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Wade Phillips returns to Denver this weekend and several


Broncos can’t wait to hug it out with their former defensive coordinator.Phillips was the Broncos’ beloved bandmaster when they were riding firetrucks in a downtown parade and Von Miller was showing off the Super Bowl trophy 2陆 years ago.“Coach Phillips is football royalty  https://www.broncosfanstore.com/Tom-Jackson-Jersey ,” a man for whom “the moments were never too big and the moments were never too small,” said Miller, who recalled Phillips depressurizing his defense before Super Bowl 50 by declaring: “All the mistakes are on me and you can just go out there and play.”“It just shows you what type of coach that he is,” Miller said. “He’s dope.”Now 71, Phillips is leading a revitalized Rams defense for 32-year-old Los Angeles head coach Sean McVay, who brings a 5-0 team to Denver on Sunday to face the reeling Broncos (2-3).This game was supposed to mark Aqib Talib‘s return, too. But the star cornerback is sidelined with an ankle injury, which bums out Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr.“Definitely. You love having that competition,” Harris said. “He’s going to talk mess to me if we lose, and if we win, then I’m definitely hollering at him.”Harris is certainly embracing Phillips, win or lose.“Wade, he just gave you so much confidence in yourself. I’ll never forget, I had one bad game, and he’s just, ‘You’re the best. You’re going to get it next week. I’m ready for you next week. I’ve got a big game plan for you to make plays next week,'” Harris recounted. “He just knows how to lift you up and brings your potential out of you.”The Broncos didn’t renew Phillips’ contract after the 2016 season and McVay was thrilled to hire him shortly after becoming the youngest head coach in modern NFL history.“You’re probably going to have a tough time finding anyone that doesn’t really like him and enjoy being around Wade,” McVay said. “He’s got a great way about himself, a great feel for this game Dennis Smith Jersey , he doesn’t take himself too seriously. He’s all about making sure that he listens to people, wants to try and put players in great spots.”Denver’s defenders still talk glowingly about their time with Phillips.“He’s an old guy, but he acts young,” Harris said. “He tries to be hip with everything and he just loves the game. It’s not hard to play for a coach that really loves the game, really wants to win.”Broncos coach Vance Joseph called Phillips “my football father,” a football genius and a great man.“He was a killer on Sundays,” Joseph said. “He had great timing with his calls and he was going to be aggressive. I’m watching this defense and it’s Wade Phillips.”Phillips, who began his NFL coaching career as an assistant for his father, Bum, in Houston in 1969, is now doling out praise and pointers with his 10th NFL franchise.“Man, Wade’s been around since dinosaurs have been here,” Broncos linebacker Shane Ray said. “So, I think he’s just got that feel.”Other subplots as the Broncos aim for their first win over the Rams since 2002:WOODS’ WOESPhillips’ protege, Joe Woods, hasn’t enjoyed nearly the same success since replacing him last season, and the situation is quickly becoming dire.The Broncos, who are 7-14 since Phillips’ departure, have surrendered 958 yards the last two weeks Terrell Davis Color Rush Jersey , but Joseph said he won’t be taking over the play-calling duties Sunday.“Joe’s the coordinator,” Joseph said. “So, he’s calling the plays.”CHANGES PROMISEDJoseph said he’d shake things up after Denver’s demoralizing 34-16 loss to the Jets, but declined to bench struggling cornerback Bradley Roby, who allowed three long touchdowns and failed to follow proper protocol for calling in sick Monday.One change that might occur is Max Garcia replacing right guard Connor McGovern, but it appears left tackle Garett Bolles‘ job is safe despite being unable to break his holding habit.Poor protection has contributed to QB Case Keenum rushing his mechanics. He had just five TD passes, has already tied last year’s seven interceptions and is on pace for 42 sacks, about double the number he had in Minnesota last season.SNOW SHOWThe Rams are aware of the snow in the forecast for Denver this weekend 鈥?“Hopefully it slows them down a little bit,” Broncos GM John Elway said 鈥?but McVay isn’t worried about his warm-weather team’s ability to handle it.