Not only are they counting on Phillips' scheming to bring dramatic improvement to their defense -- and provide the final piece to that playoff puzzle they have yet to finish -- they're also leaning on his expertise to help identify new players in the NFL draft who can help make it better.
Beginning with their first choice, 11th overall, you can expect the Texans' draft to have a decided Phillips influence as the team tries to stock up on talent that fits his defensive structure. And that's just fine with Gary Kubiak, whose future as the Texans' coach likely will rely heavily on the immediate impact of his new defensive coordinator.
"The bottom line is, we brought Wade here for a reason, to improve our defensive football team," Kubiak said. "Obviously, it's something we've got to look at hard going into the draft, but at the same time, continue to strengthen our whole football team. Time will tell whether that (first pick) ends up being a corner or an outside linebacker. We've just got to get good football players and make them fit."
There are plenty of draft analysts who believe, at No. 11, the Texans could be the right landing spot for the most crucial component of a successful 3-4: a dynamic outside linebacker. One name that has been attached to them is North Carolina's Robert Quinn. As bountiful as the current college crop appears in front-seven defensive talent, the Texans should be able to find multiple players to help them there.
If all goes according to plan, this hardly will be the first time the Texans have emphasized defense in the draft. They've chosen a defensive player with their first overall pick in six of the past seven years. As a matter of fact, the Texans have gone defense in nine of the 10 picks they've had in the first two rounds of those drafts (the exception was offensive tackle Duane Brown in 2008).
With new and incumbent defensive players -- such as end Mario Williams, who has asked Kubiak how he'll fit in Phillips' defense (Kubiak and Phillips remind him that Hall of Fame end Bruce Smith had success in it in Buffalo) -- time is needed for Phillips to teach and implement his scheme. The lockout has steadily eaten away at it, but Kubiak so far sees no reason to panic.
"One of the great things about having Wade is I think his system is very simple," Kubiak said. "He has turned programs around very quickly on the defensive side of the ball on many of the teams he's been with. So I don't foresee that being that big of an issue for us because of the guy we've got in charge once we get going."
That's a good way to put it with Phillips -- in charge.