SAN FRANCISCO -- Here's the thing about Wade Phillips: The NFL is missing out if he doesn't get another shot at head coach.
Until then, Denver's defensive coordinator will settle for the next best thing after being named this season's Assistant Coach of the Year during Saturday's NFL Honors awards show.
Phillips has sparkled this season in running a Broncos defense that finished as the league's best while making Denver just the fourth team since the 1970 merger to lead the NFL in fewest yards allowed per carry and fewest yards allowed per throw.
"They're so fast," Shula said the Broncos defense, "and I think the best way you can talk about how well they're coached, and what a good job Wade does is when you see them diagnose so quickly. They get to the ball so fast even on the missed direction stuff. They seem to find the ball quick and they're swarming to the ball. You know they'll play some backups and a lot of their backups could start for just about anybody and there's not that big of a drop off."
"Being out, you know how much you miss it, the camaraderie, the practices, the relationships, we have all the common goals," Phillips told NFL Media's Judy Battista. "And you love the game and coaching the game. You ask any player who is out four or five games. Coaches are the same way. I was the same way."