Packers face busy weekend of interviews in search for Mike McCarthy's successor
GREEN BAY – Green Bay Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst will be jetting back and forth across the country to squeeze in interviews with assistant coaches they have identified as possible successors to head coach Mike McCarthy.
According to a source, the two executives will travel Friday to Foxborough, Massachusetts, to interview New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in the morning and linebackers coach and defensive play caller Brian Flores in the afternoon.
Both McDaniels and Flores conducted practices and game-planning this week for the Patriots, who have a first-round bye in the playoffs. It appears Friday has been set aside for head-coaching interviews for the two Bill Belichick assistants.
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The Packers will face some competition for Flores, the young (37) but experienced (14 years with the Patriots) up-and-comer. He has three other interviews scheduled, including one with Miami on Friday morning before he meets with the Packers.
Flores is scheduled to meet with Denver and Cleveland on Saturday.
So far, the only publicly known interview for McDaniels is with the Packers. The Cincinnati Bengals asked for permission to interview McDaniels, but no date for a meeting has been reported.
Assistant coaches whose teams are in their bye weeks have until the conclusion of the wild-card games Sunday to conduct no more than one interview with any club. No second interviews are permitted until the team is either eliminated from the playoffs or makes it to the Super Bowl.
In the latter instance, the coach may conduct a second interview during the week following the conference championship game and no later than the Sunday before the Super Bowl.
So, if the Packers like either candidate, they may have to wait a while to hire them.
Last year, McDaniels accepted the head-coaching position with the Indianapolis Colts, but because no contracts can be signed until after the coach’s season is over, McDaniels wasn’t officially hired. He wound up backing out of the agreement and leaving the Colts high and dry.
It might explain why McDaniels isn’t getting much attention despite his excellent track record running the Patriots' offense.
After the New England trip, the Packers will jet to New Orleans to interview tight ends coach Dan Campbell on Saturday morning and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. in the afternoon.
The Saints are the No. 1 seed in the NFC and won’t play until the weekend of Jan.12-13.
On Sunday, the Packers are expected to interview Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur at an undisclosed location. They also have received permission from the Pittsburgh Steelers to interview offensive line coach Mike Munchak, but the date and location have not been reported.
There are no restrictions on interviews with those two because their teams are not in the playoffs.
The Packers executives interviewed interim coach Joe Philbin on Wednesday, according to a source. He is the third candidate to interview after former Detroit Lions and Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell and former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano.
No contact was made Wednesday with Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald, who is someone the two executives want to talk with about a possible interview. Fitzgerald said after Northwestern’s Holiday Bowl victory on New Year’s Eve that he wasn’t going anywhere.
But the two sides are expected to talk at some point about the job.