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Two prominent members of Packers' staff could be retained

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Two prominent members of Packers' staff could be retained

-- There was some belief that with the hiring of a new coach, the Green Bay Packers would once again be on the hunt for a new defensive coordinator in 2019.

However, those expectations were put to bed on Monday after the reports surfaced citing the Packers as nearing the climax of their coaching search: Tennesee Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur will become Mike McCarthy's successor and fill the team's vacant position.

The doubt of what would happen with the team's defensive coordinator Mike Pettine surfaced. Typically, whenever coaches are hired across the league, they'll want to create their own staff from the ground-up. 

That wasn't the case with LaFleur, who, according to ESPN's Rob Demovsky, will be the one primary component to keeping the entirety of the defensive staff intact.

That means inside linebackers coach Patrick Graham, defensive pass game coordinator Joe Whitt Jr. and defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery, to name a few, are all safe. Of course, there's nothing definitive yet, so job security isn't set in stone with any member of the defensive staff.

This could mean the Packers will be prevented from hiring three different defensive coordinators in three seasons. Pettine replaced Dom Capers around this time last year.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Packers could be keeping a familiar face in town as well.

Demovsky also notes that LaFleur will "consider" keeping interim head coach Joe Philbin on his staff. It's likely Philbin would be the team's offensive coordinator, much like he was for five seasons prior before returning in 2018 and being named as the interim head coach after McCarthy's firing on Dec. 2.

Philbin, 57, finished 2-2 through four games to close out the Packers' 2018 campaign. Several players, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers, have loudly vocalized their admiration for him to be their next head coach. With that out of the picture, it wouldn't be a surprise to see anyone further vocalize praise for Philbin as the returning offensive coordinator.

The Packers will likely make several staff adjustments in the coming weeks. LaFleur could wait until certain teams are eliminated from playoff contention before trying to poach any of their staff to help lay the groundwork for his own.


Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (76) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

dobber's picture


jeremyjjbrown's picture

How do we know he could not faithfully execute LaFleur's plan?

He was great as OC in his first stint as OC, before McCarthy became monomaniacally obsessed with 11 personnel and winning 1-1 matchups from wide splits. He's apparently highly organized and runs a very tight ship in practice.

I'm not against keeping him in an assistant role so long as he is not responsible for the design of the offense. I'm not for it either, I want LaFleur to decide.

jww061356's picture

Jeremy, I think you are spot on. I seem to recall reading an article last offseason that when they were reworking the playbook Philbin wanted more change to the offense and McCarthy put a halt to it at a certain point. Maybe he would be good, as long as LeFleur is designing the offense. Who knows? If LaFleur wants him then fine. Personally, I say let's grab Zac Taylor the QB coach for the Rams, as OC.

4thand10's picture

I’m all for it, I think Philbin is a very good Coordinator. They just execute what the coach wants, LaFleur might want someone to bounce ideas off of someone besides himself or he might want to bring in someone else. Coaches coach but players still gotta play. I know that’s simple and everyone knows that stuff but it needed to be said. I have not seen anything crazy creative out of the Rams...the Packers almost beat them thanks to Pettines defense. Tied the Vikings and beat the bad news bears once. McVey gets teams to bite on a lot of play action because he has a super scary good running back that everyone is focused on stopping .Same reason why play action works for the bears. Football changes but at the same time not a whole lot. The better running game you have forces a team to play closer to the LOS, opens up a lot of play action and tight end work. Hopefully, LaFleur puts together staff and a few pieces on the team to make some serious noise or even a run.

Rak47's picture

Easier said than done regarding Zac Taylor. Taylor is the Rams QB coach not their offensive coordinator so if the Rams want to keep him they can just promote him to OC. I'm not sure he isn't under contract with the Rams this year and see no reason for them to let him go.

