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.

14

January

So You Want To Fire Dom Capers?

A lot of fans have been clamoring for the head of Dom Capers, the perceived problem to all of the Packers woes.  Some have argued that Dom Capers is getting too old to be coaching, his defensive philosophy and schemes too outdated and too complex for players to handle and perhaps most puzzling his lack of coaching causing injuries, missed assignments and miscommunication between the defensive unit.  However, before you start cleaning out his office, you have to have a plan B; namely if the Packers did fire Dom Capers, who would be the new 3-4 defensive coordinator?  Before all of you shout “I don’t care, anyone would be better than Dom Capers”, you and I are “anyone” and we all know that anyone that comments on this site would make a terrible defensive coordinator (let’s not even pretend).  With that in mind, I’ve created a list of the some of the potential coaching candidates that could replace Dom Capers

In House Options:

  1. Mike Trgovac: Trgovac has the most experience among the assistant coaches and is the only one with previous defensive coordinator experience having been the DC for the Carolina Panthers from 2003-2008. However in Carolina the Panthers ran a 4-3 alignment so it’s unclear how much experience he has with the 3-4 defense as a whole.  Furthermore, Trgovac turned down a 2-year contract extension with Carolina in order to take the Packers defensive line coaching position, which is interesting in itself considering Trgovac essentially took a pay cut and dropped down a rung on the coaching ladder to work for the Packers, which might be an indication that he doesn’t have an interest in being a defensive coordinator any more.  Of the in house choices, Trgovac probably has the best chance of being promoted to defensive coordinator; while he has turned down several coordinator interviews over the last couple years stating that he doesn’t want to move his family, obviously becoming the defensive coordinator for the Packers would not have this issue.  Furthermore, 3-4 defensive line production is largely a stat less critique, which would likely help Trgovac hide some of the poor performances the defensive line has had over the years.
2

January

All eyes on Packers’ linebackers against Kaepernick, 49ers

Although not on the radar before the season, outside linebacker Andy Mulumba is playing a key role for a beaten-up Packers defense as the playoffs are set to begin.

Although not on the radar before the season, outside linebacker Andy Mulumba is playing a key role for a beaten-up Packers defense as the playoffs are set to begin.

A year ago, San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick set a single-game NFL record for a quarterback by rushing for 181 yards against the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Kaepernick totaled 444 yards of total offense and four touchdowns, as the Packers were perplexed by the 49ers’ offense throughout the game, allowing 45 points to the 49ers despite a Sam Shields pick-six in the first quarter.

The Packers’ secondary, too, had its fair share of problems, as did the defensive line, but perhaps no position group was overmatched against the 49ers’ offense more than Green Bay’s linebackers. Erik Walden signed a four-year contract worth $16 million with the Indianapolis Colts this offseason, but money can’t buy instincts, and Walden is still looking for Kaepernick almost a year after last season’s dud in the playoffs.

Entering the 2013 season, the Packers were determined to be better prepared for the 49ers offense–and specifically, Kaepernick–as a rematch was scheduled for opening weekend in San Francisco.

And the Packers got mixed results. While Green Bay was able to contain Kaepernick to just 22 yards rushing, the quarterback racked up a career-high 412 yards and three touchdowns through the air. Clay Matthews and Nick Perry started for the Packers at outside linebacker that game and helped keep Kaepernick in the pocket, but four months later, Matthews is out with a (re)broken thumb and Perry, due to battles with injuries and subpar play, is now merely a rotational player.

Last January, Walden’s debacle against the read-option left many clamoring for Perry’s return to the lineup after he suffered a season-ending wrist injury as a rookie. Because, at the very least, the 270-pound Perry would be a significant upgrade over Walden setting the edge against the run, right?

As one Lee Corso might say, “Not so fast, my friend.”

Perry played a season-high 57 snaps (of a possible 81) against the 49ers in the season opener, but he played just 12 snaps last Sunday against the Chicago Bears in a must-win game. Mike Neal–still in his first season at outside linebacker–played 47 of 51 snaps against the Bears, and undrafted rookie Andy Mulumba played 43.

