Green Bay Packers coaching candidates come from varied backgrounds

Jim Owczarski
Packers News
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Green Bay Packers interim head coach Joe Philbin leaves the field after their game Sunday, December 30, 2018 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Detroit Lions beat the Green Bay Packers 31-0.


The head-coaching search is in full force, as the Green Bay Packers have put in multiple requests to speak to coaches under contract with teams in the playoffs, as well as several coaches whose seasons ended Sunday.

The Packers began those interviews toward the end of this week, to go along with those they have already conducted.

Here's a running list of candidates who have spoken with the Packers or are scheduled to interview with them:

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Joe Philbin

Position: Packers interim head coach.

Interview: Met Wednesday with Packers executives.

Age: 57.

The skinny: Elevated to his role Dec. 2, Philbin went 2-2 as the interim head coach to finish the season. The Packers scored 34 and 44 points in the two wins, their two highest-scoring games of the 2018 season. It was the first time Philbin called plays in the NFL.

He returned to Green Bay at the start of the year as Mike McCarthy’s offensive coordinator after two seasons in Indianapolis, where he served as the Colts’ offensive line coach and assistant head coach.

Philbin was the Miami Dolphins head coach from 2012 through the first four games of 2015 when he was fired after a 1-3 start. He compiled a 24-28 record with the Dolphins and never had a winning season or reached the postseason. The Dolphins never had a season with an offense ranked in the top 10 in scoring or total offense.

Promoted by McCarthy to offensive coordinator in 2007, he held that position through 2011 and helped the franchise win Super Bowl XLV. The Packers put together five straight seasons of top-10 offense and scoring in that time. Prior to that, Philbin was the Packers’ tight ends and offensive line coach under Mike Sherman from 2003-04 and then under McCarthy from 2005-06.

Jim Caldwell

Former positions: Head coach for Detroit Lions (2014-17) and Indianapolis Colts (2009-11).

Interview: Already met with Packers.

Age: 63.

The skinny: The Beloit native was fired after consecutive winning seasons in Detroit and has a career record of 62-50 with a 2-4 mark in the playoffs. He coached the Colts to the Super Bowl in 2009. As a head coach he had two top-10 offenses with Peyton Manning in 2009 and '10 but never had a unit finish better than No. 13 after that. He did have the No. 7 scoring offense in Detroit in 2017.

In between the head-coaching jobs, he spent two years as Baltimore’s offensive coordinator. He helped spark Joe Flacco and the Ravens’ Super Bowl run in 2012 after taking over play-calling duties in December of that season.

Tony Dungy brought Caldwell to the NFL in 2001 as his quarterbacks coach in Tampa Bay. Caldwell then moved to Indianapolis with Dungy in 2002 and worked with Manning as the quarterbacks coach and in the assistant head coach role through the 2008 season.

With Caldwell, Manning went to nine straight Pro Bowls and won four league Most Valuable Player awards while winning Super Bowl XLI and earning that game MVP award. In Baltimore, Flacco was Super Bowl XLVII MVP and Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford went to his only Pro Bowl in 2014 with Caldwell as his head coach.

Chuck Pagano

Former position: Indianapolis Colts head coach (2012-17).

Interview: Already met with Packers.

Age: 58.

The skinny: Fired in Indianapolis after the 2017 season, Pagano went 53-43 in six seasons as the Colts head coach and 3-3 in three postseason trips. The Colts reached the 2014 AFC Championship game. In 2012 the Colts went 9-3 under interim head coach Bruce Arians while Pagano underwent treatment for cancer. A one-year defensive coordinator in Baltimore in 2011, Pagano guided a unit that was No. 3 in total defense and No. 2 in scoring defense before getting the head-coaching job in Indianapolis.

In his time with the Colts, he let coordinators Greg Manusky and Ted Monachino run the defense. He also had three offensive coordinators and hired Philbin as his assistant head coach and offensive line coach from 2016-17.

Prior to his one year as a coordinator under John Harbaugh, he had been a secondary coach with the Ravens, working on the same staff with Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and offensive passing-game coordinator Jim Hostler.

Pagano broke into the NFL in Cleveland under Butch Davis, coaching the secondary in 2002. He then moved to Oakland in the same capacity in 2004-05 working under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and head coach Norv Turner. After a one-year stint at North Carolina with Davis in 2007, he returned to the NFL in Baltimore in 2008 on defensive coordinator Rex Ryan’s staff.

