GREEN BAY, Wis. — Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin will coach on Sunday, the team confirmed, in Green Bay’s NFC divisional playoff matchup against the New York Giants.
Philbin had not been with the team all week following the death of his 21-year-old son, Michael, who drowned after falling through the ice in a local river last weekend.
The funeral for Philbin’s son was held Friday, with many players and coaches attending.
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Coach Mike McCarthy said on Wednesday that he would not discuss football at all with Philbin given the circumstances.
“Joe Philbin is where he’s supposed to be,” McCarthy said. “He’s with his family, and he’ll return when he feels he’s ready to return.”
Unlike most NFL offensive coordinators, Philbin is not the Packers’ play caller. That is handled by McCarthy. However, Philbin normally runs the team’s weekly offensive meetings and organizes much of how the offense prepares for the upcoming game. Those responsibilities were split up this week between McCarthy and several of his assistant coaches.
Had Philbin decided not to coach against the Giants, McCarthy said there were two scenarios for how Philbin’s in-game duties would be divided. However, that will not matter now as Philbin will be working in his full capacity from his coaching seat in the press box.
Several players spoke during the week about how this could bring the team even closer together, but on Sunday morning, tight end Jermichael Finley took it a step further when he posted on Twitter: “I’m playing this game today for Coach Philbin & his family.”