Rak47's picture

Not to mention LaFleur may want to hire his brother Mike who is the offensive WR coach and passing game coordinator with the 49er's under Kyle Shannahan to be his OC. Although they're reporting in Frisco he's expected to stay. I'm really glad LaFleur's keeping Pettine because his bff of over 20 years and the man who got him his first NFL gig in Houston under Shannahan as well as being best men at each others weddings is Robert Saleh, the defensive coordinator in San Francisco under Kyle Shannahan. Saleh is good but I'd much rather have Pettine.

Oppy's picture

Please find me this article.

Johnblood27's picture

I would love to see Zac Taylor in GB, however I thought it would take Dan Campbell as HC to make that happen.

Lets see if Guy LF has the gravity to attract the Zac -Man.

I would take Campbell as the ST Coord too.

Now were getting a coaching staff...

alforno54's picture

Be interesting to see what Pettine can do with a full deck of players. Glad he will stick around. For Philbin jury is still out

pacman's picture

A new tough head coach is going to want full loyalty. Pettine will probably give it since he only spent 1 yr with MM. And MLF will focus more on O than D, hence leave Pettine alone. Philbin might have a shot if he impresses MLF. My guess is that he will be seen as a connection to the past that MLF will want to change. So Philbin will have to be practically blaming all the failures on MM holding him back and saying "the king is dead, long live the king". Guess - I don't see it happening.

So how will AR deal with this? They are practically the same age. MLF will really have to impress AR to earn his loyalty.

Jonathan Spader's picture

What does age have to do with it? MLF is modern and supposedly open minded. MM was outdated and stubborn. Even if MLF is only older than Rodgers by 4 years it's his football IQ that should win Rodgers over not his gray hair or lack thereof.

Since '61's picture

Agree completely Jonathan. Thanks, Since '61

Skip greenBayless's picture

Spader, I checked out LaFlew's offensive rankings for the Titans and they were horrible in the high 20's except for rushing. If that is "modern and open minded" we're in big big trouble.

Coach JV's picture

The numbers don't show dynamics. Mariota was hurt much of the time, and there were lots of other problems too with other players. Titans numbers are NOT because of his scheme or his ability. You are an intelligent guy Dash, don't put your eggs in that "numbers" basket.

Jared's picture

DR, he was only with the Titans one year. Was he in charge of the offense? Or was he running & calling the plays that was in place when he got there? We know who he had for a QB, what about the WR’s, who was the #1 WR? See, there are a lot of unanswered ??’s. I prefer to look at his work with RGBIII & Matty Ice as examples.

sherrmann1806's picture

May i remind u that MCCarthy was OC of the Niners when the Packers interviewed and eventually hired him! The offence of the niners was 31st of something ! Besides that, the niners that year were like 3 and 13.......look how that turned out!! MM lasted 13 seasons with the Packers!....moral of the story....don't judge an offensive coordinator based on one bad season!

Johnblood27's picture

Edgar Bennett agrees with you...

Coach JV's picture


pacman's picture

With age comes experience. Doesn't mean MLF is good or bad. But all else being equal, there is a natural tendency to respect an older person.
At least there should be. AR's first instinct might be that "I've been around about as long as he has so there's nothing he can teach me"

Either way, that will just be short term. MLF will have to earn respect.

Coldworld's picture

The jury just got empaneled on Philbin. Unlike Pettine who the news states they have informed that LaFleur wants to keep, the word on Philbin is that he will be considered. It sounds like an evaluation process just began, perhaps one that may be influenced by the availability of a couple of outsiders as well.

Rak47's picture

Idk, but it will surely be interesting to se who LaFleur keeps around. McCarthy had an excellent staff in GB and I'm sure LaFleur wants to kick the tires on all of them. I can't see him keeping McCarthy's entire staff but who knows. Philbin is probably the one guy on the staff that needs to go due to his previous positions. LaFleur needs a right hand man he can go to on offense, and a sounding board confidant he can chat up with, I think he'll have the latter in Pettine but the former is going to be an essential need I'm not sure Philbin can fill.

Lare's picture

I think it may be a good idea to keep Philbin on in something of an assistant head coaching role. There's a million little details that the head coach is responsible for that LaFleur has never done before. Philbin has, so let him deal with the administrative details so that LaFleur can concentrate on fixing the offense.

