What I learned from Wade Phillips
Crazy game last night huh?
I wasn’t watching, but my Twitter timeline exploded while I was writing this post, so I assume things were pretty exciting.
Wade Phillips has had the luxury of working with some tremendous players during his long career, but anyone who’s ever coached before can tell you, working with talented players isn’t always the cakewalk it’s made out to be.
Yet, somehow, a Wade Phillips-led defense always seems to meet or even exceed expectations.
In a world where it’s news when a team performs exactly the way they’re supposed to, that’s a big deal.
So what’s his secret plan, his big idea that no one has ever thought of before?
Build your scheme around your the strengths of your players, and then let them go play football.
It’s amazing how often people forget that football isn’t played on the chalkboard, and that a “bad” play call can succeed if your guy is better than the other team’s guy.
It’s a player’s game first and foremost.
Wade Phillips starts with a basic framework, a few base fronts that he can use against just about anything, and lets his players go play and pursue the football.
It sounds like a cliche, but if you look at this year’s Super Bowl film, you won’t see a lot of deception from the Denver Defense. For the most part, what you see is what you get.
Now, there were definitely a few wrinkles throw in to give Cam Newton some confusion at certain points in the game, but those disguised coverages were made even more effective because of how rare they were.
The thing about keeping it simple is that once you’ve established that basic, one-size-fits-all framework in your scheme, you have a lot of time to perfect all kinds of wrinkles to complement it, and your team becomes more deadly overall.
Specifically, just like last year with New England’s incredible performance in the Super Bowl, Denver made it really simple for the guys up front. Carolina came out with all kinds of shifts, motions, unbalanced line formations, and more, but for the most part, very little changed for the guys up front.
But how exactly did they do it?