Jets WR coach Karl Dorrell emerges as possible addition to LaFleur staff
GREEN BAY – Based on the number of highly regarded coaches new Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur has attracted for interviews, he could be setting up an impressive first offensive staff.
On Friday, LaFleur interviewed former Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, the son of renowned West Coast master Paul Hackett, and Saturday he interviewed former Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who called plays for the No. 3 offense in the NFL this past season.
LaFleur is in the market for an offensive coordinator but the position does not include play-calling duties – LaFleur will do that himself – so he has a hard sell to make. Both Hackett and Monken interviewed for the open Detroit Lions offensive coordinator position, which comes with play-calling duties.
Another impressive coach to emerge on the radar is New York Jets wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell, a former head coach at UCLA, offensive coordinator at Vanderbilt and receivers or quarterbacks coach for the Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, Houston Texans and the Jets.
According to an NFL source, the Packers have gotten permission from the Jets to interview Dorrell and LaFleur is expected to meet with him soon for the wide receivers coach position.
(Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Dorrell was a candidate for the offensive coordinator position.)
Dorrell, 55, has more NFL experience than either of the other two, and according to a longtime associate is worthy of an offensive coordinator's position and would be an "excellent" wide receivers coach. Given his background, he would offer LaFleur valuable experience in handling quarterback Aaron Rodgers and coaching the entire team.
Dorrell began his NFL career as wide receivers coach for the Broncos under then-coach Mike Shanahan (2000-02) and hired Kyle Shanahan, head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, as a graduate assistant when he took the UCLA job in ’03.
Dorrell has experience in several different offenses, having worked under Tony Sparano in Miami (2008-11), Gary Kubiak in Houston (2012-13) and Chan Gailey and Jeremy Bates in New York. He was the offensive coordinator for Vanderbilt in 2014 but was fired after one season.
In his search for an offensive coordinator, LaFleur initially had his eye on a pair of 49ers offensive coaches: his brother Mike, the passing game coordinator, and Mike McDaniel, the running game coordinator. But he knew it would be difficult to pry either one from Kyle Shanahan, who would have had to approve a request from LaFleur to interview or hire either one.
As thought, Shanahan was not willing to let either go, so LaFleur began looking elsewhere.
In Hackett, 39, he is pursuing someone he had no previous connections with but who had developed a good reputation in 2017 when the Jaguars ranked sixth in yards and fifth in scoring. However, the offense tanked this year and Hackett was fired in November, although some felt the play of quarterback Blake Bortles was the primary reason the offense was so bad.
In Monken, 52, LaFleur is pursuing a coordinator he beat out for the Packers' job. Monken interviewed with the Packers the day before LaFleur did. He also interviewed for the Jets head-coaching position, which was given to former Dolphins coach Adam Gase.
In three years Monken turned a Southern Mississippi program that was 0-12 the year before he got there into champions of Conference USA’s West Division. He left to become Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator in ’16 and served there until coach Dirk Koetter and the entire staff was fired.
It would be a huge coup if LaFleur were able to land two of the three candidates, given their experience and offensive acumen. He is going to be teaching the Packers a new system and at the same time figuring out what it takes to be a head coach, so he’ll need all the help he can get on offense.
The Packers have also shown interest in Dolphins special teams coach Darren Rizzi, but other teams were heavily involved and they are no more likely to land him than anyone else.
It doesn’t appear LaFleur will have many assistants from the McCarthy era on his staff. According to ESPN.com, offensive line coach James Campen is interviewing with the Cleveland Browns, which means the Packers have given him permission to find another job.
However, LaFleur has met with Campen, according to a source, and there have been no reports of LaFleur interviewing an offensive line coach from another team.
The Packers have also reportedly allowed interim coach Joe Philbin and wide receivers coach David Raih to pursue other jobs. Both are longtime associates of McCarthy and neither is expected back.
Tight ends coach Brian Angelichio is one of the assistants guaranteed to return. He has ties to LaFleur through Kyle Shanahan and has been told he will be retained. There has been no indication that running backs coach Ben Sirmans won’t be back with the team.