That said, I'd like to see LaFleur bring in an offensive coordinator that he knows and feels comfortable working with.

splitpea1's picture

I was totally against the idea at first, but you bring up a good point about all the details and transistion. We'll see what happens.

Hawg Hanner's picture

I'd want an OC who knows and shares the new offensive strategies post West Coast. Can Joe Philbin contribute in this respect. If he can great. The Special Teams coaching will be of interest. Who is Dave Toub's assistant?

Rak47's picture

Uh, LaFleur scheme is based in the west coast offense hawg, he's a Shannahan disciple who is a disciple of his father who was a disciple of George Siefert and learned the west coast offense as Siefert's coordinator for 4 years. there are other west coast connections as well like Jay Gruden. I believe it is also one of the reasons they tabbed LaFleur. The offense he and Shannahan currently run are modern west coast offenses predicated on spread schemes, motions and creating mismatches by running multiple plays from the same looks and attacking the edges. AR should love this offense as it incorporates a lot of the same concepts used in L.A. and San Fran.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Keep Pettine, his bald head and dark sunglasses and "chuck" the rest. Sorry Since 61' but love to use your word I can't help it. There is one other guy who for entertainment purposes only, a small part of me would like to retain for next season. Of course I am referring to the guru of special teams Mr. Ron Zook. I am a believer in 2nd, 3rd and even 4th chances. Not everyone gets it right with just a 2nd chance. I believe this is where we are with Zook. Give him one more chance with Davis as the returner and I think you'll see a different special teams than this last season. From a strictly improvement standpoint it can't get any worse than last season. I'll say this one more time HIRE ZOOK!!

Portland Mark's picture

After Sunday's game the Bears will likely try to get Zook on their staff.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Agree, that's what worries me. We can't let Zook go to Chicago. It's imperative Zook be retained by LaFlair as soon as possible.

4thand10's picture

I would send Zook to Chicago in a new York minute.

Coldworld's picture

We need a STC named Dash Riprock perhaps.

The TKstinator's picture

LaFlair? The Nature Boy? WOOO!

Skip greenBayless's picture

Nothing slips by TK, nothing!! lol

Bure9620's picture

Fear Lefleur.......

Bure9620's picture

Ron Zook is being pursued by Iran to be their nuclear arms coordinator

Skip greenBayless's picture

lol..That would be the only promotion I would be ok with him leaving. Iran deserves someone who knows what he's doing. Zook would be the perfect guy for that position.

Demon's picture

Dash. Is that being said tongue in cheek? Are you pumping up Zook in hopes another team would hire him? If thats the case Murphy is such a Great football guy! The packers strength and conditiong team is the best in the NFL! and Ted Thompson would be a great hire for the Vikings or Bears GM position!

Keep Pettine and any assistants that he deems worthy on D. Maybe keep Campen but the rest
....... flush the turds. Their stench has been polluting the air at Lambeau long enough.

Jonathan Spader's picture

"Their stench has been polluting the air at Lambeau long enough."

It's almost as bad as that White Turdado!

Handsback's picture

LaFleur probably doesn't have a guy in mind qualified to be OC, but one who could be a QB coach. So I could see Philbin being the OC for a few years before LaFleur's guy is ready for that OC position.
Pettine is a good coach....he may stick for several years.

Lare's picture

Maybe they can convince Zac Taylor to come over as OC.

jww061356's picture

Right on Late. I think that would be a very cool pairing.

jww061356's picture

Sorry, misspell, LARE. Damn auto-correct

packergal's picture

Hello Old School!

If Philbin is named as OC and it has been confirmed multiple times that MLF wants to retain Pettine as DC, guess what?

You ALMOST predicted this scenario for 2019!

Time to buy a lottery ticket, Old School!

Skip greenBayless's picture

That is true packergal. The two most accurate people here at predicting this turned out to be the late John T. Kirk and Old School who I have been heavily following lately because I liked their honesty, knowledge and accurate reporting. Congrats to both though Kirk is not with us anymore unfortunately.


