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Monday, February 13, 2012
On the Packers' coaching shuffle

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Who knew that the departure of offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, who neither called plays nor coached a position, would lead to a significant shuffling of the Green Bay Packers' offensive coaching staff?

The final staff, announced Monday morning, covered some previously known territory but also provided a few revelations. In the end, here is how the dominos fell after Philbin left to become the Miami Dolphins' head coach:
  1. Quarterbacks coach Tom Clements was promoted to offensive coordinator.
  2. Tight ends coach Ben McAdoo replaced Clements as quarterbacks coach.
  3. Running backs coach Jerry Fontenot replaced McAdoo as tight ends coach.
  4. Alex Van Pelt, a longtime friend of coach Mike McCarthy, was hired to replace Fontenot as running backs coach.

Two offensive position coaches will remain in their 2011 jobs: Receivers coach Edgar Bennett, who made the jump from receivers coach in 2010, and offensive line coach James Campen.

McCarthy has said on several occasions that he values coaching ability over specific playing experience, explaining why he has been so willing over the years to swap assistants. Here's how Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel put it via Twitter: "#Packers now have a QB as RBs coach, a TE as QBs coach, an OL as TEs coach and a RB as WRs coach. Go figure."

Indeed, Van Pelt played nine seasons as an NFL quarterback and has focused on quarterbacks for most of his coaching career. McAdoo never played the quarterback position, Fontenot was an NFL center for 16 years and Bennett spent eight seasons as a running back for the Packers.

I'm not going to get too worked up about McCarthy's mixing and matching. You would be surprised if you examine the career histories of coaches through the NFL; many of them took meandering paths to their current area of expertise. It might be unusual for a staff with so many former NFL players to have so many people "out of position," but if anything it speaks to McCarthy's confidence in his program's ability to foster career expansion.