Wade Phillips will not return as defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams in 2020.
The coach issued a farewell on Twitter Monday:
“I have been informed by the Rams that my contract will not be renewed. I want to thank them for the opportunity to be a part of their success the last 3 years. Most of all I want to thank the players who I loved working with. I still want to coach and feel I can contribute.”
Phillips, 72, was in his third year with the organization but his contract will not be renewed for a fourth. The Texas native’s NFL coaching career began in 1976 with the Houston Oilers. He has served as head coach of the Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys as well as an interim head coach for the New Orleans Saints. Of his 42 NFL seasons, 37 have been spent as either defensive coordinator or head coach for nine franchises.
Phillips’ son, Wes, still serves as the tight ends coach on Sean McVay’s staff with the Rams.
After going 13-3 during the 2018 NFL regular season, the Rams lost to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. The team signed quarterback Jared Goff to a longterm deal during the offseason after divvying out contract extensions to defensive tackle Aaron Donald, wide receiver Brandin Cooks and running back Todd Gurley the prior year; it was a group they considered to be the future nucleus of their team. Los Angeles also traded for star cornerback Jalen Ramsey after shipping Marcus Peters east to the Baltimore Ravens. The commitment led them down the path of a 9-7 campaign with no playoff berth to show for it.
Los Angeles actually improved in yards allowed per game (358.6 in 2018, 339.6 in 2019) and points allowed per game (24.0 in 2018, 22.8 in 2018). The issues were more focused on offense. The Rams went from one of the most potent offensive attacks in the league in 2018 (421.1 yards per game, 32.9 points per game) to a respectable, but not as efficient version in 2019 (374.9 yards per game, 24.6 points per game). When a season does not go as planned, there are always going to be changes.
Phillips acknowledged that he hopes to continue coaching in 2020. There haven’t yet been any names linked to the now vacant Rams defensive coordinator position.