The TKstinator's picture

I think you’re underrating some of us.
For example, dobber predicts darkness every night and is always right.
When Leotis is asked “heads or tails” before the coin flip he always says “yes” and is equally reliable.
TGR is known to predict that interest rates will fluctuate, and my own self has never been wrong when I predict extreme yummyness when the chocolate chip cookies emerge from the oven.
The talent here at CHTV when it comes to predicting things is as lofty as...dare I say...Tim Boyle?

JimR_in_SoCal's picture

You mean future superstar QB Tim Boyle. R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Skip greenBayless's picture

I think that's what he means yes Jim Rome.

The TKstinator's picture

The one and only.

Johnblood27's picture

You might as well idolize James Tiberius Kirk.

There are no Gods on chat boards my friend, give it a rest.

If your boy had stones he wouldn't be pouting like a sheila, he would be in the ring giving it his best shot.

You cant win if you dont play.

Winners never quit and quitters never win.

any more cliches for good ol JK's wake here?

fthisJack's picture

did Kirk get beamed up?

Bert's picture

I'm sure the decision whether or not to keep Philbin will be LaFleur's. Personally I would like to see some fresh faces with new ideas for the offense.

4thand1's picture

Josh McDaniels says he has no interest leaving NE. He only interviewed with the Packers. Glad we went in a different direction.

Razer's picture

Can you believe anything out of Josh McDaniel's mouth. What a jackwagon!

Bure9620's picture

Belichick thinks McDaniels is a JAG

4thand1's picture

C'mon, lets get a press conference already.

4thand1's picture

Team to introduce Lafleur tomorrow.

Razer's picture

I like Philbin. He could be a big help to LaFleur and a good coordinator of all the moving parts on this team. Apparently, he is very organized, runs a great meeting and communicates well with the players. As they say - don't throw the baby toys out with the bath water especially if the baby still likes them.

Johnblood27's picture

In my first job I had a coworker that gave great meeting...

until HR started sniffing around...

Since '61's picture

Keeping Pettine is a good move. I'm not so sure about Philbin. I have nothing against Philbin but I wouldn't mind if Lafleur could bring Zac Taylor over from LA.

Philbin has the advantage of being an HC and he is familiar with the Packers personnel. From that perspective he could be a big help to Lafleur. He can also make the transition to Lafleur easier for Aaron Rodgers.

I'm guessing that Lafleur may wait until the playoffs are over before he finalizes his coaching staff. Time will tell. Thanks, Since '61

nostradanus's picture

None of us really know what LaFleur is looking for in his coaching staff or what connections he has around the NFL.
It will be fun to watch it all unfold and to hear what LaFleur plans to do with the staff moving forward. I am glad Mike Pettine and his staff will be retained although I do remember when McCarthy hired Capers and most of the “armchair quarterbacks” including myself were on board. We all know how that went.
Let’s all enjoy this new ride my cheesy brethren!
Go Pack!

JimR_in_SoCal's picture

It was good, then it was bad...real bad.

Slim11's picture

If Green Bay wants a new, updated offense which LeFleur seems to bring, why keep Philbin? I don’t think Philbin’s familiarity with the players is such a great asset. Isn’t the GM supposed to have that familiarity as well?

2020hindsight's picture

This was a good hire. I think he wants to hire his brother
to be the next OC. He is presently quarterback coach for the 49ers. Mullens a rookie had the best year for all the rookies. He did a great job there. May need permission to talk to him about the job from 9ers.

2020hindsight's picture

One more thing please let Campen leave. he was bad before his assistant Hillgenberg arrived as has had no development and a shrinking pocket for Rogers ever since he left. When a pocket for a quarterback collapses back into him from all sides there is no way to escape and bad downfield visibility. That is one of the reasons Rogers cannot see open receivers very well. Campen's teachings say give ground but stay in front of your guy. this makes for a small pocket with few if any escape routes and BAD visibility, as well as an increased risk of injury for offensive linemen as they fall into each other at the end of plays.

