Wade Phillips can hardly get any love these days, it seems. His regular season record goes only so far in convincing media, local and national, that he belongs in the NFL as a head coach. An 0-4 career record in the playoffs, I suppose, can sometimes have such an effect. But talk to the Dallas Cowboys themselves and they'll agree: they love him.
This might not be a mere company line; because the San Diego Chargers feel the same way. Phillips served as San Diego's defensive coordinator from 2004-2006 and, according to an article in today's San Diego Union Tribune (Thanks to DMN for the find), he is remembered more than a little fondly by his players.
“Love him,” said lineman Jacques Cesaire in the report. “Love him.”
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“I love Wade,” added Shawne Merriman. “Love and respect.”
The feeling, it seems, was unanimous, with players gushing about the positive effect Phillips had on their individual careers, as well as the Chargers franchise.
“You’re seeing the legacy of what Wade created here,” said defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. “It’s attack, attack, attack. He was an aggressive signal-caller.”
Indeed, it was Phillips who installed the 3-4 in San Diego, an alignment that they've used with significant success since his departure. Cornerback Quentin Jammer said, “Just the fact that we play the 3-4, that’s Wade. It took us a while to catch on, but once we did, it was good for us. He had us playing well.”
Phillips' legacy though, goes beyond the 3-4 defense.
“He was a player’s coach; guys loved to play for him,” said linebacker Stephen Cooper. “You always wanted to play at a high level because he put a lot of time and effort into getting us ready for games. Whenever you did something wrong, you felt you let him down.”