8

October

Raiders Release Matt Flynn: The Packers Should Bring Him Back

In a bit of shocking news that shouldn’t surprise anyone (as paradoxical as that sounds), the Oakland Raiders have released Matt Flynn after being demoted to 3rd string after a dismal showing against the Washington Redskins, who Packers fans are quite aware are currently fielding one of the worst defense this year.  The shocking bit is that the Raiders traded for Flynn with the Seahawks this offseason and brought over his $6.5 million guaranteed salary for 2014.  While this might not seem like much for a potential starting quarterback, keep in mind this is the Oakland Raiders, who have been so marred by the salary cap left behind by Al Davis that they literally needed to pinch every penny this year just to stay cap compliant.  So while Flynn’s performance certainly has justified his release, his contract (in context with the Raiders) make him prohibitively expense to let go.

Of course, Matt Flynn is still remembered by Packers fans as the guy with the lumberjack beard who managed to break all sorts of records against the Lions in 2011 and had a pretty good showing against a dominant New England Patriots defense in 2010.  Packers fans will also be quick to point out the disaster of an offseason where Graham Harrell never progressed, BJ Coleman got worse and Vince Young never figured it out.  In the end, the Packers settled on Seneca Wallace, who has experience but is essentially an unknown as he hasn’t appeared on the field.  I’m sure a lot of fans are hoping that the Packers sign back Flynn, bring back some known stability and maybe even resuscitate a career that’s been blown off course.  On the other hand, many fans will be quick to point out that Flynn was unable to beat either Wilson or Pyror despite coming into the season as the starter and in his brief showings with the Seahawks and Raiders looked out of place and unable to lead his team.

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

January

Packers’ Winston Moss Surfaces as Coaching Candidate in Oakland

Winston Moss is being rumored as a coaching candidate in Oakland.

It’s nothing more than speculation at the moment, but Green Bay Packers inside linebackers coach and assistant head coach Winston Moss is being rumored as a potential candidate at head coach or defensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders.

Speculation regarding Moss comes on the heels of Oakland’s hire of former Packers director of football operations Reggie McKenzie as their new general manager. Pro Football Talk added fuel on the fire earlier today when they reported that McKenzie will be given the power to fire head coach Hue Jackson if he so pleases.

The majority of new GMs want their own hire at head coach, so the possibility exists that McKenzie could show Jackson the door. If he went that route, Moss would likely become one of McKenzie’s leading candidates to take the job. Most believe that McKenzie will keep Jackson, who led the Raiders to an 8-8 record in his first season, as the head coach, however.

But even if Jackson is retained, Moss could be a candidate for the Raiders’ looming defensive coordinator vacancy. Chuck Bresnahan, the incumbent at the position, is widely assumed to be done in Oakland after this season. At this point, a move to defensive coordinator looks like the most likely scenario for Moss to leave Green Bay for Oakland.

A veteran of 11 seasons in the NFL, Moss played four years in Oakland from 1991-94. The linebacker led the Raiders in tackles in ’93 and was a three-time defensive captain.

After retiring in 1997, Moss began his coaching career with the Seattle Seahawks as a defensive quality control assistant. Moss then went to New Orleans in that same capacity in 2000, and by ’01, had become the Saints’ linebackers coach. He coached five seasons in New Orleans with current Packers head coach Mike McCarthy from 2000-04.

When the Packers hired McCarthy in 2006, Moss was brought to Green Bay to be his linebackers coach. After just one season, McCarthy added assistant head coach to Moss’ title the next season. When defensive coordinator Dom Capers arrived in 2009 and hired Kevin Greene, Moss was re-focused as the inside linebackers coach.

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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.

7

January

Legacies of Mike McCarthy, Ted Thompson Coming Into Focus As Green Bay Packers Assistants Draw Interest Around The NFL

If someone were to ask either Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson or head coach Mike McCarthy about their legacies, both men would likely scoff at the question and say that they’d rather wait until retirement to reflect on that and instead say they are focused on the present.

They’re right.  Still, with the Packers coming off a regular season in which they won the most games and scored the most points in franchise history as well as making a push for a second consecutive world title, the legacies of both men are coming into focus.

There is no further proof of this than the interest both Thompson and McCarthy’s assistants are drawing around the NFL.  Before last season, I wrote an article wondering if McCarthy would soon be the next head coach to form a “coaching tree” like Bill Walsh and Mike Holmgren.  Both men had assistants go on to long and successful head coaching careers and with McCarthy’s development of Aaron Rodgers, it seemed like a distinct possibility.

Well, with the Packers in position to win a second straight Super Bowl with one of the most potent offenses in the league such a tree is indeed beginning to sprout.

The first example is offensive coordinator Joe Philbin.   Whenever an offense breaks all sorts of records, the offensive coordinator naturally is the one people begin to look at.  Philbin has drawn interest from the Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins and St. Louis Rams.

However, Philbin is working for an offensive minded coach in McCarthy who also is the play caller.  Given how much of a hand McCarthy has in the Packers offense, that could work against Philbin.

The more intriguing candidate on the Packers staff may be quarterback coach Tom Clements.  Rodgers often publicly has credited Clements as well as McCarthy for how he has become the best quarterback in the NFL.   Throw in the incredible play of Matt Flynn in Week 17 against the Lions and Clements could be a hot commodity in the offseason.

Let’s not ignore Thompson either.  His masterful building of the Packers has made the franchise a model for the rest of the league. Thompson and his team have proven you don’t need a lot of splashy free agent signings and can create a championship (and perhaps dynasty)-caliber team mainly through the draft.

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.

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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.