Potential head coaching candidates for the Packers
FOX Sports Wisconsin
The Green Bay Packers have been around since 1921 and Mike McCarthy was just the 14th head coach in team history. Hired in 2006, McCarthy was fired with four games remaining. It's been a while since the Packers have had to search for a head boss and the game has changed slightly since the last time. Who might the Packers be considering to replace McCarthy? We take a look at a few of the possibilities.
The last two offensive coordinators for Kansas City have garnered NFL head coaching jobs. Could Bieniemy make it three in three years? The bad news is that Andy Reid is the Chiefs' play caller. The good news is those other two coaches were Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy, who seem to be doing pretty well in Philadelphia and Chicago. Bieniemy also was the OC for Colorado from 2010-12 and has been a running backs coach for Colorado, UCLA, the Vikings and Chiefs. As a former NFL player (1991-99) and star running back at Colorado, he might garner some instant credibility in the locker room.
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Serving as Philadelphia's quarterback coach from 2016-17, DeFilippo was a hot name in the head coach rumor mill last offseason, but was hindered in the interview process because of the Eagles' Super Bowl run. DeFilippo was hired as Minnesota's offensive coordinator and through 12 games QB Kirk Cousins has a career-best 71.3 completion percentage along with 3,490 passing yards and 23 touchdowns. But head coach Mike Zimmer has been critical of DeFilippo lately, intimating Minnesota isn't running the ball enough. A coach that wants to pass? That seems to fit into what should be the Packers' M.O. Plus he has some credibility having been part of a Super Bowl winner last season.
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This one might seem a bit out of left field, seeing as how Fitzgerald is a Northwestern lifer (played there, has coached there since 2001) and a defensive coach, but it's been reported that the Packers will want to give him a look. It makes more sense when you realize that Mark Murphy, who is heading up Green Bay's coaching search, hired Fitzgerald as coach when he was the Northwestern athletic director. Fitzgerald has taken a program not exactly known for its football history and posted a 95-70 record. Needless to say this would be an interesting choice.
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Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst reportedly likes Harbaugh. However, he's not the one making the hiring. Nevertheless, people have been waiting for the Michigan coach to leave for the NFL one day and perhaps this is the job to get him to leave his alma mater. A former quarterback, Harbaugh checks the box of an offensive coach and he also has plenty of head coaching experience, both in college and the NFL. He's had a losing record in his 15 years as a head coach, and those were his first two years at Stanford. His third year there Stanford went 8-5 and in his fourth and final season the Cardinal were 12-1 and won the Orange Bowl. As coach of San Francisco, he had a 44-19-1 record with the 49ers making the Super Bowl once and the NFL championship game two other years. Harbaugh does make a boatload of money at Michigan ($52 million plus incentives over the length of his seven-year contract) and it might take two boatloads to get him to leave.
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Seemingly a big name in coaching searches every year, McDaniels was hired as Indianapolis' head coach days after the Super Bowl last year -- and then suddenly decided he didn't want the job on the same day. As offensive coordinator of New England from 2006-08 and 2012 until the present, the Patriots have had a lot of success with McDaniels calling plays and have won five Super Bowls and reached another. McDaniels has been a head coach previously, with Denver from 2009-10. The Broncos went 8-8 in 2009 and McDaniels was fired in his second year after Denver went 3-9 in its first 12 games.
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Taking over for McCarthy, Philbin gets a four-game audition. Philbin certainly is familiar with Aaron Rodgers, having been the Packers' offensive coordinator from 2007-11, which Green Bay winning the Super Bowl after the 2010 season. In 2011, Rodgers had a 68.3 completion percentage, 4,643 passing yards and 45 touchdowns -- all career highs which he's never surpassed. Philbin left Green Bay to become Miami's coach. He went 7-9, 8-8 and 8-8 in first three seasons and was fired after beginning the 2015 season 1-3.
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Serving first as offensive coordinator from 2015-16 and head coach since 2017, Riley has helped Oklahoma have one of the most high-powered offenses in college football (as well as back-to-back 12-win seasons). There's some question as to whether Riley would want to leave Oklahoma, if he'd be a good fit in Green Bay with its veteran quarterback or even if the Packers (or any NFL team for that matter) would want to dole out big money for someone who has never coached in the NFL (Riley is making $4.8 million this season and signed a contract this summer which calls for him to receive $25 million over five years).
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When looking for the next hot coaching candidate, just take a peek at which team(s) have the best record. This year that's the Rams and Taylor, who is the quarterbacks coach in Los Angeles. He's in a familiar spot as DeFillippo last year -- QB coach of a great team, but could be hampered if the Rams make an extended postseason run. Taylor does have experience as an offensive coordinator both in college (Cincinnati, 2016) and in the NFL (Miami, 2012-15), although he only called plays with the Dolphins after Philbin was fired.
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Want someone who knows Rodgers? Tedford coached the Packers' quarterback when they were together at Cal. Tedford served as Cal's head coach form 2002-12 and recently has turned around Fresno State's program. Taking over a Bulldogs team which went which went 1-11 in 2016 averaging just 17.7 points a game. In his first year as head coach, Fresno State went 10-4 and averaged 27.1 points while this year the Bulldogs are 11-2 and average 34.9 points. While Tedford is known for having proficient offenses in college, he's never done it in the NFL (although was head coach for one year in the CFL). He was hired as Tampa Bay's offensive coordinator in 2014, but was sidetracked by health issues.