Josh McDaniels

Position: New England Patriots offensive coordinator.

Interview: Friday.

Age: 42.

The skinny: One of the most sought-after coordinators of the last decade, McDaniels has overseen the Patriots' offense and quarterbacks room since 2012. He has been a controversial figure throughout his career, however. The Colts announced him as their head coach last season only to have McDaniels change his mind and stay in New England. As the head coach of the Broncos in 2010, he was fined $50,000 by the league when the team improperly videotaped a walk through of the San Francisco 49ers.

After rising through the New England coaching staff and calling plays from 2006-08, McDaniels was hired as the Broncos head coach in 2009. After a 6-0 start that season, the team went 5-17 thereafter before he was fired 12 games into the 2010 season.

After a one-year stint in St. Louis as the Rams’ offensive coordinator, he returned to New England in 2012. Since then, the Patriots have finished in the top 10 in total offense six times and the top 10 in scoring and passing all seven seasons. They have also had five top-10 rushing attacks.

In fact, in McDaniels' 10 seasons as play caller in New England, the Patriots have only two finishes outside the top 10 in offense — finishing 11th in 2006 and 2014. They have never finished outside the top 10 in scoring. He has coordinated in eight AFC title games and four Super Bowls.

His Rams (No. 31) and Broncos (No. 15, No. 13) offenses were not as efficient, however. The 2010 Broncos finished No. 7 in passing.

Brian Flores

Position: New England Patriots linebackers coach.

Interview: Friday.

Age: 37.

The skinny: Another of Bill Belichick’s rising stars, Flores does not hold the title of defensive coordinator but is the play-caller for the Patriots’ No. 7 scoring defense and No. 21 total defense. He joined the Patriots in 2004 and has scouted as well as coached on special teams, offense and defense before moving to coach the safeties in 2012 and linebackers in 2016.

This season, Flores orchestrated a game plan against the Packers that held Davante Adams to just 40 yards on six catches (6.7 yards per catch), the lowest per-catch total he had in a game until Adams hurt his knee against the New York Jets (6.5 avg.).

Flores played linebacker at Boston College from 1999-2003 under longtime coach Tom O’Brien. Flores earned his undergraduate degree in English and a master’s degree in administrative studies while playing.

Dan Campbell

Position: New Orleans Saints assistant head coach/tight ends coach.

Interview: Saturday.

Age: 42.

The skinny: Campbell has been with Sean Payton and the Saints since 2016 and has been part of an offensive staff that has finished in the top four in points each of the last three seasons and No. 1, 2 and 8 in total offense the last three years.

In 2015, he finished the season as the Miami Dolphins interim head coach after Philbin was fired. Miami went 5-7 under Campbell, who fired two coordinators and promoted quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor to call plays. He also had the team perform the “Oklahoma Drill” in his first practice and preached a more smash-mouth style of offense and mentality.

Campbell was a coaching intern in 2010 in Miami under Tony Sparano and was promoted to tight ends coach in 2011.

Campbell played 10 years in the league, retiring in 2008 after catching 91 career passes as a tight end for the New York Giants (1999-2002), Dallas (2003-05) and Detroit (2006-08). Payton was his offensive coordinator in New York and Sparano was his position coach in Dallas. 

Pete Carmichael Jr.

Position: New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator.

Interview: Saturday.

Age: 47.

The skinny: Carmichael has been in New Orleans since 2006, arriving with Sean Payton as the Saints’ quarterbacks coach. He was elevated to the passing game coach role in 2007 and then in 2009 became the offensive coordinator. Payton is the play-caller but since then Carmichael has helped create a system that has never finished worse than eighth in the league in offense, including four seasons finishing No. 1. Only once has the team finished outside the top 10 in scoring. He has also helped transition the offensive focus of the team, as the Saints have finished No. 5 and No. 6 in the league in rushing the last two seasons.

Prior to joining Payton’s staff, Carmichael worked in San Diego and Washington under Marty Schottenheimer as an offensive assistant and quality control coach. He joined the NFL in 2000 as a tight ends coach in Cleveland, where his father was the offensive coordinator for Browns head coach Chris Palmer.

