LA Rams fire veteran defensive co-ordinator Wade Phillips
Los Angeles Rams defensive co-ordinator Wade Phillips watches as they play the Dallas Cowboys in an NFL football game in Dallas on Dec. 15, 2019. (AP / Michael Ainsworth)
THOUSAND OAKS, CALIF. -- Veteran defensive co-ordinator Wade Phillips has been fired by the Los Angeles Rams after three winning seasons.
Phillips announced Monday on Twitter that the Rams are not renewing his contract. The 72-year-old says he wants to stay in coaching.
Phillips teamed up on the Rams in 2017 with Sean McVay, who became the youngest head coach in modern NFL history. Phillips provided leadership and veteran perspective to McVay while running a defence that backstopped the Rams to 33 regular-season victories, two NFC West titles and two playoff berths in three seasons.
The Rams won the NFC championship last season, and Phillips' defence held New England to 13 points in the lowest-scoring Super Bowl ever. But McVay's offence scored only three points against the Patriots, and its fall from the league's elite continued this season.
Phillips' defence remained largely solid this season, as it had been for his entire tenure in Los Angeles. Led by Aaron Donald, the Rams finished near the middle of the league this season in points and yards allowed, but the defence's bad games were glaring debacles that inflated the statistics of an otherwise above-average unit.
Phillips has coached in the NFL during every season but one since 1976, working for 11 franchises. He was a head coach at Denver, Buffalo, Dallas, New Orleans, Atlanta and Houston.
He co-ordinated the defence with which the Broncos won the Super Bowl four years ago.
The Rams' defence consistently outplayed McVay's offence this season, but its bad games were stinkers. Los Angeles gave up a combined 144 points in losses to Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Dallas while the Rams missed the playoffs by one game.
"I want to thank them for the opportunity to be a part of their success the last three years," Phillips wrote. "Most of all I want to thank the players who I loved working with. I still want to coach and feel I can contribute."