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Joe Philbin is now the former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator, having accepted the head coaching job with the Miami Dolphins. Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Joe Philbin headed to South Florida ... now what?

With the announcement last night that Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin will be taking the helm as the head coach of the Miami Dolphins, huge decisions now face Packers coach Mike McCarthy about how to fill the vacancy and what other coaches and players may follow.

The announcement isn’t a shocker for the Packers given the fact that Philbin interviewed twice with the Dolphins and has certainly earned the right to become a head coach – helping to build and develop the Packers’ vaunted offense behind the play of star quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Philbin is ready to make the move. He’s been with the Packers for nearly 10 years and has earned his stripes. And without question, his move comes at the right time. Surely he enjoyed his time in Green Bay, but the loss of his son to drowning two weeks ago probably gives him good reason for a new venue for himself and his family. There’s something to say about getting a fresh start in a new situation.

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Philbin was positive in the statement he made following the announcement:

“The Dolphins have a strong nucleus to build around, and working with everyone in the organization, I know that together we will return the team to its winning tradition. I have seen how much the fans in South Florida care about the Dolphins, and that passion is one reason why I’m really excited to be here. I’m looking forward to their support, and I can’t wait to get started.”

McCarthy’s relationship with Philbin was strong, as evidenced last week when the head coach broke down while talking about the tragedy his offensive coordinator was facing.

Green Bay’s head coach also talked about the traits that will make Philbin a strong head coach:

“You start personally with his character. He’s a family man, a very respected individual on our staff. Professionally, I think he’s an outstanding communicator. Very knowledgeable. Great work ethic. He had all the qualities that you’re looking for.”

But as he leaves a large hole in the Packers’ coaching staff, the big decisions for McCarthy are two-fold: With whom should he fill it and whether he will allow any of his other assistant coaches to go with him to Florida.

Tom Clements, who is said to have interviewed for the head coaching job at Tampa Bay and was an offensive coordinator at Buffalo in 2004-05, is believed to be a frontrunner for the job. So is wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett.

Another burning question might be whether Philbin may try to take quarterback Matt Flynn with him. Flynn is a free agent and is expected to demand a starting quarterback’s salary when he goes shopping for a new team. Miami would be a good target for Flynn. Matt Moore was the Dolphins’ starter at the end of last season, but the Dolphins also still have Chad Henne on their roster.

Though Philbin is the first of McCarthy’s assistants to take a head coaching position with another team, there has been speculation that defensive coordinator Dom Capers and linebackers/assistant head coach Winston Moss may be in line for the head job at Oakland. However, neither has believed to have had an interview with former Packers administrator Reggie McKenzie who is now the GM with the Raiders.

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Tags: Aaron Rodgers Buffalo Bills Chad Henne Dom Capers Edgar Bennett Green Bay Packers Joe Phibin Matt Flynn Matt Moore Miami Dolphins Mike McCarthy Oakland Raiders Reggie McKenzie Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ted Thompson Tom Clements Winston Moss

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