Broncos still have an eye on Wade Phillips

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- Just minutes after Sunday's Pro Bowl had concluded, Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller said he hoped to know “pretty soon," how the Broncos defensive staff would look for the coming season.

Then Monday the Broncos formally finished a up deal with their second defensive assistant as linebackers coach Reggie Herring joined defensive line coach Bill Kollar on Gary Kubiak's staff. Herring replaces Richard Smith, who had been strongly considered to be retained from John Fox's staff, but who told team officials this week he has accepted a job to be the Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator.

The Broncos continue to search for a defensive coordinator and need a secondary coach as well. Around the league former Broncos defensive coordinator and head coach Wade Phillips continues to be considered a primary candidate to call defensive plays for the Broncos in the 2015 season.

Phillips was the defensive coordinator on Kubiak's staff in Houston and is expected to visit the Broncos complex in the coming days, possibly as soon as Tuesday. The Broncos have also been rebuffed by the Cincinnati Bengals in attempts to consider Bengals defensive backs coach Vance Joseph for the coordinator job.

According to multiple team sources, the Bengals have blocked Joseph's attempt to take the job because he is under contract with the team. The Broncos interviewed Joseph earlier this month for the team's head coaching job, two days before they met with Kubiak.

The Broncos did continue their efforts to hire Joseph over the last week, but the Bengals have held the line to this point, despite the fact the Broncos' position would be a promotion for Joseph, who was also an assistant coach on Kubiak's staff in Houston. Internally the Broncos held out some hope earlier this week if the Bengals could find an assistant coach who could conceivably replace Joseph -- former Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell was one name that kept coming up around the league -- perhaps the Bengals would change their approach.

However, the Broncos have now picked up their efforts with Phillips as well. Phillips took over as Texans interim head coach 13 games into the '13 season after Kubiak was fired. The Texans were 30th in total defense in 2010, 29th in scoring defense and last in the league in pass defense when Kubiak looked to Phillips to repair the unit.

The team drafted defensive end J.J. Watt in the first round of the '11 draft and Phillips pushed the improved unit to No. 2 in total defense in 2011, No. 4 in scoring defense. The Texans were also No. 7 in total defense in 2012 and were No. 7 in total defense in 2013 even as the team finished 2-14.

Phillips was the Broncos head coach in 1993 and 1994 and was fired after a 7-9 finish in 1994 when Broncos owner Pat Bowlen hired Mike Shanahan. Phillips was 16-16 in his two seasons with a loss in the wild-card round following the '93 season.

Phillips had been the Broncos' defensive coordinator 1989-1992.