Reports are starting to leak the names of the first couple head coaching candidates interviewed by team president Mark Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst. Former NFL head coaches Jim Caldwell and Chuck Pagano have reportedly visited the Packers recently inquiring about the job. Both have been out of the league for the 2018 season waiting for an opportunity like the one to be had in Green Bay. However, while the front office was expected to explore possibilities outside the current staff, current players are hoping that interim head coach Joe Philbin will be the front-runner once the season ends.
“I have zero clue (who the next coach will be), but I’d love for him to be. I’d love if the search stopped there, just because he’s aware of how I feel about him,” said receiver Davante Adams.
Keeping Philbin on would be a rocky move considering Mike McCarthy, the guy who brought him back to Green Bay, was fired only a month ago. The Packers appear to want to change the course of the franchise and it may not happen by sticking with a guy who has an extensive history with the team.
Green Bay’s offense has sputtered too often in 2018 with Philbin as the coordinator. By keeping Philbin on they risk having more of the same vanilla concepts that have led to their current problems.
Aaron Rodgers has had a down year per his standards but even he has been outspoken about Philbin possibly maintaining his current position.
“We want to play for Joe and give him the best opportunity possible,” Rodgers said after last Sunday’s overtime win against the New York Jets.
Players are obviously not going to come out and snub their coach, but they have responded well to Philbin. Following their abysmal loss to the Arizona Cardinals, the game after which McCarthy was fired, the Packers answered with a 34-20 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Then, they hung tight with the NFC North Champion Chicago Bears in week 15 and had an exciting come from behind win on the road this past Sunday. The only thing the players can do for Philbin is play well and finish strong against the Detroit Lions to conclude the season.
Say what you want about Philbin’s chances but he’s actually exceeding expectations considering where this team was headed. It will come down to his interview and how he envisions this team’s rebound from missing the playoffs two years in a row and getting Rodgers back to playing at an MVP level.
For now, he has Murphy and Gutekunst’s full attention.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.