Todd Monken

Age: 52

Former position: Tampa Bay offensive coordinator

Interview: Saturday

The skinny: Monken’s contract expired in Tampa Bay, so he was going to be a free agent regardless of whether head coach Dirk Koetter was retained (Koetter was indeed fired). Monken was the offensive coordinator for the Buccaneers from 2016-18, but he didn’t always call plays. He designed the offense, coached the wide receivers and called plays occasionally. The Buccaneers finished No. 3 in the NFL in total offense in 2018 and No. 9 in 2017 and No. 18 in 2016 with Monken in the coordinator position. The points didn’t match the production, however, as the Buccaneers never finished better than 12th in scoring.

Monken has spent most of his coaching career college, with his last stop in the NFL before Tampa Bay coming in Jacksonville from 2007-10 as Jack Del Rio’s wide receivers coach. He coached several young receivers on that team under Koetter, who was the offensive coordinator. In Tampa Bay, Mike Evans turned into a Pro Bowler in his first season with Monken as a receivers coach.

Monken was a head coach at Southern Mississippi University from 2013-15, compiling a 13-25 record. He went from 1-11 in his first season to 9-5 in his last before leaving for the NFL.

An Illinois native, Monken has a lengthy coaching history. He began his major college coaching career at Notre Dame under Lou Holtz. He called plays at Eastern Michigan and Louisiana Tech and worked at LSU under Les Miles and then-offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher as the passing game coordinator. He was also the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Oklahoma State from 2011-12. 

Matt LaFleur

Position: Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator.

Interview: Sunday.

Age: 39.

The skinny: LaFleur just concluded his first year as the Titans' offensive coordinator after spending 2017 as Sean McVay’s offensive coordinator in Los Angeles. Tennessee finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs, ending the year No. 25 in total offense and No. 27 in scoring. They were 29th in passing with quarterback Marcus Mariota but seventh in the league in rushing.

In 2017 in L.A., the Rams finished eighth in the league in rushing to go with the No. 10 passing attack in football.

The 39-year-old Michigan native worked in Atlanta under Kyle Shanahan, now the San Francisco 49ers head coach, as the Falcons' quarterbacks coach. Matt Ryan won the Most Valuable Player award in 2016 and advanced to the Super Bowl.

LaFleur broke into the league in 2008 with Shanahan in Houston. He then followed Shanahan to Washington before moving on to Atlanta.

Adam Gase

Former position: Miami Dolphins head coach.

Age: 40.

Interview: Sunday.

The skinny: In three seasons with the Dolphins, they posted a 23-25 record before he was fired on Dec. 31. Miami went 10-6 in his first season but did not reach the playoffs, and then went 6-10 and 7-9. The offense never rose above No. 24 overall or 17th in scoring. The Dolphins did have the No. 9 rushing attack in 2016.

Prior to being hired in Miami, Gase rose to prominence as the Denver offensive coordinator when Peyton Manning and the Broncos set records in 2013, as Gase called the plays for one of the best offenses in league history. Prior to assuming the role of offensive coordinator that season, he had joined the Broncos staff in 2009 as a wide receivers coach under Josh McDaniels.

Gase then went to Chicago in 2015 and quarterback Jay Cutler put together a season with a career-high quarterback rating (92.3) and a career-low interception percentage for a full season. Gase then went to Miami as a head coach in 2016.

Gase entered the league in 2003 as a scouting assistant with the Detroit Lions and joined the coaching staff in 2005 under head coach Steve Mariucci. Gase remained with the Lions under Rod Marinelli before joining San Francisco in 2008 as the 49ers’ quarterbacks coach under head coach Mike Nolan.

Mike Munchak

Position: Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach.

Interview: Requested.

Age: 58.

The skinny: Munchak has been the Steelers' offensive line coach since 2014, overseeing one of the more explosive running games and effective pass-blocking schemes in the league. The year before his arrival the Steelers were 27th in rushing and allowed 42 sacks. Since then, Pittsburgh has finished in the top half of the league in rushing three times and hasn’t allowed Ben Roethlisberger to be sacked more than 24 times since 2015.

Before joining the Steelers, Munchak was the head coach of the Tennessee Titans from 2011-13. After going 9-7 in his first year and missing the playoffs, the team went 6-10 and 7-9 before he was fired. He coached on the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans staff from 1994-2010, including 14 seasons as their offensive line coach. He was a part of the staff that coached in Super Bowl XXXIV.

He played for the Houston Oilers from 1982-93, going to nine Pro Bowls and being named a four-time All-Pro as a guard.

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