7

February

Packers News: Four added to coaching staff, five get new titles

Alex Van Pelt was a backup quarterback in the NFL and will now coach Aaron Rodgers and the quarterbacks after spending two seasons in charge of the Packers' running backs.

Alex Van Pelt was a backup quarterback in the NFL and will now coach Aaron Rodgers and the quarterbacks after spending two seasons in charge of the Packers’ running backs.

The Green Bay Packers have announced the final changes to their coaching staff, according to the team’s official website.

Winston Moss was named assistant head coach/linebackers, Scott McCurley assistant linebackers coach, Alex Van Pelt quarterbacks coach, Jason Simmons defense/special teams assistant, John Rushing defensive quality control coach, Sam Gash running backs coach, Ron Zook assistant special teams coach, Luke Getsy offensive quality control coach and Chris Gizzi strength and conditioning assistant.

Five coaches–Moss, McCurley, Van Pelt, Simmons and Rushing–have been with the Packers for at least the past two seasons.

Moss had served as assistant head coach/inside linebackers for the past five seasons but will now add the outside linebackers to his responsibilities. Former outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene decided earlier in the offseason to step away from coaching. Moss was the only defensive coached retained by head coach Mike McCarthy following the 2008 season and his role on the coaching staff has continued to grow. He will be assisted by McCurley, who had been the team’s defensive quality control coach since 2007.

Van Pelt, a career backup quarterback, joined the Packers in 2012 as running backs coach but will now serve as the quarterbacks coach, replacing Ben McAdoo who joined the New York Giants as offensive coordinator. Overseeing the running backs this past season, Van Pelt helped the Packers’ run game improve to No. 7 in the NFL. Van Pelt was the quarterbacks coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two seasons (2010-2011) and helped quarterback Josh Freeman enjoy his most successful season as a professional in 2010.

Simmons is entering his fourth season with the Packers after joining the coaching staff in 2011 following a ten-year NFL playing career. Having served as coaching administrator the past three seasons, Simmons will now work with special teams, defensive backs and quality control.

Rushing, entering his sixth season in Green Bay, served as offensive assistant/special teams for the past two seasons after starting his Packers coaching career as an offensive quality control coach for 2009-10 and assistant wide receivers/special teams in 2011.

The four newcomers–Gash, Getsy, Gizzi and Zook–bring different backgrounds to Green Bay’s coaching staff.

29

November

Packers Mike McCarthy a Modern-Day Nero: Fiddles while Green Bay Burns

Packers Coach Mike McCarthy

Mike McCarthy: Fiddle Player

Mike McCarthy is widely praised for his calm demeanor and approach to head coaching.  Never one to fly off the handle, McCarthy soldiers on with his plan, come hell or high water. Despite the team collapsing around him, McCarthy refuses to panic or take drastic measures in an attempt to turn things around.

In some cases, and definitely right now, that’s much more of a negative for the Packers than a positive.

When “Stay Calm and Carry On”  isn’t working, sometimes you have to say f**k it and go kick some guys in the ass.

The Packers were a complete embarrassment to the organization in front of a national audience yesterday. Actually, last Sundayalso, but they caught lightning in a bottle and lucked out a tie against the lowly Vikings.

When your players come out and lay eggs several weeks in a row, who’s responsible? Ultimately, it’s the head coach’s job to have his players ready to play. McCarthy has failed in that department.

But our star quarterback is injured!!!  He provides the motivation. Hearing a lot of that on twitter.  Folks, if Packers players need their quarterback to provide motivation to block and tackle and play hard, it’s a sad state of affairs.

And in effect, it is.

Sure there have been other injuries, and I admittedly have used that myself as a reason to give them a pass for most of this season, but not anymore. Today the Packers actually got three starters back on defense; Shields, Jolly and Perry.

It didn’t matter. They were gashed as badly as any defense I’ve ever seen. The front seven seemed to be moving in slow motion in comparison to the Lions. When they were in reach of Bush or Bell, it was like they were waving at ghosts. Even the arm tackles were hitting nothing but air.

Special teams were just as bad, with the man Mike McCarthy cut, Jeremy Ross, adding some embarrassing insult to injury to the head-hanging Packers.

