Saturday, January 21, 2006

D-Coordinator still up for grabs; "Super Mario" on tap?

After nailing down most of his coaching staff this past week, new Packers head coach Mike McCarthy still has yet to settle on perhaps his most important staff pick: defensive coordinator.

According to reports, the following are the top four candidates still in the running for the job: Packers defensive line coach Bob Sanders, former Buffalo defensive coordinator Jerry Gray, former New York Jets defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson and former Houston Texans defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. McCarthy held personal interviews with each candidate, which seems like something any coach would do. But apparently, this is not always the case. Tennessee refused to let the Pack interview assistant head coach/linebackers coach Dave McGinnis and Tampa Bay refused to let the Pack interview linebackers coach Joe Barry. According to reports, both would have been strong candidates for the job.

Sanders seems to be the leading candidate based upon his familiarity with the team, reputation within the organization, and knowledge of the scheme former defensive coordinator Jim Bates used.

While the defensive coordinator is a key to shaping the personality of the defensive unit, the personnel available to the coordinator is the ultimate determiner of how successful a defense can be. That's GM Ted Thompson's job. With a boatload of money available and the #5 draft pick, it's time to upgrade the defense. Mel Kiper, Jr.'s and other initial mock drafts have the Pack picking "Super" Mario Williams, defensive end out of NC State. If you care to read a draft report about him, click here. Can't be all bad picking for not only a great need on the Packers, but also a player that is described in some reports as "the best defensive end in college football."