In-house candidates emerge for Packers' defensive coordinator job

Tom Silverstein
Packers News
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Safeties coach Darren Perry is a candidate for the Packers' defensive coordinator job.

GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy is considering three in-house candidates for his open defensive coordinator position.

According to sources, safeties coach Darren Perry and cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt Jr. are interviewing for the position once held by Dom Capers, who was fired Monday. Assistant head coach/linebackers Winston Moss is a third candidate, McCarthy confirmed during his news conference Thursday.

McCarthy is expected to interview candidates outside the organization, but Perry, Whitt and Moss were expected to get the first crack. McCarthy said on WTMJ radio Thursday that he was working through the NFL’s protocol for interviewing those who might still be under contract.         

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In addition to Capers, McCarthy also dismissed inside linebackers coach Scott McCurley and defensive line coach Mike Trgovac. McCarthy indicated in the interview that he didn’t expect any other firings.

Still left on the defensive staff are Perry, Whitt, Moss, front assistant Jerry Montgomery and quality control assistant Tim McGarigle.

Perry came to the Packers in 2009 when Capers was named defensive coordinator and has coached safeties during his entire tenure. The former Pittsburgh Steelers safety has had one of the most challenging jobs on the defensive side, dealing mostly with rookies and young draft picks.

This year, he had two veteran starters in Morgan Burnett and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, but when injuries hit the cornerback position, Burnett had to play slot cornerback and rookie Josh Jones became the starter. Jones struggled to grasp the system and Clinton-Dix had his poorest season without Burnett playing next to him.

Perry has been viewed around the NFL as a potential defensive coordinator. He was a candidate for a job with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011 and reportedly was denied permission to interview for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers position in 2012.

Whitt joined the Packers in 2008 as a quality control coach and was named cornerbacks coach in 2009. The Packers' cornerbacks position has been hit hard by injuries the last two seasons and Whitt has had to develop numerous young players and undrafted free agents.

Moss, an original member of McCarthy’s staff, is expected to interview for the Detroit Lions’ head-coaching position. The Lions have asked permission to speak to him, according to published report.

In 2007, McCarthy promoted Moss to assistant head coach in an attempt to help him advance his career. Moss coached inside linebackers through the 2013 season and then was assigned to overseeing the entire linebacker position, although his on-field work was with the outside linebackers.

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