Wednesday, January 24, 2007

This news is a bit stale by now, but the Packers new offensive coordinator is Joe Philbin. Since Mike McCarthy is calling the plays, Philbin's hiring shouldn't have much effect on the offense in 2007. It is interesting that Philbin is left over from the Mike Sherman era. Another interesting bit of news is that Winston Moss was named assistant head coach, usually a label slapped on a coach to prevent him from leaving to a coordinator's position with another team. For example, Andy Reid was given the assistant head coach title in the 1990s. Reid only left because he was offered Philadelphia's head coaching position. I wasn't too excited about Moss's hiring last spring since he was leaving New Orleans which had one of the worst groups of linebackers in the NFL. Although LB A.J. Hawk had a solid rookie season, it would have been a major disappointment if he didn't. LB Nick Barnett had another solid season, but also developed more of a tendency to overpursue. LB Brady Poppinga got better as the season went on after playing very poorly in pass coverage early in the season. Rookie LB Abdul Hodge never showed enough to beat out Poppinga, although he returned an INT for a TD during his only start at Seattle while Barnett was out with a broken hand. Those four linebackers combined for 24 pass defenses in 2006 which was a major improvement on the pathetic 9 pass defenses recorded by the top 2005 LBs Barnett, Na'il Diggs, Robert Thomas, and Paris Lenon. Barnett alone went from 2 to 8, while Poppinga went from zero to 5. Maybe the Packers knew teams were interested in Moss as defensive coordinator after a solid season for a group of mostly inexperienced linebackers.

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