3 and Out: Phillips' 1st day as interim HC
One of the changes that will take place on Sunday under interim coach Wade Phillips is that defensive backs coach Vance Joseph will make the defensive play calls for the Texans.
But it might not be long before Joseph is making the calls for his own defense as a defensive coordinator or even a head coach in the NFL.
“He’s obviously a sharp guy,” Phillips said. “I think he communicates well with people. He understands the pass game really well. So I think that’s certainly a key in our league with the way they throw the ball.”
With Phillips’ taking over the head coaching duties in the wake of Gary Kubiak’s firing, Phillips will relinquish his role as defensive play-caller. Joseph has had input before but this will be his first time making all the play calls, although he’ll have some help from Phillips.
The players who have played for Joseph during his stint with the Texans are excited to see their 41-year-old coach to get his opportunity.
“Coach Vance has been a great help to me personally on and off the field,” cornerback Kareem Jackson said. “He’s helped me progress my game tremendously, technique-wise, recognizing splits, formations, the whole nine. I’m excited about it. His role is expanding more. He’s going to be calling it. I know everybody in the secondary, we’re definitely excited about it. Hopefully, we’ll definitely go out and make some plays for him.”
Joseph has been with the Texans since 2011 but began his coaching career at his alma mater, Colorado, in 1999. At Colorado, he played quarterback before switching to cornerback in the NFL. He had two interceptions in 17 career games.
But his coaching career in the NFL is setting up to be much more prolific than his playing career ever was.
Jackson, who was a first round pick in 2010, said he thinks Joseph has what it takes to be a defensive coordinator and even a head coach in the NFL. And he’s not the only one. Phillips said Joseph has what it takes to be a DC and dime package safety Eddie Pleasant, in his second season with the Texans, agreed.
“Yes sir,” Pleasant said. “He’s the best individual coach I’ve ever had. Not to knock any coach that I’ve had but he does a great job. When I came in as a rookie, the way he broke stuff down to us. He did a great job and I think he’s going to do a great job being a D coordinator for this team.”
Joseph has coached in the NFL since 2005, when he joined the 49ers as an assistant secondary coach. He held the position of defensive backs coach from 2006-2010 before he joined the Texans.
Since joining the Texans in 2011, the Texans have ranked third in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game with 207.7 and held opponents to a league-low 52.5 completion percentage.
This year, even as the Texans have stumbled to a 2-11 record, the Texans have the second-ranked passing defense in the NFL behind only the 11-2 Seahawks. The Texans are giving up just 183.6 passing yards per game in 2013.
What makes Joseph such a good coach and teacher is his ability to explain everything, even the little things, to put his players in a position to be instinctual during games.
“Yeah, definitely. Like I said, he does a great job at making us pay attention to the little details,” Jackson said. “He definitely instills that in us. He talks about it day-in and day-out. The way he explains things definitely makes it a lot easier for us to recognize things out on the field. It definitely helps out tremendously on Sundays.”