For the fourth time in his career, and second time as a Houston Texan, Wade Phillips is an interim head coach. And aside from wanting a victory, he wants his team to relax a little.
"Loosen up and play a little better than we have," Phillips said in a Monday afternoon press conference at Reliant Stadium. "The team's a little bit uptight to me and you say, 'Well, now, you're not going to have any discipline.' But I think you can loosen up a little bit."
Gary Kubiak was fired Friday as the team's head coach, and Phillips was named the interim. He filled the same role in Weeks 10 and 11 after Kubiak missed time because of a mini-stroke. Phillips was an
interim head coach for the final three games of Atlanta's 2003 season, and the last four games of the 1985 season for New Orleans. The team's defensive coordinator said he'll now have a role in all three phases of the team.
"I'm going to try to influence some things offensively that I feel can help us," Phillips said. "I'm not going to take over the offense. I'll probably delegate more duties defensively. Also, I have to help with special teams. I'm going to try to be a well-rounded head coach. I think that's what the head coach does is try to be involved in all aspects of the game. And I've done that."
Phillips said he planned on meeting with offensive coordinator Rick Dennison on Monday afternoon to
discuss a variety of things, including play-calling. But Phillips also made it clear that there were shifts in duties across the staff.
"I've talked to the coaches about what specifics I would like them to do offensively and defensively and special teams wise," Phillips said.
Ultimately, he said the Texans need to clear their collective minds a bit.
"All of the pressure has been on them," Phillips said. "They put on themselves. We put it on ourselves rightfully so. We've just got to go play now. We've got to go play and play as hard as we can."
The players have Tuesday off, but will re-group for practice on Wednesday at the Houston Methodist Training Center.