“Out here in Southern California, unless we want to go to an ice rink, I don’t think we can mimic and emulate that,” McVay said.RICKETY RAMSReceivers Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp both left their last game with head injuries, but are expected to play as the Rams seek their first 6-0 start since 2001.All-Pro kicker Greg Zuerlein has a groin injury, which means Cairo Santos will kick in Denver. Santos made both of his field-goal attempts in Seattle last week, including the winner with 6:05 to play, but also missed an extra point.___AP Sports Writer Greg Beacham contributed.___ ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Kirk Cousins was the unequivocal jewel of this year’s free agent quarterback class in just about everyone’s mind but John Elway’s.”We got our guy,” the Denver Broncos general manager said Friday at Case Keenum’s introductory news conference. ”We got the guy that was our target.”Even though Keenum was No. 1 in Elway’s eyes, he was viewed over the last several weeks as something of a runner-up even in the Broncos locker room.Several stars such as Von Miller https://www.broncosfanstore.com/Steve-Atwater-Jersey , Brandon Marshall and Emmanuel Sanders campaigned for Cousins, issuing public pleas for the ex-Washington QB who ultimately signed a three-year, $84 million deal with Minnesota.Keenum, who led the Vikings to the NFC championship game after replacing an injured Sam Bradford and going 11-3, said his phone has ”been blowing up” with congratulatory texts from his new teammates – Miller’s was the first – and he brushed aside all that cajoling of Cousins, too.”I applaud those guys for wanting to make their team better,” Keenum said after signing his two-year, $36 million deal that includes $25 million in guarantees. ”I want guys that want their team to be great, that want to do everything they can to help the team. So, no, it’s not awkward to me at all.”Neither will it be clumsy, Keenum insisted, if Elway decides to use the fifth overall pick in next month’s NFL draft on another quarterback.This year’s class is unusually deep at quarterback with as many as six teams expected to use first-round picks on passers, and Elway has a high draft pick for the first time since selecting Miller at No. 2 in 2011.”I’ve been around long enough to know that anything is a possibility in this league. I was a starting quarterback when a team drafted somebody No. 1 overall and traded a bunch of draft picks. I know how that goes,” Keenum said, recalling when the Rams selected Jared Goff in 2016.”I know that my teammates, my coaches and the front office – everyone – is doing everything they possibly can to be the best Denver Broncos that we can possibly be. For me, it doesn’t change my mindset. It really doesn’t.”Elway spent the week scoping out QB prospects Baker Mayfield and Josh Rosen during their pro days and issued invitations to Sam Darnold and Mayfield for interviews at team headquarters in the coming weeks.Yet, landing Keenum gives Elway the flexibility to draft a blue chip prospect such as Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson or North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb should there be an early run on quarterbacks.That would give Keenum a premier pick to help him rather than his eventual replacement to fend off as long as he can.”We have a lot of opportunities at five now John Elway Jersey ,” Elway said.The Broncos are coming off a 5-11 season in which they cycled through Elway’s former draft picks Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and Brock Osweiler at quarterback. They’re sending Siemian to Minnesota. Osweiler is a free agent and Lynch is now Keenum’s backup. He also won’t have the chance to earn the starting job in training camp like he had the last two summers.Coach Vance Joseph welcomes the lack of another quarterback competition, saying it’s good for players and coaches to just focus on building an offensive scheme rather than wondering who will be running it.Elway lauded Keenum’s renowned work ethic, his leadership and his success after going undrafted out of the University of Houston but building a strong resume with the Texans, Rams and Vikings.”As far as leadership qualities, the grit that he has, the way that he plays the game, the way that he competes, he was the perfect fit for us,” Elway said.The Broncos’ crush on Keenum goes way back, too.Senior personnel adviser Gary Kubiak gave him his start in the NFL and coached him in Houston for two years when Joseph was on the Texans’ staff.The Broncos even tried to pry Keenum away from the Rams after Peyton Manning retired two years ago only to be rebuffed.Keenum, who only had one scholarship offer after high school, isn’t used to such fawning.”To have a team pursue me, and like John said, to be their guy, that instills a lot of confidence in me and I am ready to be that guy,” Keenum said. ”I know I am, and I’m excited to be the Denver Broncos’ quarterback.”—