9

January

Son of Packers OC Joe Philbin Found Dead in Fox River -

Authorities in Oshkosh have found the body of 21-year-old Michael Philbin, the son of Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin who had been missing from the area since 2 a.m. Sunday morning. Philbin was visiting friends at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh but hadn’t been heard from or seen since late Saturday night.

Earlier this afternoon, a body matching his description was recovered from the Fox River. Multiple media outlets have reported that the body has indeed been identified as Philbin’s son and that Packers players have been notified.

Just like that, with the snap of a finger, football in the Packers family becomes a secondary issue.

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy somberly addressed the media at around 3:00 p.m., an hour or so before confirmation of a positive identification had been made. McCarthy said the Packers organization has a “family first philosophy” that will be respected in this case. Media access to the Packers locker room wasn’t made available as standard after McCarthy’s Monday press conference.

If Philbin has to miss Sunday’s game with the New York Giants—and no one would even think to blame him if he did—McCarthy also said the Packers have a contingency plan in place to deal with his absence. Philbin was in Oshkosh Monday.

Philbin has been with the Packers organization since 2003, when he was hired as an offensive line assistant. He was promoted to offensive line coach in 2006 and later in ’07 to offensive coordinator. Philbin had been in Miami and Kansas City over the last week interviewing for head coaching positions.

Philbin and his wife, Diane, have five other children.

The Packers play the New York Giants at 3:30 on Sunday.

We at AllGreenBayPackers.com—and I speak for everyone involved—would like to wish the Philbin family our dearest condolences during this time of crisis. 

4

January

Joe Philbin and Tom Clements Drawing Interest For Head Coaching Jobs

Packers QB coach Tom Clements is drawing interest from Penn State University.

Success in the NFL breeds opportunity, and two offensive coaches for the Green Bay Packers are drawing interest for head coaching jobs around the football landscape.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, offensive coordinator Joe Philbin will interview for the Kansas City Chiefs head coaching position on Wednesday night.

Quarterbacks coach Tom Clements, who earlier interviewed for Penn State’s coaching vacancy, will get a second interview in person sometime this week, according to the Pittsburgh Press-Gazette.

Philbin has been the Packers offensive coordinator since 2007, when he was promoted from offensive line coach to coordinator after Jeff Jagodzinski left to be Boston College’s head coach. Philbin started in Green Bay as an offensive line assistant in 2003.

Clements, a 15-year NFL coaching veteran, has been the Packers quarterbacks coach since 2006. He is credited for helping groom both Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn during his time in Green Bay.

It’s no coincidence that the success of the Packers, who won 15 games this season after capturing a win in Super Bowl XLV last season, has coincided with interest in their assistant coaches, especially on offense. The Packers offense set numerous franchise records this season on their way to becoming the NFL’s top ranked scoring offense in 2011 and second-highest scoring offense in NFL history.

It was reported earlier this season that Philbin was drawing interest from Tulane Universtity, his alma mater, for their head coaching vacancy. Philbin denied those rumors and Tulane later hired New Orleans Saints receivers coach Curtis Jackson.

While an interview with the Chiefs is an encouraging sign for Philbin’s vertical movement in the coaching profession, it’s unlikely he’ll land the job. While residing over the offensive coordinator position in Green Bay for five seasons, Philbin has yet to be the full-time play caller for the Packers offense. Head coach Mike McCarthy, a former offensive coordinator, calls the Packers’ offensive plays. The Chiefs are also widely assumed to be retaining Romeo Crennel as the head coach after he helped lead the Chiefs to a 2-1 record, including a win over the Packers, after taking over for Todd Haley.

Losing Clements appears to be more imminent. Penn State has dwindled their candidates list, and Clements looks to be one of the front-runners. The Norte Dame alum has shown a mutual interest in the job as a Pennsylvania native.

3

January

Big Changes Coming in 2012 for Packers’ Rivals to the South

Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz resigned on Tuesday.

There may not be drastic personnel changes for the Chicago Bears in 2012, but two of the more recognizable faces in the team’s organization won’t be around next season.

On Tuesday, the Bears announced that both general manager Jerry Angelo and offensive coordinator Mike Martz will not be back with the team in 2012. Shane Day is also out as the team’s quarterbacks coach.

Head coach Lovie Smith will be retained for next season, however.

Angelo had just finished his 11th season as Bears’ GM, one that saw Chicago start 7-3 but nosedive to an 8-8 finish after both quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte were lost to season-ending injuries. Angelo did little to remedy the Bears’ situation at quarterback after Cutler went down, instead trusting in Caleb Hanie to get the Bears back into the playoffs for the second-straight year.

Hanie lost all four games he started and was later replaced by Josh McCown, who hadn’t started an NFL game since 2007. The Bears scored 21 or fewer points in each of their final six games of 2011.

Angelo’s failure to lock up Forte over the long term may have also factored into his firing. Forte, a free agent this summer, was unable to come to terms with Angelo over a new contract. The dispute turned public after Forte declined an offer during the 2011 preseason in the range of $13-14 million guaranteed and the entire matter was a lasting issue into the regular season.

News trickled out later that Martz, the Bears offensive coordinator over the last two seasons, had resigned from his position because of philosophical differences with the organization. Day, the Bears quarterback coach who was hired the same day as Martz, is also walking away.

Previously the mastermind behind the Greatest Show on Turf in St. Louis, Martz often took criticism in Chicago for his handling of Cutler and the offense. Under Martz, the Bears offense never ranked higher than 17th in points scored or 22nd in total yards during the two years.

The Bears will begin the hunt to find replacements for each, but former Colts GM Bill Polian has been rumored for Angelo’s position and offensive line coach Mike Tice could be promoted to coordinator.