An updated list of potential head coach candidates for the Green Bay Packers.
After the Green Bay Packers decided to part ways from head coach Mike McCarthy a few weeks back, I put together a gut-reaction list of potential candidates to replace him. Since then we’ve gained a better understanding of who the Packers will be interviewing, and below is the updated list of candidates.
Now that this ugly 2018 season has officially come to an end, we can turn all of our focus to the offseason and the Green Bay Packers’ search for their new head coach.
As they should, president Mark Murphy and GM Brian Gutekunst are going to take their time with this process and vet a number of coaching options. As reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network: “The Packers are going to interview a ton of guys. Maybe 10, maybe 12.”
This is a decision that will dictate the rest of Aaron Rodgers‘ career in Green Bay and one that they absolutely need to get correct.
Josh McDaniels: Patriots Offensive Coordinator
Back in 2009-2010, Josh McDaniels was the head coach of the Denver Broncos, and although his first gig didn’t go as planned, there are instances where coaches have fared better their second time around.
For the past seven years McDaniels has been the offensive coordinator of the Patriots and has been a big reason for their continued success through the years on offense.
In New England, McDaniels has shown his ability to maximize a player’s potential while they are there; he uses running backs very creatively within the offense and makes Tom Brady‘s job much easier by scheming players open with ease.
Dave Toub: Chiefs Special Teams Coach
Over his career as a special teams coach, Toub has led some of the best special teams units in the league consistently year in and year out. Special teams is an area that has troubled the Green Bay Packers for a number of years, but it’s been even worse in 2018.
Toub is well-respected throughout the league and has interviewed for head coaching positions in the past.
However, there is a big risk involved in hiring Toub and that is going from a special teams coach to a head coach.
If the Packers did bring in Toub, hiring the correct offensive and defensive coordinators would be even more crucial so responsibilities can be delegated properly. Allowing Toub to focus more on the macro-responsibilities that comes with being a head coach.
Pat Fitzgerald: Northwestern University Head Coach
It has been reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network that the Green Bay Packers have heavy interest in interviewing Fitzgerald once Northwestern has played in their New Year’s Eve bowl game.
There is a strong connection between the Packers and Fitzgerald as Mark Murphy was the Athletic Director at Northwestern back in 2006 when he decided to hire Fitzgerald as head coach.
During his time at Northwestern, Fitzgerald has a record of 95-70, has brought the program back to a nationally ranked status and was named the 2018 Big Ten Coach of the Year.
A potential concern with Fitzgerald is that in recent years, college coaches haven’t had much success during their first attempt in the league.
Fitzgerald has drawn interest in the past from other NFL organizations and has turned them down. It remains to be seen if he will oblige Murphy and the Packers to sit down for an interview.
Adam Gase: Dolphins Head Coach
As I am writing this, Gase is still employed by the Miami Dolphins, but it is well known that he is on the hot seat and could be fired on Black Monday.
Gase took over as the Dolphins head coach in 2016 after serving as the Chicago Bears offensive coordinator in 2015. In his first season he led Miami to the playoffs but since then has a combined record of 13-19 and an offense that over the last two years has consistently been in the bottom tier of the NFL.
However, that doesn’t take away from what Gase can bring to the offensive side of the ball and could do well working with veteran Aaron Rodgers.
If he is let go, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Packers brought him in for an interview, but he could potentially be a better fit as an offensive coordinator.
Vic Fangio: Bears Defensive Coordinator
The longtime defensive coordinator has consistently put top-tier defenses on the field for a while now. He was a part of the San Francisco 49ers playoff runs and once he arrived in Chicago, Fangio turned around that Bears defense almost immediately.
During the Aaron Rodgers era, it has been the Packers defense that has constantly let this team down, and a team led by the Fangio could turn what has recently been a weakness into a strength.
Making Fangio the head coach would not only strengthen the Packers defense but it would weaken the Bears as well. And considering how well Chicago played this year, that wouldn’t be a bad thing.
In a league that is dominated by offenses, this would be a move that would go against the grain. And you also have to wonder what the locker room environment would be like led by the gruff Vic Fangio?
Eric Bieniemy: Chiefs Offensive Coordinator
In his first season as Chiefs offensive coordinator, Bieniemy hasn’t taken over play calling from head coach Andy Reid but he has played a role in making Kansas City’s offense one of the most explosive in the NFL.
Over the course of the week, Bieniemy will put together the play book and weekly game plans, helping to create an offense that is first in the league in yards per game and in points per game.
Bieniemy’s attention to detail is held in high regard and is an area that the Packers need to refocus on heading into the offseason after what was an incredibly sloppy 2018. This type of laser focus would also work well with Rodgers who works and thinks very similarly.
The last two offensive coordinators for the Chiefs under Reid have gone on to have great success as head coaches. Doug Pederson led the Eagles to a Super Bowl and Matt Nagy has taken the Bears to playoffs in his first season. Could Bieniemy be next?
Lincoln Riley: University of Oklahoma Head Coach
In recent months, Riley has been the hottest name in college football and has been touted by some as the next Sean McVay.
Riley has stated that he is very happy at Oklahoma and has no desire to leave. However, after another tough loss in the CFB playoffs, Riley could be up for a new challenge in the NFL.
He runs a very creative offense, however the flashy point and yard totals need to be taken with a grain of salt as most other teams in the Big 12 do this as well. A big unknown in hiring Riley is how his offense will adapt to the NFL.
Pete Carmichael Jr.: Saints Offensive Coordinator
Carmichael has been with New Orleans since 2006 when he began as the team’s quarterbacks coach.
As offensive coordinator, Carmichael has been a part of some great offenses alongside head coach Sean Payton, who has stated that he trusts Carmichael as much as anyone. High praises from a fantastic coach.
If Carmichael was hired, the hope would be that he would be able to channel Payton’s creativity with players such as Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram in a similar fashion with current Packers Davante Adams, Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, along with a Hall of Fame quarterback.
However a potential worry is that Carmichael doesn’t do any of the play calling, which begs the question, how much of the Saints success can be attributed to Carmichael and would he struggle as a head coach?
Matt LaFleur: Titans Offensive Coordinator
LaFleur may be one of the more under-the-radar candidates for the Packers but is one of the bright, young offensive minds in today’s NFL.
In recent seasons he has worked under Kyle Shanahan, as well as Sean McVay. This is LaFleur’s first season with full control of the play calling duties and he has put Tennessee on the brink of a playoff berth. But when it comes to yards per game and points per game, the Titans rank in the bottom third of the league.
As a quarterbacks coach in Atlanta, LaFleur went to the Super Bowl and as the offensive coordinator in Los Angeles, he was a part of one of the best offenses in 2017.
But similar to Carmichael in New Orleans, we have to wonder how much of the success that LaFleur has experienced can be attributed to what he has done, rather than working alongside Shanahan and McVay.