The entire Denver Broncos organization and it's fans held their collective breath last Sunday, when defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was carted off the field and rushed to the hospital during the team's bout with the San Diego Chargers.
On a Bradley Roby pick-six midway through the second quarter, Chargers running back Melvin Gordon went careening out of bounds and into the 69-year-old defensive coach. Phillips hit his head on the ground and the replay left Broncos Country in a knot of worry.
Phillips was released from the hospital later that night with a fractured rib.
“It wasn’t a collision, the guy ran over me (laughs)," Phillips said Thursday. "I said if I would like to go out, I would like to go out on an interception for a touchdown (laughs). We were [away from] the sideline. I wasn’t in the white area. When Roby intercepted, [OLB] Von [Miller] pushed the guy so the guy kind of accelerated, there were three of us standing there none of us were able to move at all and [if] he hit one or the other guy it would have been the same kind of collision.”
Linebackers coach Reggie Herring finished the game as Denver's defensive play-caller and earned a game ball following the victory. Looking ahead to Week 9's trip to the Black Hole, Phillips is considering coaching from the box.
"I am thinking about being in the box this week because I am in some pain and I really don’t want to get hit again, certainly," Phillips said. "I did go in the box when I was with ‘Kubes’ [Head Coach Gary Kubiak] in 2011 when they took my kidney and my gall bladder out. I went upstairs so this might be another instance. I might do that.”
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1724089-inside-the-matchup-bronco... There is a downside to coaching in the box. It makes it more difficult to communicate directly with the players on the sideline. Phillips would still have access to linebacker Brandon Marshall, who has the radio receiver in his helmet.
“I’ve been on the sideline almost for all but one, that one game in Houston," Phillips said. "My first five years I was in the press box, but I wasn’t a coordinator. It’s clear up there. It is obviously quiet and you can see well. I pretty well know what’s going on the field anyway, but you can’t communicate with the players as well. Now they have made it where you can communicate from the box to the signal caller so that makes it easier, too. That’s an important thing. Rather than relaying it down and then somebody else relaying it to the signal caller, I can go straight to him so it makes it easier for the guy and the box. They changed that, which is better than the last time I was in the box.”
Wherever Phillips chooses to coach on Sunday night, the Broncos defense will face one of it's stiffest tests of the season. The Oakland Raiders are the No. 5 offense, averaging almost 27 points per game.
The Broncos faced the No. 1 and No. 2 scoring offenses in consecutive weeks — Atlanta in Week 5 and San Diego in Week 6, respectively — and lost both games. The Broncos redeemed themselves in Week 8, beating the Chargers at Mile High.
But the Denver defense has struggled against elite offenses thus far. However, they've rebounded over the last couple of weeks. We'll see if they can keep their streak of dominance alive in Oakland.
Update: NFL Network's James Palmer has reported that Phillips will coach from the box on Sunday Night.
Chad Jensen is the Publisher of Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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