"You're Leaving Green Bay, Coach Sanders? Can We, Um, Have a Ride?"
When Mike Stock retired as Packers special-teams coach, I wasn't that surprised. When Bob Sanders was fired as the defensive coordinator, it was a move I expected. But when the entire defensive coaching staff, sans Winston Moss, was axed? That caught me a little off guard.
Joining Sanders in the mass exodus will be defensive ends coach Carl Hairston, defensive tackles coach Robert Nunn, secondary coach Kurt Schottenheimer and nickel package/cornerbacks coach Lionel Washington. Also getting the ax? Strength and conditioning coordinator Rock Gullickson.
There are a few things at play here as to why the entire defensive staff was shown the door. Even after one bad season, this isn't something that usually happens. My guess is that McCarthy was told that if he wanted to keep his job, he was going to have to make some radical changes. The easiest place to do that would be on defense.
I'm also going to guess that this means Winston Moss will not be the defensive coordinator. If that was the case, wouldn't they just have promoted him along with these moves? Surely, if Moss was the defensive coordinator, he'd want a couple of guys on his staff he was familiar with, right? Todd at the Brew Town Beat has this suggestion: Moss was retained as a courtesy, so the team doesn't destroy his chances at a head coaching job or other teams DC spot.
If the next guy to lead the defense isn't Moss, then it's very likely the Packers already have their new defensive coordinator lined up. The purging of the staff means the Packers would likely let the new coach bring in his personnel. Some suggested that gutting the staff might mean the Packers might switch to a 3-4, but others have noted that they just don't have the players for a system like that (more specifically Aaron Kampman and Cullen Jenkins).
Either way, the Packers are going to be in for some big changes next year. Here's hoping the moves are for the better.
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