NFC North: Lionel Washington
Minnesota defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier appears very much in the running for the St. Louis Rams' head coaching job. The Detroit Lions'? Not so much -- meaning it's possible the Lions are wrapping up their 18-day search for a new head coach.
Frazier spoke Wednesday with Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune and said he had no second interview scheduled with the Lions, as had been previously reported. Considering the Lions have already conducted at least two second interviews, it's reasonable to assume he is not on the team's short list.
The Lions have brought Tennessee defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and Miami assistant head coach/defensive backs Todd Bowles back to Detroit to meet with owner William Clay Ford. And according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Lions gave Chargers defensive coordinator Ron Rivera a first interview Wednesday in Houston, site of the East-West Shrine game.
If the Lions have more interviews scheduled, no one has reported them. Anything could change at any time, but it's possible the Lions will choose between Schwartz and Bowles in the coming days. (Rivera would have to be brought back to Detroit if he becomes a finalist.) As John Niyo of the Detroit News points out, every passing day will make it more difficult for the Lions' next coach -- whomever he is -- to assemble a desirable coaching staff.
The clock is ticking.
With that bit of drama, let's continue an early-morning sweep around the division:
- Frazier could learn his fate with the Rams by the end of this week. He told Zulgad: "I felt really good about the interview. I had no second guesses about, 'Maybe I should have said this or that.' I put everything out there that needed to be out there and now it's a matter of if I'm the right fit for what they're looking for."
- Chicago cornerback Charles Tillman underwent reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder Wednesday, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times. Tillman played most of 2008 with injuries to both shoulders and is expected to make a full recovery in time for training camp.
- Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel suggests the Packers give consideration to Carolina secondary coach Tim Lewis as their next defensive coordinator. Lewis played for the Packers from 1983-86.
- Former Packers secondary coach Lionel Washington has been hired in the same role by Oakland, according to WBAY in Wisconsin.
Yikes. The National Football Post, a Web site that has multiple connections inside the Green Bay organization, is reporting Monday morning that the Packers have fired every defensive coach with the exception of assistant head coach/linebackers Winston Moss.
The Post reported Sunday that defensive coordinator Bob Sanders was fired, news that has since been confirmed by the Wisconsin State Journal. But Monday's report means that defensive ends coach Carl Hairston, defensive tackles coach Robert Nunn, secondary coach Kurt Schottenheimer, cornerbacks coach Lionel Washington and defensive quality control coach Joe Whitt Jr. are all out as well.
UPDATE (1:48 p.m. ET): Whitt was not among the six coaches the Packers named in a press release confirming the news.
Moss is a well-regarded assistant and has interviewed for the St. Louis Rams' open head coach position.
The Packers announced the retirement of special teams coordinator Mike Stock last week.
If these moves all come to fruition, McCarthy would have effected tremendous staff turnover following a 6-10 season. It also means that the candidates he has in mind as Sanders' replacement -- Mike Nolan and Jim Haslett are among those being mentioned -- are veteran coordinators who would want their own staff of defensive assistants. It's also possible that Moss will get the job but will not have to perform the dirty work of firing former colleagues.
Finally, McCarthy seems poised to enter 2009 with an entirely new set of coordinators in comparison to the group he hired three years ago. His original offensive coordinator, Jeff Jagodzinski, left after the 2006 season to take the head coaching job at Boston College.