NFC North: Larry MacDuff

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy apparently has taken an in important step in re-assembling his coaching staff, selecting Shawn Slocum as his next special teams coordinator. Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the story.

Slocum was the assistant to former special teams coordinator Mike Stock, who announced his retirement earlier this month. At least two other outside candidates interviewed: Kansas City special teams coach Mike Priefer and former San Francisco special teams coach Larry MacDuff.

Now McCarthy can turn his full attention to hiring a defensive coordinator. Tuesday, Jim Haslett became the third known candidate to interview for the job. Following the decision of Mike Nolan to join Denver and the apparent desire of Gregg Williams to return to Tennessee or go to New Orleans, Haslett might be the Packers' top candidate at this point. He is also a finalist for the St. Louis Rams' head coaching job.

Another possibility is Philadelphia defensive backs coach Sean McDermott.

Continuing around the NFC North:

  • Mike Mulligan of the Chicago Sun-Times believes Bears coach Lovie Smith is trying too hard to protect defensive coordinator Bob Babich. (Babich will retain his title while Smith will call the defensive signals.) Writes Mulligan: "Noble as his desire may be to cover up for his friend Babich, the loyalty he's showing one man is disloyal to all others in the organization. How did his bosses ever sign off on this idea? Are they looking to get rid of Smith?"
  • David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune supports Smith's decision to take a more active role in the defense: "In putting defensive play-calling back on the table for himself, Smith did what good leaders do. He played to his staff's strengths while removing any doubt or ambiguity as to whom should be held accountable if the defense fails."
  • During his Tuesday conference call, Smith also reiterated his support for Kyle Orton as the 2009 starter, according to Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald. Smith suggested that comments from general manager Jerry Angelo on the position were intended to address the need for a replacement to backup Rex Grossman, a pending free agent.
  • During a news conference with Detroit reporters, Miami assistant head coach/defensive backs Todd Bowles said he would follow a structure set by longtime mentor Bill Parcells if the Lions hire him as head coach. That includes a desire for the 3-4 defense. Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press has details.
  • Minnesota defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was in Los Angeles on Tuesday to continue interviews for the St. Louis head coaching job, according to Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune. Frazier is scheduled to return to Detroit on Thursday for a second interview.

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