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2011 PFW/PFWA awards

Phillips is Assistant Coach of the Year

2011 PFW/PFWA awards

PFW/PFWA 2011 All-NFL team

Posted Jan. 16, 2012 @ 9:58 a.m.

Rodgers earns PFW/PFWA MVP honors

Posted Jan. 16, 2012 @ 11:10 a.m.

Suggs is Defensive Player of the Year

Posted Jan. 16, 2012 @ 12:15 p.m.

Jim Harbaugh is Coach of the Year

Posted Jan. 16, 2012 @ 1:03 p.m.

2011 All-AFC team

Posted Jan. 17, 2012 @ 4:36 p.m.

2011 All-NFC team

Posted Jan. 17, 2012 @ 4:45 p.m.

Newton chosen as Rookie of the Year

Posted Jan. 18, 2012 @ 12:01 p.m.

Aldon Smith wins Defensive Rookie of the Year

Posted Jan. 18, 2012 @ 12:59 p.m.

2011 All-Rookie team

Posted Jan. 18, 2012 @ 11:06 a.m.

Akers, Lee win PFW's Golden Toe Award

Posted Jan. 17, 2012 @ 12:42 p.m.

Stafford wins Comeback Player of the Year honors

Posted Jan. 17, 2012 @ 11 a.m.

Cruz named 2011's Most Improved Player

Posted Jan. 17, 2012 @ 12:29 p.m.

49ers' Baalke named Executive of the Year

Posted Jan. 17, 2012 @ 6:24 p.m.

About the Author

Recent posts by Arthur Arkush

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Posted Jan. 18, 2012 @ 5:18 p.m. ET
By Arthur Arkush

Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips can't quite put his finger on it. Maybe it's luck. Certainly his experience helps. All he knows is that whenever he gets his hands on a new defense, success follows — immediately.

Owner Bob McNair and head coach Gary Kubiak definitely were aware of Phillips' mystique when they hired him shortly after Houston's woeful 2010 campaign ended. Phillips' previous four stops as a defensive coordinator, all with teams that had missed out on the postseason the year prior to his arrival, became playoff teams in his first season.

But this was a different kind of challenge. Phillips would have to transition the Texans from a 4-3 to a 3-4. He would have to plug in three new starters on "D." Several players had to learn new positions. Oh, yeah, all of this would have to occur in a lockout-shortened offseason.

"We come in with a good philosophy," Phillips, the 2011 Pro Football Weekly/PFWA Assistant Coach of the Year, told PFW. "We feel like we can get everyone better — no matter who it is.

"This year, because of the shortened offseason, we put things in slowly. Once the players felt comfortable, we gave them a little more. If it was too much, we scaled things back."

Phillips was instrumental in helping GM Rick Smith target the right players for his scheme in the draft and free agency. Houston's draft haul, which included first-round DE J.J. Watt and second-round OLB Brooks Reed, along with free-agent pickups like CB Johnathan Joseph and FS Danieal Manning, have fit Phillips' defense like a glove.

"That's the first thing (knowing what the players can do). Nose guards Shaun Cody and Earl Mitchell play the same position; they just play it differently. 

"We try and play to each player's strengths. If a guy plays 'man' well, we're going to play mostly 'man.' ... We stunt our ends more in this defense because of the type of players they are."

After Houston surrendered 376.9 yards per game in a 6-10 campaign in 2010, Phillips' unit allowed 285.7 this season en route to the Texans' 10-6 finish and the first postseason berth in franchise history. The "D" didn't miss a beat after losing its best player, OLB Mario Williams, to a season-ending pectoral injury in Week Five.

But when Phillips missed two games late in the season to have his kidney and gallbladder operated on, the defense couldn't get off the field in critical moments.

"It's tough to watch and feel like you have some control but not have any," he said. "... I'm getting stronger and stronger, though. ... I really feel good when we're winning."

Although Phillips enjoys the accolades, he consistently deflects praise to his players and coaching staff. "Thanks for this honor. But please understand it's not about me."

 

ALL-TIME WINNERS

Assistant Coach of the Year

2011   Wade Phillips / Hou.
2010   Marty Mornhinweg / Phil.
2009   Mike Zimmer / Cin.
2008   Dick LeBeau / Pitt.
2007   Jason Garrett / Dall.
2006   Rex Ryan / Balt.
2005   Ron Rivera / Chi.
2004   Dick LeBeau / Pitt.
2003   Romeo Crennel / N.E.
2002   Monte Kiffin / T.B.
2001   Mike Mularkey / Pitt.
2000   Marvin Lewis / Balt.
1999   Dom Capers / Jax.
1998   Brian Billick / Minn.
1997   John Fox / N.Y.G.
1996   Dave Campo / Dall.
1995   Pete Carroll / S.F.
1994   Dom Capers / Pitt.
1993   Ray Rhodes / G.B.

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