McCarthy's assistants are attractive targets

McCarthy's assistants are attractive targets

Published Jan. 18, 2012 11:24 a.m. ET

GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Packers' season ended sooner than expected, but that hasn't changed the amount of interest throughout the NFL in scheduling interviews with several of Green Bay's coordinators and assistant coaches.

In coach Mike McCarthy's season-ending press conference, he acknowledged that he might not have several members of his staff back next season.

“There is activity around our coaching staff, and rightfully so,” McCarthy said Wednesday, three days after his team's 15-2 season ended in the divisional playoffs. “It's a very talented staff. There may be some men who have some other opportunities."

Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin is one of the top targets in the Miami Dolphins' coaching search. Philbin, whose 21-year-old son died last week after drowning in an icy Wisconsin river, had a second interview scheduled Wednesday with the Dolphins.

"I'll just say this about Joe; he would make an excellent head coach,” McCarthy said. “He's a special, special human being. What Joe's gone through, and what his family's gone through, obviously tough is not the proper word; that's understating. A man of very high character.”

Philbin also interviewed three weeks ago with the Kansas City Chiefs before they decided to give interim head coach Romeo Crennel the position in a full-time capacity with a three-year contract.

Unlike most NFL offensive coordinators, Philbin is not the Packers' play caller, as that role is performed by McCarthy. However, Philbin runs most of the offensive meetings leading up to each game. He was not with the team in the days before Green Bay lost in the divisional round of the playoffs to the New York Giants, instead spending time with his grieving family. Hours before that game, though, Philbin contacted McCarthy and decided to return to the team.

Philbin is not the only Packers assistant who might not return to Green Bay next season.

Soon after Reggie McKenzie — the now-former director of football operations for the Packers — accepted the job to be the Oakland Raiders' general manager, several Green Bay coaches became head coaching candidates. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers, secondary coach Darren Perry and associate head coach and inside linebackers coach Winston Moss have been mentioned as candidates to replace Hue Jackson.

“If the Raiders were to call and ask, I'll be ready to speak with them,” Moss said Monday. “I'm happy where I am right now, but if an opportunity was to show up, like I said, we'll take it then. If a challenge was put before me that I felt as though I can excel at and would relish in taking on that opportunity, I would not be afraid of it.”

The biggest competition for Moss might be Capers, who has already twice been a head coach in the NFL.

"I've said in the past that the situation would have to be right for me,” Capers said last week. “I don't know much about that situation, so I haven't focused on it, so it'd be hard for me to comment.”

Perry is the youngest of the three and had mixed results this season as the Packers' secondary coach. Green Bay gave up the most passing yards in the league but also led the NFL in interceptions.

"It's flattering (to be considered)," Perry said last week. "I'd be lying if I said it wasn't.”

For now, McCarthy is speaking with all of his coordinators this week and going through evaluations. McCarthy met with Capers on Wednesday and is scheduled to look back on this season from an offensive perspective on Friday with Philbin.

Follow Paul Imig on Twitter