Another member of the Houston Texans goes down today, but it is not a player. It is defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, and no, he is not injured. Coach Phillips is just taking a 7-10 day medical leave to deal with a kidney issue that he will have surgically dealt with. Phillips said it is not life threatening and that he feels fine and, according to him, it is not cancerous. He said he will feel better after the procedure.
“I feel good,” Phillips said in an Associated Press interview. “I don’t have any physical problems right now, so if I get this done, this procedure that I’m doing, then I’ll be fine.”
As usual in a “next man up” type of order, Phillips’ absence leaves fans to wonder who is next in command, the man who take over during Wade’s absence, and that man is no other than Coach Phillips’ right hand man, linebackers coach Reggie Herring. Herring was Phillips’ coach back when he was the head coach in Dallas, Phillips brought him aboard the Texans’ staff back in January, so Coach Herring is more than qualified to take over now that he’s been brought along with Phillips from his former staff in Dallas.
Head coach Gary Kubiak said that Herring is ready to take over, he has called plays before and knows exactly what to do in Phillips’ absence, nothing will change as far as the system goes,
“At the end of the day I’m not Wade Phillips,” Herring said in the AP interview, “but it’s Wade Phillips’ system. It’s our calls. It’s what the players know.”
Despite the week to ten-day range of absence, Phillips will miss both the game versus Carolina and the Thursday night game versus Indianapolis, but hopefully return in time for the last game against Tennessee, and the playoffs. In his absence, a north and south transition for the players will take place, Phillips, a cool and calm coach is the antithesis of Herring who works up a sweat and is usually barking orders, but hopefully this late in the season, the players have adjusted to his coaching style.
“I feel very confident about this,” Herring said. “We’re all in a good frame of mind right now. We have a lot of things to finish, home-field advantage. We have a lot to play for right now.
“Players have shown a lot of character and pride,” he said. “I don’t see any letdown in these guys. At the end of the day, Wade will be with us every snap. This is his system, his defense and we’ll move on.”
- Richard Perez