Who's the Defensive MVP so far in the NFL? Is it San Francisco LB Patrick Willis? Is it Dallas OLB Demarcus Ware? Well, I'm gonna throw another name in the hat: Houston defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. I know a lot of you are collectively saying "Are you serious?". But if you look at the rise of the Houston Texans defense, then you would understand.
Last year, the Houston Texans were a laughing stock on defense. They couldn't tackle, make plays or do anything to help their offense. As a result of that, QB Matt Schuab, RB Arian Foster and crew had to outscore teams to win. And as a lot of people know, they didn't make the playoffs playing that style. As a result of the that, the defensive coordinator was fired and former Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips was brought in.
Some were trying to figure out how his 3-4 scheme would work in Houston, a team that has run a 4-3 for its entire existence. Those "some" included me as well. I was wondering how they would use Mario Williams. Well, we see what has been created by one of the best defensive minds in football. Wade has taken basically the same parts from last year, give or take 2 or 3 players, and made them the third best defense in the NFL and that's huge. Last year they were 30th in total defense.
Another telling stat of the Phillips effect is the pass defense. Last year, CB Kareem Jackson was getting torched. It seemed like he had a big bullseye on his back and teams were attacking him religiously. But he wasn't the only problem. The pass defense for this team was last in the NFL. Fast forward to this year and the Texans have added corner Jonathan Joseph from Cincinnati and they also added S Danieal Manning from Chicago. This pass defense is now ranked fifth against the pass. That's a tremendous improvement.
Wade has proven that not only are players important, but coaches are just as important. Now he does have some new challenges ahead of him with the loss of Williams and Manning, but I'm sure Phillips will find a way. Phillips was ridiculed a lot as a head coach, but his defensive mind should never be questioned. Wade Phillips is the Most Valuable Defensive Person in the NFL.