Wade Phillips still a crackup, now with cracked rib

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Wade Phillips is cracking wise again. But his broken rib is no joke. So, he's strongly considering a move from the sideline to the coaching box when the Broncos visit Oakland on Sunday night.

Denver's defensive coordinator suffered a cracked rib last weekend when Chargers running back Melvin Gordon - shoved by Von Miller - plowed over him on the sideline, sending Phillips to the hospital.

''Not that anybody's interested, but I'm day to day, that's my status,'' Phillips said Thursday as he stepped up to the podium for his first public comments since the jarring hit.

Of course, the 69-year-old must-follow on Twitter has had plenty of witty tweets in the days since the big hit, including a GIF of a chef cutting up a beef rib and this comment: ''I was lucky only fractured 1 rib (have 23 more good ones).''

Phillips was injured in the first half of Denver's 27-19 win over San Diego on Sunday. His head bounced off the ground in a scary scene as Gordon bowled him over during Bradley Roby's pick-6 of Philip Rivers.

''I said, `If I'm going to go out, I'd like to go out on an interception for a touchdown,''' Phillips said.

He was immobilized and carted off the field, then became the third member of the Broncos taken from the stadium in an ambulance in the last month, joining coach Gary Kubiak (complex migraine on Oct. 9 following a game against Atlanta) and left tackle Russell Okung (concussion-like symptoms on Oct. 13 after a game at San Diego).

Phillips said he felt fortunate he wasn't hurt any worse ''because I hit the back of my head on the ground and they did the CT scan or whatever on my head and they didn't find anything.''

''I don't have to go through (concussion) protocol'' this week, Phillips said.

What he is considering is staying out of harm's way, however.

''I'm thinking about being in the box this week just because I am in some pain and I really don't want to get hit again certainly,'' Phillips said. ''I did go up in the box when I was with Kube in 2011 when they took my kidney and my gallbladder out. I went upstairs. So, it may be another instance where I might do that.''

The Broncos (6-2) face the Raiders (6-2) in an AFC West showdown Sunday night.

''Having Wade out there, you get to see him, you get to high-five and stuff, but that's not the important thing,'' Miller said. ''The important thing is getting the calls, making sure that he's out of harm's way, making sure he's safe no matter what.''

Phillips has spent most of his career on the sideline save for that one game with the Texans five years ago. But he said there were some advantages to being in the coaches box.

''It's clear up there. It's obviously quiet and you can see well,'' he said.

Also, unlike last time he was in the coaching box, the league now allows coaches to communicate directly with the defensive player designated to receive the play calls.

''So, it makes it easier,'' Phillips said.

The player on the receiving end of Phillips' calls is expected to be linebacker Brandon Marshall, expected to return from a pulled hamstring that sidelined him last week.

The Broncos might be without star cornerback Aqib Talib as they face Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper.

The Broncos sent Talib to California for a second opinion on his ailing lower back Thursday. Talib missed last week's game and Roby started in his place and earned the AFC's defensive player of the week honors after a stellar performance that included the 49-yard interception return for a touchdown.

''So, I obviously feel good about him, and we always have,'' Phillips said. ''But we hope Talib comes back whenever he can, certainly.''

With Kayvon Webster (hamstring) also ailing, Lorenzo Doss would again be the nickel back. He had two big pass breakups last week, including a fourth-and-goal breakup from the 2 in the closing minutes.

Doss, a second-year pro from Tulane, had a slew of interceptions in training camp and the preseason, including a pair of pick-6s of Mark Sanchez.

''He kind of ran our other quarterback out of here with two 100-yard interceptions,'' Phillips said.

And that one was no joke.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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