11

June

Which Packers Assistant is the next to Become a Head Coach?

Could Tom Clements be the next Packers assistant to become a head coach?

Could Tom Clements be the next Packers assistant to become a head coach?

John Schneider to Seattle. Reggie McKenzie to Oakland. John Dorsey to Kansas City.

A lot of talented executives have left the Packers front office for general manager jobs with other teams over the last three years.

Joe Philbin has been the only Packers assistant coach to land a head coaching gig in that time period. Philbin departed as offensive coordinator and took over as Miami’s head coach after the 2012 season.

There’s plenty of talent on the Packers coaching roster. Linebackers coach Winston Moss and safeties coach Darren Perry have been loosely linked to head coach openings in the past. Current offensive coordinator Tom Clements is also highly regarded for his role in the Packers’ offense and the development of quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Edgar Bennett has received some publicity lately as a firey up-and-comer. Kevin Greene is also an intense guy that could catch the eye of a general manager who wants a motivator as a head coach.

It’s impossible to predict which way the wind will blow on the assistant coach open market. One season an assistant might be the next big thing and a cinch to become a head coach. Then his team falters, he doesn’t get offered a head coaching job, and we never hear from him again.

Even Dom Capers was whispered to be on some team’s head coach lists after the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Can you imagine anyone offering Capers a head coaching job now? Doubtful, but if the Packers make a drastic turnaround on defense, you never know.

I consider myself an obsessive NFL fan — not just a Packers fan — and even I never heard of Mike McCarthy when the Packers hired him. Now, he’s one of the most successful head coaches in franchise history.

If I had to guess, I’d guess that Tom Clements gets a shot at being a head coach before any other assistant. Guys that understand offense and the quarterback position will always have an advantage in today’s NFL. Based on what little I know about Clements, he also seems to have the demeanor to be a strategic and level-headed coach.

24

February

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays With No Packers Football

Surviving Sundays With No Packers Football

The only thing you need to survive this Sunday without Packers football is Tom Silverstein’s story in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on the Packers front office and scouting operation.

Once again, the Packers were shorthanded at the NFL combine thanks to the departure of John Dorsey for Kansas City. In 2011, John Schneider left for Seattle and Reggie McKenzie departed for Oakland in 2012. All three of Ted Thompson’s right-hand men took general manager jobs.

You want your favorite NFL team to have as much talent as possible, both on the field and in the front office. It’s never a good thing to lose a talented player, just like it’s never a good thing to lose a talented executive. Silverstein’s story does a nice job of showing just how much of a team sport scouting, player evaluation and draft day can be.

However, every team has a star. On the field, the Packers have Aaron Rodgers. In the front office, they have Thompson.

As long as Rodgers is playing, the Packers should be good. As long as Thompson is the general manager, the front office should be fine.

I don’t get overly worried when Packers executives start making their annual exit from Green Bay for opportunities elsewhere. As long as Thompson is around, the Packers should remain on the right track. He’s the star. He’s the one that makes everything go.

Yes, Thompson has been fortunate to have talented current and former staff members, but he’s the one who makes the final call on everything personnel related. Thompson is the man who deserves the credit when a personnel move works out. He’s also the one to blame if something backfires. The Packers front office sinks or swims based on Thompson’s decisions.

Every team, and every front office, needs depth. You can never have too much talent. But as long as your main guys are around — Rodgers on the field, Thompson in the front office — things should be OK in Green Bay.

Packers News and Notes

  • $14 million per year for Greg Jennings? All it takes is one team, but I don’t see it happening. Jennings should be happy to get $14-17 million guaranteed over the life of a deal instead of $14 million per season in addition to any type of signing bonus.
7

March

Packers to Let Ryan Grant Test Free Agency

The Packers will let RB Ryan Grant test the free agent waters but still have interest in retaining the 29-year-old.

The Green Bay Packers appear content in letting Ryan Grant enter free agency without a new contract.

But that doesn’t mean the team won’t have an interest in bringing back the veteran running back once the market is set, says Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The Packers have told RB Ryan Grant that they are interested in bringing him back, but they aren’t expected to make an offer before free agency starts, and Grant will explore other options starting March 13.

Alan Herman, who represents Grant, told Silverstein that the door is still wide open for Grant to return to Green Bay.

He will hit free agency. But they gave us an indication they would like to have him back. I have to sit down with Ryan in the next few days and see what he wants to do. I haven’t talked to him about it yet. I’m sure he’s open to that (returning). On the other hand, being a free agent is enticing.

There may not be a huge market for a 29-year-old running back who doesn’t have an elite trait.

However, both the Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks have history with Grant at the coaching or front-office level and could desire a backup running back for their respective starters.

Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was Grant’s offensive coordinator for his entire career in Green Bay and knows everything the veteran back could bring in a secondary role. Miami appears set at running back with 1,000-yard rusher Reggie Bush and youngster Daniel Thomas, however.

Seahawks GM John Schneider was a part of the Packers front office that sent a future sixth-round pick to the New York Giants for Grant back in 2007. Seattle just inked Marshawn Lynch to a multi-year deal but might have a need for a veteran backup.

Overall, it seems unlikely that any team would be willing to offer Grant a big contract and starting potential. When Grant gets to free agency and finds out that truth, returning to Green Bay might be his best situation.

As Silverstein states, Grant’s desire to play in a Super Bowl could also “affect his decision.” The Packers likely represent one of the top options for Grant to get to a Super Bowl.

Injuries kept Grant out of the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

6

January

Packers’ Reggie McKenzie To Be Named Oakland Raiders GM

 

McKenzie appears headed to Oakland to be the Raiders new GM.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Oakland Raiders are planning to hire Packers director of football operations Reggie McKenzie as their next general manager.

McKenzie has long been rumored as a leading candidate for the job after Raiders owner and GM Al Davis passed away this fall. The two sides had reportedly been in contact this week, as McKenzie received a high recommendation from former Packers GM Ron Wolf for the job. Wolf has been assisting the Raiders in the search for new GM, along with former Raiders coach John Madden and Ken Herock.

McKenzie has served 18 years in the Packers personnel department, including the last four in his current capacity. He joined the Packers in 1994 as a pro personnel assistant and was later promoted to director of personnel in 1997.

McKenzie took over for John Schneider in May of 2008 as director of football operations after Schneider left to become the Seattle Seahawks general manager.

A former linebacker, McKenzie was drafted in the 10th by the Wolf-run Raiders in 1985 and played four years in Oakland. After two years in Phoenix with the Cardinals and another in San Francisco, McKenzie was out of the NFL. In 1993, he joined Phillip Fulmer’s coaching staff at his former alma mater in Tennessee. A later year, he landed in Green Bay in his first front office job.

McKenzie will land at a job that currently lacks draft capital, as current Raiders coach Hue Jackson doled out a first-round pick in 2012 and a second-rounder in ’13 for quarterback Carson Palmer before the trading deadline in October. As it stands before compensatory picks, the Raiders’ first pick next April would come in the fifth round.

A potential replacement for McKenzie could be Elliot Wolf, Ron’s son and currently the Packers assistant director of player personnel. NFL.com reported earlier in the week that he may be a candidate to leave with McKenzie to Oakland. John Dorsey, the Packers director of college scouting, turned down an offer to interview for the Indianapolis Colts’ GM opening and could also be a candidate.

——————

Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.