Aaron Nagler hosts a Facebook Live session with readers to discuss Mike McCarthy's season-ending news conference and take questions on the Packers. (Jan. 4, 2018)
GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy saw a chance to bring back one of his most trusted assistants during his 12-year tenure and didn't hesitate to create a spot for him on his staff.
Joe Philbin, who served as McCarthy's offensive line coach and offensive coordinator during his six-year stint with the Packers, has agreed to return to the Packers in a yet-to-be-defined offensive role, a source confirmed Saturday.
NFL Network first reported that the Packers were expected to interview Philbin and ESPN reported that the Packers were expected to hire Philbin. The source said that McCarthy had not carved out a specific title for Philbin, but it's likely he will either replace Edgar Bennett as offensive coordinator or serve a role similar to what Tom Clements previously held when he was assistant head coach/offense.
Philbin was assistant head coach and offensive line coach under Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano the last two seasons, but Pagano was fired after the season and Philbin was given the opportunity to seek other employment.
McCarthy removed Bennett from his offensive coordinator's position earlier this week and offered him the vacant spot as wide receivers coach. However, according to a source, Bennett was not happy about his demotion and decided he would rather move on.
McCarthy has hired Colts receivers coach Jim Hostler to fill the void at receivers coach, which was created when Luke Getsy left for an offensive coordinator position at Mississippi State.
Hostler worked on Pagano’s staff the past three seasons. He was the receivers coach in 2015, and transitioned to tight ends coach the past two years. Under his coaching, TY Hilton was a Pro Bowl receiver and Jack Doyle went from being undrafted to one of the NFL’s top-20 tight ends.
Philbin was the Packers' offensive coordinator from 2007 through 2011 before leaving to become head coach of the Miami Dolphins. During Philbin's five years at that position, the Packers ranked second, eighth, sixth, ninth and third in offense.
Philbin was instrumental in helping build the running scheme that McCarthy desired during those years. Even though the Packers were a heavy passing team, they ranked 17th in rushing in 2008 and 14th in '09.
In 2011, the Packers had their best season offensively under McCarthy, scoring 70 touchdowns, which tied the prolific 1984 Dolphins for the third-most touchdowns in a season. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers had his best season, posting an NFL-record passer rating of 122.5.
The Packers scored 35 or more points nine times that season.
Despite finishing 15-1 and earning homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, the Packers lost in their first playoff game to the New York Giants. The game was played a week after Philbin's 21-year-old son, Michael, drowned in the Fox River.
The playoff loss was Philbin's last game with the Packers.
McCarthy may have had interest in bringing back former assistant Ben McAdoo as well, but after serving has New York Giants head coach and play caller, McAdoo is looking for a position where he would call plays, according to a source. Thus, he's not likely to return.