Myles Garrett was suspended indefinitely after swinging a helmet at Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph's unprotected head on Nov. 14. 

Should Cleveland decide to move on from Wilks despite those limitations, Phillips has more than proved his worth over the years. His experience as a defensive coordinator dates back to 1981, and he recently helped the Rams to Super Bowl LIII with the likes of back-to-back reigning Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald.

Phillips also won Super Bowl 50 as the Denver Broncos defensive coordinator, and his unit featured Super Bowl MVP linebacker Von Miller. 

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