GREEN BAY – Joe Philbin said Wednesday his decision to fire associate head coach Winston Moss was not about one tweet, but rather how Moss fit on his coaching staff.
Philbin, the Green Bay Packers' interim head coach, called Moss an “excellent football coach” and “outstanding family man” and said “it wasn’t an easy decision” to dismiss him from the assistant coach job he has held the past 13 seasons.
“I think it’s important, obviously, that everybody’s on the same page, that we’re all moving forward in the same direction,” Philbin said Wednesday morning. “… I just didn’t feel like the fit right now was where it needs to be. So came to that decision.”
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That decision came hours after Moss fired off a tweet that not only could be interpreted as questioning Philbin’s leadership skills, but also directly referenced quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Moss suggested that instead of hiring an “offensive guru” as coach, it was important to find someone who could hold Rodgers and everyone else in the organization accountable.
Philbin declined to answer whether there was any truth in Moss’ tweet, saying he would not comment on the post. He also said his decision wasn’t based on the tweet, even though Moss tweeted “#thankstwitter” in a successive post about his dismissal.
“It's never about one thing,” Philbin said. “Again, I think it's important, as I said to the team, we've got to be professional, accountable, respectful and punctual – those are the four things that we've got to do these next four weeks. And if we do all those things, we'll be in good shape.
“It wasn't about, again, you're talking to a guy who's never tweeted in his life, doesn't even know what Twitter is. So, again, it's not about a tweet or anything like that. I just think the fit right now isn't where it needs to be.”
It's possible Moss, a member of McCarthy’s original coaching staff, felt spurned after being overlooked for the interim head coach role. As associate head coach in title the past four seasons, he could have been next in line when the Packers fired McCarthy. Instead, team president/CEO Mark Murphy promoted Philbin from offensive coordinator.
Philbin said he had "no idea” whether Moss was upset with Murphy’s decision.
“He and I had two discussions during the course of yesterday,” Philbin said. “That never came up.”
Philbin said defensive assistant Scott McCurley will assume Moss’ responsibilities coaching outside linebackers during the final four games. McCurley had been the Packers' assistant linebackers coach the past four seasons, working under Moss and focusing especially on inside linebackers. Patrick Graham, the defense’s run-game coordinator, has coached inside linebackers this season.