Packers pluck Patrick Graham for defensive coaching staff
GREEN BAY - New Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s staff is starting to come together.
After Joe Whitt Jr. agreed to become defensive passing coordinator Wednesday, coach Mike McCarthy added promising young assistant coach Patrick Graham to the staff, according to a source familiar with the hiring.
Graham, 38, coached the defensive line under head coach Ben McAdoo with the New York Giants last year, but it’s likely he’ll handle a linebackers position on the staff. The inside linebackers position is open and that could be the spot Graham takes.
Associate head coach/linebackers Winston Moss still is under contract and there hasn’t been any word of him leaving after he was passed over for the defensive coordinator position.
McAdoo was fired in December and after the season Graham has been free to talk to other teams and came with a strong recommendation from McAdoo. Graham has coached both linebackers and defensive line, but considers himself a linebackers coach and prefers to work there.
Graham was a defensive coaching assistant for New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick in 2009 and a defensive assistant coach in 2010. He was promoted to linebackers coach in 2011 and then moved to the defensive line from 2012-13. He returned to coach linebackers in ’14 and ’15.
Graham interviewed with McCarthy on Wednesday and agreed to join the staff Thursday.
McCarthy still needs to fill two positions on the defensive line and an opening at cornerbacks. It’s possible Whitt will coach cornerbacks while serving as passing game coordinator, but chances are another coach will be added to either coach cornerbacks or assist with them.
Safeties coach Darren Perry still hasn’t indicated whether he is going to return. He, Whitt and Moss were all interviewed for the coordinator position that went to Pettine.