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.

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.

17

June

Packers Put a Ring on it – and We Like It

It had the anticipation, nerves and hype of a Green Bay Packer playoff game. There are just two problems with this scenario.

The NFL lockout remains in effect (although hopefully not much longer) and the date is June 16, not January 16.

The excitement was over the unveiling of the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV championship rings.  Tonight was a different kind of night, given that the players and coaches have barely interacted since they got back from Dallas, but it’s a night none of the players or fans who were following along on Twitter will likely ever forget.

Like a great movie, the occasion had it all: Drama, laughter, nervousness and an ultimately very sweet payoff.  Yours truly was even sucked into the drama of the evening thanks to one of my soon to be patented poorly timed and poorly worded jokes. More on that later.

Since the event was private, no media were allowed inside the Lambeau Field Atrium until after the event. This was a night solely for the players in coaches.  We were treated to some “pre –game” coverage on NFL Network but sooner than later the players were inside the stadium, ready for the festivities to begin.

Without any media, the obvious question on Twitter became “Which player would be the first to tweet a picture of the ring?”  The early favorite was tight end and new fan favorite Tom Crabtree with Nick Barnett not far behind.   Another thing that got a chuckle out of me were all the tweets that said Aaron Rodgers had arrived…..solo.

Soon after, players were seated and the ceremony got underway.   Tensions and nervousness began to escalate quickly as time went further and further past 7 PM central.   You’d think there was a game going on given the anxiety I saw on my Twitter timeline.

Offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga broke the tension with a tweet stating “The Ring!” followed by a link to TwitPic. That link ultimately led to a picture of a grinning Bulaga and no ring.  A new meme in Packer fandom may have been born: being BulagaRoll’d. Sorry, Rick Astley.

At this point fans were openly wondering if all the Packer fans retweeting photos of the ring would cause Twitter to malfunction, as has been known to happen during spikes of activity.  Twitter also supposedly has this “Twitter jail” for those users who send too many tweets in too short of time period, thus chewing up precious bandwith. This led me to tweet to fans: “Intentionally trying to take down Twitter will get you banned fyi.”

17

April

World Champion Green Bay Packers on Twitter — April 2011

The complete list of World Champion Green Bay Packers players and coaches on Twitter (As of April, 2011).

For a continually updated list of Packers on Twitter, go to: PackersTwitterverse.com.

Current Players/Coaches:

Aaron Rodgers (@AaronRodgers12)

Adrian Battles (@AdrianBattles64)

A.J. Hawk (@OfficialAJHawk)

Anthony Levine (@MrTr3_4)

Anthony Smith (@antkingsmith)

Atari Bigby (@20ataribigby)

Brandon Jackson (@bjackson32)

Brett Swain (@BrettSwain)

Bryan Bulaga (@BBulaga)

Clay Matthews (@ClayMatthews52)

Cullen Jenkins (@CullenJenkins)

C.J.Wilson (@cjwilson95)

Desmond Bishop (@Desbishop55)

Dimitri Nance (@DNance31)

Diyral Briggs (@BigBaby_50)

Erik Walden (@Ewalden5050)

Greg Jennings (@GregJennings)

Jermichael Finley (@JermichaelF88)

Josh Gordy (@4_flat)

Marshall Newhouse (@MNewhouse74)

Mike Neal (@mneal96)

Morgan Burnett (@MoBetta_42)

Nick Barnett (@NickBarnett)

Nick Collins (@nickthepick36)

Quinn Johnson (@QuinnJohnson_45)

Ryan Grant (@RyanGrant25)

Sam Shields (@stickyshields9)

Spencer Havner (@SpencerHavner)

Tim Masthay (@TimMasthay)

T. J. Lang (@TJLang70)

Tom Crabtree (@TCrabtree83)

Tramon Williams (@HighRizer38)

Winston Moss (@MeanOgreDude)

If I have missed anyone, please let me know…

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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