Monday’s Drool: Wade Phillips Once Had a Worse Start

Good golly, Wade. Good golly.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a post describing why Denver and Buffalo fired Wade Phillips after the 1994 and 2000 seasons, respectively. The summary:

The general consensus on Phillips throughout his career: nice guy, overly optimistic, not enough attention to detail, not enough attention to special teams, and too loyal to assistant coaches.

In the second of those two stops, Phillips’ Buffalo team in 1998 rebounded from a 1-3 start to finish at 10-6.

But that wasn’t the worst start Phillips ever had. In his second and final season in Denver, his talented Broncos team started at 1-5, losing three games to division rivals in the old AFC West.

Denver’s fifth loss of the season was on a Monday Night Football game, when the 1-4 Broncos fell to the 3-2 Chiefs on a late touchdown pass from Joe Montana to Willie Davis. It was a classic game that has nothing more than a coincidental relationship to the 4-2 Giants visiting the 1-4 Cowboys next Monday night.

But consider the excerpt from the article below, substituting the Cowboys for the Broncos where appropriate:

Ever since they were stunned in the opener by the San Diego Chargers, the Denver Broncos have been trying to turn around their season. They are dizzy from trying to turn around their season.

Despite all their attempts to pull themselves out of it, the Broncos are in the same place they were after that sunny day in September. The view from last place in the AFC West looks much the same as it did after a 37-34 loss to the Chargers.

Where do the Broncos (1-5) go from here? You can bet that in the back of coach Wade Phillips’ mind the possibility of an extended winning streak lurks. That is how he thinks, how he always has thought. The Broncos play the Chargers today in Jack Murphy Stadium, and Phillips is positive about one thing.

“The only thing I can say is that we’re not going to win 12 games,” he said. “That’s all I can say.”

For the rest of the Broncos, there would seem to be the matter of playing for pride and poise, to steal a phrase. They have lost five of their first six games, and although they have gone into each game with the feeling they had a good chance, there has been nothing that made them positive they were going to win.

So here’s a glass-might-have-some-water-in-it observation: Phillips’ 1-3 team in Buffalo rebounded to go 10-6 and make the playoffs. His 1-5 Denver team won six of seven to manage a 7-9 record. Thus, a return to mediocrity might be possible.

Oh, good. This might be an 8-8 football team when all is said and done.

* * *

Another of Wade’s classic quotes from his Denver era: “There’s nothing to lose, but the ballgame.”

Sanity? Money? Hair?

I don’t have any more hair. Never mind.


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