Green Bay Packers: Reggie McKenzie

A roundup of what's happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

The Packers aren't expected to grant the Washington Redskins permission to interview one of their top personnel executives, Alonzo Highsmith.

Over the weekend, the Washington Post reported that new Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan sought permission from the Packers to talk to Highsmith about a position in his scouting department.

Because it's not a general manager position, Packers general manager Ted Thompson can decline the request. He's expected to do so in this case.

Thompson was in Pittsburgh most of the day Sunday attending services for coach Mike McCarthy's brother, Joe, who died last week. Thompson returned to Green Bay on Sunday evening, but it was not known if he had formally declined the Redskins' request yet.

McCloughan worked in the Packers' scouting department from 1994 to 1999.

Highsmith has been with the Packers for 16 seasons and was promoted to senior personnel executive in 2012. That makes him one of Thompson's top advisers along with Eliot Wolf and Brian Gutekunst. Wolf was promoted to director of player personnel earlier this month. Gutekunst is the team's director of college scouting.

In 2009, those three spots belonged to John Schneider, Reggie McKenzie and John Dorsey. Since them, all three have become general managers in the NFL – Schneider with the Seattle Seahawks, McKenzie with the Oakland Raiders and Dorsey with the Kansas City Chiefs.

In case you missed it from Best of the rest:
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Who knows how much longer the Green Bay Packers will be able to keep Eliot Wolf around, but his promotion to director of player personnel on Friday should help them do so for a while.

The 32-year-old son of former Packers general manager Ron Wolf is widely considered to be a future NFL general manager.

The younger Wolf joined the Packers' personnel department in 2004 as a pro personnel assistant and was promoted to assistant director of pro personnel in 2008 and director of pro personnel in 2011.

The Packers signed general manager Ted Thompson to a contract extension last summer that runs through the 2019 NFL draft so if Eliot Wolf is next in line, he will have to wait out Thompson. Wolf is one of Thompson's top assistants along with senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith and director of college scouting Brian Gutekunst.

Those three could be the next generation of GM candidates to come from the Packers' personnel department, which has turned out Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider, Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie and Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey in the last six years.

Packers Mailbag: A fresher Eddie Lacy

December, 27, 2014
Each week, readers are invited to submit questions about the Green Bay Packers via Twitter using the hashtag #PackersMail. In the final regular-season edition, let's address some of the hot topics heading into Sunday's finale against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field:

Demovsky: No question about it. If you think back to Eddie Lacy at this time last year, he had that sprained ankle that dogged him off and on for the entire month of December. He even missed the entire second half of the Week 16 game against the Steelers and then failed to reach 100 yards in either the finale against the Bears or the playoff loss to the 49ers. He was clearly worn down. He'll end up playing about the same number of snaps (or possibly even a few more) this season, but he should be in better shape for the playoffs than he was last season, barring a setback on Sunday against the Lions.

Demovsky: That would be a solid argument. Go back and watch the tape of the Week 3 game in Detroit, and you'll see how the Lions' front dominated. They have to do a better job of controlling Ndamukong Suh on the inside and the Lions' ends on the outside, and they know it based on some of their comments this week. That's not just on the offensive line but the tight ends as well. Richard Rodgers' blocking was atrocious in that game. The Packers believe he's much better now. If the Packers can run the ball against that front, it will open up all kinds of possibilities for Aaron Rodgers.

Demovsky: This might be the time for the Packers to use more starters on special teams. In fact, last week, we finally saw guard T.J. Lang back on the field goal protection unit. He had not played there since he sprained his ankle while blocking on an extra point in Week 8. As far as the return game goes, perhaps there was some foreshadowing when receiver Randall Cobb was named a special teams captain last week. Cobb has been a part-time punt returner, but this might be the time we see him on kickoff returns, too. DuJuan Harris hasn't offered anything special on kickoffs, and coach Mike McCarthy said this week, "I think we have a chance to improve here down the stretch. And when you play in the winter months up here, this is when the return game has to factor." Former Packers coach Mike Holmgren used to use players like Antonio Freeman and Robert Brooks as kick returners in the playoffs even though they rarely did it during the regular season.

Demovsky: On the general manager side of things, that's not a surprise given the attrition in Ted Thompson's office after losing John Schneider to Seattle, Reggie McKenzie to Oakland and John Dorsey to Kansas City over the last five years. But there's another crop of up-and-comers in the Packers' personnel office that will get their shot at GM jobs soon. Don't be surprised to hear Eliot Wolf, Alonzo Highsmith and Brian Gutekunst mentioned for GM jobs. On the coaching side of things, there may not be any head coaches in waiting but plenty who could get coordinator jobs -- that is if their contracts allow them to leave. McCarthy can block any of them from being interviewed if they aren't in the final year of their contract.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Lately, it seems like whenever a team goes looking for a general manager, their eyes turn toward the Packers.

In the last four years, three teams have plucked members of the Packers' personnel staff for GM hires. In 2010, the Seattle Seahawks hired John Schneider. In 2012, the Oakland Raiders hired Reggie McKenzie. And last year, the Kansas City Chiefs hired John Dorsey.

Could there be a fourth this year?

According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, Packers senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith is on the radar of two teams, the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, looking for new leadership in their scouting departments.

Highsmith is a Florida native and a University of Miami graduate. He has been with the Packers since 1999, when he was hired as an area scout. He was promoted to his current position in May 2012.

According to people around the league, it would not be surprising to see Highsmith or any of the other top-level scouts in the Packers' personnel department eventually get a chance at a general manager job. Director of college scouting Brian Gutekunst and director of pro personnel Eliot Wolf are also viewed as eventual GM candidates.

In case you missed it on
  • Packers coach Mike McCarthy revealed that he thought this past season might have been his best team with the Packers had injuries not derailed it.
  • With the season in the rear-view mirror, it’s not too early to look at the positions of greatest need in the upcoming draft.
  • Kevin Greene was named one of 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Although he never played for the Packers, were he to be inducted it would have some meaning around these parts because he coaches Green Bay’s outside linebackers.
  • Here’s No. 7 on our list of the top-10 plays that shaped the Packers’ season. No. 6 will be posted later on Friday. The top five will appear next week.
Best of the rest:
  • In the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Weston Hodkiewicz looked at what the Packers might do with their center position going forward.
  • In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tyler Dunne wrote that it wasn’t the fact that the Packers’ safeties failed to intercept one pass this season that bothered position coach Darren Perry, but rather it was the overall quality of play from that position that wasn’t good enough.