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Who Are the Packers’ Coaching Staff’s Rising Stars?

In Joe Philbin and Mike Pettine, the Green Bay Packers have an offensive and a defensive coordinator who have nowhere to rise to in the organization – unless the unthinkable happened. But what about the rest of the staff?

Even if coach Mike McCarthy’s new “game coordinators” idea is mostly semantics, it still tends to signify a promotion of sorts, and probably an extra $100,000 or so in annual pay.

So looking to that list of coordinators, offensive line coach James Campen got a pat on the back by also being named offensive run game coordinator.

On defense, Patrick Graham has been named defensive run game coordinator as well as the inside linebackers coach. He’s previously been both a defensive line coach and a linebackers coach under Bill Belichick in New England. I’m guessing that Graham, who was probably in demand around the league, also got a good bump in pay – glad to have him at any rate.

Jim Hostler, who was a receivers and a tight ends coach in previous jobs with the Colts, was named the offensive pass game coordinator. He didn’t get a second job title, however. Though the receivers coach job was opened up when Luke Getsy chose to return to college coaching, Hostler was passed over, and David Raih was moved up from being the Packers “offensive perimeter coach” – it sounds like Big Mike invented this job for the 2017 season, and has now retired it.

That leaves us with the fourth such coordinator, Joe Whitt, Jr., who’s been with the Packers since 2008. He was previously listed as cornerbacks coach on the Packers website. Now he is the defensive pass game coordinator.

Like Hostler, Whitt did not retain his former title. Instead, Jason Simmons nabbed the “secondary” coach title (wouldn’t defensive backfield coach sound better?). Simmons was formerly the assistant special teams coach.


I don’t blame you if you’ve stopped reading, but I’m searching for any clues as to how the unexpected coaching purge might play out.

I do think Patrick Graham’s hiring is significant. At age 39, his career is definitely on the rise.

I’d say David Raih got a big boost, and lord knows there’s a need for more production out of the Packers’ receivers. I’d say he’s about 37, and looks a bit like a younger Jon Gruden. Raih was a quarterback at Iowa from 1999 through 2003.

Jason Simmons, age 41, has gone from being an administrative assistant (2011-14), to assistant special teams (2015-17), to having a full-fledged coaching position. That’s a speedy progression. He formerly had a 10-year career as a safety with the Steelers and the Texans.

When he introduced his new coaching staff member on January 24, coach McCarthy said “We need to take advantage of the energy, the enthusiasm, and really all of the new experience that has come to the coaching staff.”

While I’m unable to rate the talent or prospects of the above three coaches, I will give Big Mike credit for putting some young guys into meaningful positions on his staff.

This might be a case where any change is a good thing for a staff that had lost its edge in the last few years.

Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.



  1. Empacador February 5, 2018

    Don’t kid yourself Rob. All these fancy titles are simply McCarthy telling himself he is edgy and still relevant. Like these titles are gonna change how Pettine does defense or change McCarthy into an offensive juggernaut on the cutting edge of NFL trends. Wonder if he learned anything from Pederson in the Super Bowl last night? I can hear him sucking wind through his teeth second guessing everything Pederson did due to not aligning with the odds/metrics as McCarthy sees them.

  2. Cheese February 5, 2018

    I heard an interview where Philbin said it’s his job to make McCarthy look like the best playcaller in the league. I guess he was good at doing his job, because McCarthy hasn’t done much since Philbin left.