LeotisHarris's picture

I think Zach makes some solid points in this article, but none more vital than the importance of communication. He notes Aaron Rodgers (and others) have "loudly vocalized their admiration for (Philbin) to be their next head coach." Zach then points out "it wouldn't be a surprise to see anyone further vocalize praise for Philbin as the returning offensive coordinator."

Vocalization, folks. Speech. The vehicle which transports language, an abstract symbol system and our most human quality. What if rather than loudly vocalizing for Philbin, or further vocalizing praise for him, his advocates engaged in an interpretive dance, or conveyed the message via sign language? Would it all have the same power as a loud vocalization? As praise vocalized?

What if the Packers announced Philbin's departure via Semaphore? Or retained him as OC in a skit using only non-verbal cues? We are truly in a new era in Green Bay. What a time to be alive!

The TKstinator's picture

ComedySportz would be another great means of conveyance here.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I think it is best to release Philbin. I want AR listening to LaFleur, and not someone else. I don't want AR lobbying for Philbin or giving more credence to Philbin than to the new OC and HC. I don't want an elephant in the coaching room, so to speak.

That said, I don't know the dynamics between Philbin, AR, and LaFleur, or Philbin's personality. Reports are that Philbin is liked, respected, and runs a great scout team, among other good qualities. I suppose I could see Philbin as an Asst. Head Coach to handle all the details MLF hasn't had to deal with previously. To keep Philbin on as OC, I think Philbin would have to enthusiastically buy into MLF's new offensive scheme.

If he can't do that and prove that he will do that, I think Philbin needs to go. No more distractions.

Since '61's picture

Excellent points as usual TGR! Thanks, Since ‘61

Rak47's picture

I agree 100% I said on this thread a few posts up that I thought Philbin was the one coach who needed to go and it's not because he isn't a very good coach, quite the opposite. I couldn't quite put what I was thinking and feeling into words at the time but if I could it would've said what you just did ,lol. Nicely phrased TGR.

Rak47's picture

If they keep Philbin it should be as assistant HC or Offensive line coach. The idea is to keep him away from Rodgers so that AR is not looking to him. The QB coach needs to be preferably another former QB who is going to buy into and implement LaFleur's offense with 100% confidence.

Bure9620's picture


KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

Have no idea what happens to Philbin but by all accounts he is very well liked, and he is very loyal. Even from a TV screen he screams a class act and likeable! I would not have any problem if he stays and lends a steady hand transitioning the team to LeFleur. There is zero offensive system Philbin as an OC couldn't pick up quickly and help implement.

stockholder's picture

I said let Philbin go. Maybe it's because I want Zac Taylor. And That way Rodgers would take to lefleur. But I believe Rodgers can be a professional. If Lefleur wants Philbin. He should have what he wants. If Philbin really wants to stay, why not? It's only fair. Philbin is liked and was interviewed. He didn't suck. TT stayed! My major problem is Philbin could become a nanny. And that won't be good for anybody. This is a coin flip.

Johnblood27's picture

Well, Philbin could be OL coach and assistant HC.

The Zac-Man can still be lured from LA by an OC position and there is still a "whisperer" role as QB coach for AR to have carry his undersized jock.

That way everyone that wants Campens head on a platter can have that too.

Philbin was the OL coach at Iowa before he came to GB, he knows blocks and such.

I'm Dunn's picture

One wonders if MM gets the Jets gig he tries to poach some of his staff in GB; Philbin being the first.

HankScorpio's picture

To paraphrase Henny Youngman, "Take my assistant coaches, please!"

Plenty of fish in the sea. Enough that I don't really care if any of them don't want to be in GB anymore. I'm not convinced that any one of them is irreplaceable. Personally, I would like to keep Pettine, Jerry Montgomery, Joe Whitt and Ben Sirmans. But I think a good case can be made to move on from each, as well.

And I really don't know any of them. I saw someone say that Brian Angelichio is wanted by ML. You could have fooled me by saying their TE coach was any good. But ML should get the guys he wants.

PatrickGB's picture

Philbin as an assistant HC and ST coach.

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