With a loss tonight, the defending NFC champions will see their playoff chances for 2019 evaporate. Whenever the run ends for the L.A. Rams, a new question has emerged: Will defensive coordinator Wade Phillips be back in 2020?
Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio reported on Friday that he’s “hearing there’s a chance” Phillips won’t return. His contract expires after the current season.
Three years ago, Phillips’ contract with the Broncos expired. Instead of staying in Denver, Phillips joined Sean McVay and the Rams.
The Rams currently are 12th in total defense, allowing on average 336.2 yards per game, and 15th in points allowed, with 21.9 per game. But the Rams have at time collapsed defensively, with 55 points scored by the Buccaneers, 30 by the Seahawks, 45 by the Ravens, and 44 by the Cowboys.
“We’ve been inconsistent overall,” Phillips told reporters earlier this week. “We’ve had a couple clunkers and if I knew the reason, we wouldn’t do it. But, we have fought back every time. I think the attitude of our team — our defense and our whole group — we’re fighters and we’re going to fight back.”
So what’s causes the “clunkers” that come from inconsistency?
“Like I said, if I knew, I’d change it — or I’d change something going into it,” Phillips said. “We practiced well, we thought we were going to play well, and we didn’t. We thought we were going to coach well, and we didn’t. I’ve been in it a long time.”
Clunkers notwithstanding, the Rams currently are 8-6. In a currently top heavy NFC, however, that may not be good enough, even if the Rams win their last two.
“We’ve won nine games and been in the playoffs, we won 10 games and been in the playoffs,” Phillips said. “The playoff thing isn’t the important thing, [it is] is going out there and trying to win every game. That’s what we’re going to try to do. Those things will happen for you, or they won’t — whether you deserve it or not, I don’t know. We won nine in Atlanta and went into Green Bay and beat them — the first time they ever lost [at home] in the playoffs. It’s a fight every game. We’re in a tough, tough division. Two teams really stepped up in our division this year and we’ve got a chance to beat one of them that we lost to the first time.”
If the Rams don’t beat the 49ers, the Rams won’t have to worry about playing in Green Bay or anywhere else this year in the playoffs. They’ll be done, and then the question will be whether Phillips is done in L.A.