When he speaks to the media, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips usually begins with an opening statement.
Thursday’s press conference was no different, as Phillips commenced by saying how good it was to have defensive tackle Aaron Donald back, then praised quarterback Kirk Cousins for his accomplishments.
But then, Phillips started talking about Washington’s tight ends. Led by Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis, the group is one of the best in the league, to be sure. But there’s one person in particular Phillips singled out when discussing the position.
“We’re playing a team that’s a really sound offensive team that’s got a lot of talent with a great tight end coach, so I’m worried about that,” Phillips said with a laugh.
That coach is Phillips’ son, Wes. He’s been Washington’s tight ends coach since 2014, but before that worked with his father in Dallas. The younger Phillips is a third-generation NFL coach, as Wade's father, Bum, was also a legendary head coach in the league. It’s the first time father and son have coached on opposite sidelines in a regular-season game, and Los Angeles’ defensive coordinator doesn’t necessarily see himself as going against his son, regardless.
“Of course we don’t go against each other, the players are playing against each other,” Phillips said. “But, I know a lot of the guys on their staff and [Washington asst. head coach/offensive line coach] Bill Callahan is a great offensive coach. They’ve got a great offensive line coach. [Washington defensive coordinator Greg] Manusky and I have coached together. We’re good buddies, so they’ve got some really great coaches.”
But there was a clear sense of fatherly love and pride when Phillips spoke of his son on Thursday.
“You know, I’m proud of my son, obviously. I think he’ a great coach,” Phillips said. “He does a great job with those guys, so it’ll be a challenge.”
And Phillips is well aware of the talented players his son coaches. He’s well aware of Reed’s special ability on the field, and noted how Los Angeles will have to do a better job of covering tight ends this week.
“Their tight ends will be a challenge for us and we didn’t do great against tight ends last week, so that’s a concern,” Phillips said. “They’ve got some really good players, so it’s going to be a battle for us.”