Perhaps the best defensive mind in the NFL’s history is Wade Phillips. Yet, he sat on the open market for the entirety of the 2020 season after he parted ways with the Los Angeles Rams. Even with new coaching hires didn’t pick him up to be their defensive coordinator. But that could work to the Packers’ benefit.
Phillips has been coaching since the 1970’s, but we’re going to look at his last two stops in the NFL. After being hired by the Denver Broncos, Phillips turned their defense into the most lethal in the league. In 2015, the Broncos allowed a measly 283.1 yards of offense per game (fewest in NFL), 18.5 points per game (fourth-fewest) and forced 27 turnovers (seventh-most). Make no mistake about it, Phillips’ defense carried the Broncos to a Super Bowl 50 victory over the Carolina Panthers.
Then, there was his stint with the Rams from 2017-19. Even though the 2018 season wasn’t the greatest statistically for Los Angeles, they reached Super Bowl 53. In fact, the Rams actually limited them the New England Patriots to just six points for the majority of the game until surrendering a late touchdown in the 13-3 loss.
The Packers have premier defensive talent in edge rusher Za’Darius Smith and cornerback Jaire Alexander. But the defense as a whole needs a coordinator who knows what it takes to lead a team to the Super Bowl. Phillips checks those boxes and should be on top of Green Bay’s wishlist if they are definitely looking for Pettine’s successor.