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2000 Season Big Test for Phillips
The Bills May Take A Step Back Next Year But Can The Coach Afford to?
by Bob Wensley
Feb. 16, 2000

Though Wade Phillips has had two successful seasons as head coach of the Buffalo Bills he still has many critics. With the "changing of the guard" that has taken place in the last couple weeks the upcoming season should provide a good measuring stick as to his head coaching abilities. When the Bills suit up this September they will be without Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, Thomas Smith, and inevitably Ruben Brown. Those players have provided experience and leadership in the past that their replacements can only dream of. If the Bills are to remain competitive in what will still be a very tough AFC east the coaching staff, lead by Coach Phillips, is going to have to step up big time.

This is Wade's third year as the head coach since being promoted from defensive coordinator. In 1998 after a 0-3 start the Bills finished 10-6. Good enough to earn them a Wild Card game in Miami in which they lost due to costly turnovers. In 1999 the team improved to 11-5 which was still only good enough for a wild Card game on the road, this time in Nashville, where they lost on a trick play.

Overall an 31-11 regular season record in his first two years with the Bills looks pretty impressive. But to satisfy the critics let set up a score card for the head coach. How about something like this; If the Bills win 9 or more games in 2000 I'd say Wade has done a great job. If the Bills win 8 games we'll rate him as a good Head coach. Maybe 7 Bills victories would make him average. With 6 wins it would be a fair job at best, with 5 wins or less Ted Cotrell deserves his shot at Head Coach.

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