On offense, I was optimistic when McCarthy threw a couple of screen passes during the first series. Seemed like he had a plan for slowing down the Lions’ rush that would soon register 7 sacks. He didn’t – we never saw another screen the rest of the day. If I’m wrong about this (I did miss a few plays) someone please correct me.

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.

17

January

Packers’ Mike McCarthy: Stubborn and Loyal to a Fault?

Mike McCarthy

Is Mike McCarthy becoming so stubborn he’s hurting his own team?

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy has many admirable qualities, both as a head coach and as a person.

One such quality is that he is incredibly loyal.  McCarthy has stood by his coaches and his players when someone’s ability or dedication has been called into question. That is something so many people struggle with. When the stuff hits the fan, someone usually goes under the bus.  That’s just the way society works, but such is not the case with McCarthy.

That said, at what point does loyalty evolve into stubbornness and when does that stubbornness turn into a negative instead of a positive?

That is the point where McCarthy has fallen in the eyes of many Packers fans as well as beat writers in the wake of the Packers’ stunning 45-31 season-ending playoff defeat at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers.

After yet another defensive implosion in the postseason, McCarthy remained so steadfast in his support of his allegedly beleaguered defensive coordinator that he said he was “appalled” that Dom Capers’ job security should even be in doubt during his season ending press conference.  That comment in turn sparked passionate reactions from fans and local media alike.

While McCarthy should again be commended for feeling loyal to Capers, at what point does this stubbornness start to hurt the Packers?

One could argue that it already has and it has nothing to do with Capers.   Look at how Mason Crosby struggled this season.   Crosby flirted dangerously close the 50% rate on his field goals, which is horrible by NFL standards, yet McCarthy remained steadfast in his support for Crosby. While a missed Crosby field goal didn’t cost the Packers a game in the end, it was a big risk by McCarthy and he’s lucky he didn’t get burned by it.

In fact, what would have happened had Crosby cost the Packers a game? It would fair to assume that McCarthy would have then been forced to at least bring a kicker in to compete with Crosby.  While that would have satisfied fan anger to a certain extent, it still should not have gotten to that point.  McCarthy is beginning to show a habit of not making a change until the Packers lose because of it.

28

November

McCarthy Admits Mistakes – And There Were Plenty

Mike McCarthy Admits Mistakes

Mike McCarthy Admits Mistakes

As I sat in MetLife Stadium and watched the NY Giants dismantle the Packers before my eyes, my neck started to hurt from shaking my head so much. Beyond the disappointing play and the result, I was especially not pleased by what I saw of the Packers game plan, play calling and decision-making.

Coach McCarthy went away from the running game after the Packers were down 17-7, opting to go to more of a spread offense. What this did, of course, was let the Giants DL know they could just single-mindedly go after Aaron Rodgers.  Add to that the shaky revamped offensive line, and McCarthy almost got his quarterback killed.

Having let the Giants’ pass rush get their mojo back, one might expect that McCarthy would have tried something to slow it down. Perhaps a screen pass or two. Perhaps a draw or two. But those adjustments were just not forthcoming.

As he ignored Alex Green in the Lions game, McCarthy pretty much forgot about James Starks until the end of this game, when it didn’t matter. Starks was fairly effective against the Lions, a team playing a very similar defensive scheme to the Giants. One might have expected to see Starks as the main ball carrier Sunday night, but instead, he mostly sat and watched.

And how about that handoff to Alex Green on 2nd and 20 with seven minutes still left in the third quarter down by 21 points? White flag anyone?

McCarthy also made some questionable decisions with regards to Mason Crosby. With the score at 7-7 and only halfway through the first quarter, McCarthy sent the struggling Mason Crosby out on 4th and five to try a 55 yard field goal.  First thought – iyour going to put your slumping kicker in a position where the odds are greater that he will fail?

But forgetting about Crosby’s struggles for a moment, I have to simply ask; Why? In the first quarter of a tie game? The right play that early in the game is to play field position. Let Masthay punt the ball and try to pin the Giants deep in their own end.

Then, once the whole complexion of the game had changed, with the Giants holding a three-possession 17 point lead late in the second quarter, McCarthy calls for a field goal on 4th and inches from the 11 yard line.  At that point, it was pretty obvious that three points was not going to be much of a help in this game.

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.