Ron Zook

Packers Notes: McDaniel, Hackett, Zook

The Packers have inquired on 49ers run game coordinator Mike McDaniel in their search for a new offensive coordinator, tweets Tom Pelissero of NFL.com. However, San Francisco already denied permission for the Cardinals to interview McDaniel for their OC job, and it’s likely the Niners will do the same if Green Bay officially comes calling. McDaniel, who is extremely familiar with the Kyle Shanahan/Sean McVay offense, served as an offensive assistant for the Falcons from 2015-16 while new Packers head coach Matt LaFleur was Atlanta’s quarterbacks coach.

Here’s more from Green Bay:

  • While McDaniel may not be an option for the Packers, he’s not the only option LaFleur are considering. Former Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is also on Green Bay’s radar, per Tim Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link). The Packers could have competition within the NFC North, as Hackett is reportedly also in the mix for the Lions’ open offensive coordinator position. Hackett called plays in Jacksonville for parts of three seasons before being fired in November.
  • The Packers will not retain special teams coordinator Ron Zook, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com (Twitter links). Zook, a former collegiate head coach at both Florida and Illinois, joined Green Bay in 2014 and took over as the club’s ST coach the following year. 2018 wasn’t a banner year for the Packers’ special teams crew, as the unit ranked 28th in Football Outsiders‘ special teams ratings, including dead last on punt returns. Bengals assistant special teams coach Brayden Coombs could potentially be a candidate to replace Zook, a source tells Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link).
  • The Vikings have “vetted” Packers offensive line coach James Campen for the same position, according to Silverstein (Twitter link). Campen finished his playing career in Green Bay and has been a coach there since 2004. At this point, it’s unclear if LaFleur wants to retain Campen, but he’s expected to have offers if he’s not kept on the Packers’ staff. Minnesota also received permission to interview former Packers interim head coach Joe Philbin for their offensive line gig.

Packers Announce Coaching Changes

12:05pm: McCarthy confirmed at his press conference that Clements will call the offensive plays for the Packers in 2015, tweets Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

11:58am: The Packers have confirmed a handful of previously reported coaching changes, announcing today in a press release that the team has made changes on both sides of the ball, and named a pair of new special teams assistants as well. The new titles on Mike McCarthy‘s staff are as follows:

  • Tom Clements: Associate head coach/offense
  • Edgar Bennett: Offensive coordinator
  • Alex Van Pelt: Quarterbacks and wide receivers coach
  • Mike Solari: Assistant offensive line coach
  • Jerry Montgomery: Defensive front assistant
  • Ron Zook: Special teams coordinator
  • Jason Simmons: Assistant special teams coach

While the press release doesn’t mention anything about the Packers’ offensive play calls, McCarthy is expected to hand over the reins on play-calling to Clements as part of his promotion. Clements had previously been Green Bay’s offensive coordinator, while McCarthy called the plays, and now it appears that Bennett will be the OC while Clements calls plays.

McCarthy will speak to local reporters at the top of the hour to confirm the changes.

North Notes: Ravens, Farmer, Suh

Haloti Ngata‘s future is the most pressing question facing the Ravens this offseason, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com. Ngata, 31, is set to count $16MM against Baltimore’s cap in 2015. While he did rate as the ninth-best 3-4 defensive end among 47 qualifiers per Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Ngata was suspended for four games after violating the league’s PED policy. Hensley also expects the Ravens to target players who get cut in free agency. He lists some names to watch, including Bucs receiver Vincent Jackson, 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, and Jets running back Chris Johnson. Here’s a look at the AFC and NFC North..

  • Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has the latest on the TextGate controversy, reporting that Browns GM Ray Farmer actually sent messages to a non-coaching employee on the sidelines who then relayed those messages to the coaching staff. Florio also surmises that Farmer could be something of a “fall guy” for the scandal, adding that owner Jimmy Haslam could have been the one directing Farmer.
  • The Lions are expressing confidence that they’ll retain Ndamukong Suh, but that doesn’t mean much to Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com since they’ve been saying the same thing for a year now. Until something is signed or announced, Rothstein cautions fans not to fully believe that Suh will be back. In theory, the Lions could also use the franchise tag to keep Suh, but that would cost them upwards of $26MM.
  • More from Rothstein, who looked at impending Lions free agent Dan Orlovsky. The 10-year veteran was signed to back up starter Matthew Stafford and, fortunately for Detroit, Stafford did not miss a snap all year. Rothstein says it wouldn’t be surprising to see Orlovsky back with Detroit when considering his experience and low cost.
  • Packers linebacker Sam Barrington broke a bit of news on Twitter today when he congratulated Ron Zook on becoming the team’s new special teams coordinator. Zook, of course, previously served as head coach at the University of Florida and the University of Illinois.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this post.

NFC Notes: Randle, Guion, Lions, Peterson

As first reported by KAKE.com, Cowboys running back Joseph Randle was arrested in Wichita early this morning on a drug charge after officers responsded to a call and found marijuana in his hotel room. Randle’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, contended (via Twitter) that his client was simply cited with a ticket rather than being arrested, but Wichita police says it’s still considered an arrest even though Randle wasn’t taken into custody, tweets David Moore of the Dallas Morning News. As Joel Corry of CBSSports.com points out (via Twitter), Randle’s latest off-field incident may have the side effect of giving DeMarco Murray some leverage in contract negotiations with the Cowboys this winter.

Another arrest that could have an effect on free agency leads off this afternoon’s NFC notes — let’s dive in….

  • Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion, a prospective free agent, was arrested for possession of marijuana in Starke, Florida late Tuesday night, reports Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. The timing of the incident was unfortunate for Guion, who had been engaged in talks with the Packers about a long-term deal, and had just been the subject of a glowing article from Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.com. Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter links) has more details on what police found on Guion, including a firearm, $190K+ in U.S. currency, and 357 grams of marijuana.
  • Ron Zook, who worked as the Packers‘ assistant special teams coach this past season, is the favorite to become the club’s new special teams coordinator, writes Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  • The Lions may have a need at cornerback if they don’t re-sign Rashean Mathis, and veteran Charles Tillman of the division-rival Bears wouldn’t rule out the possibility of heading to Detroit, writes Kyle Meinke of MLive.com.
  • Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press previews Friday’s federal court hearing, which will pit suspended Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and the NFLPA against the NFL.

Extra Points: Carr, Smith, Iupati, Zook

One of the top quarterbacks in the 2014 draft, Derek Carr, told 95.7 The Game (audio link) that he is undecided about taking part in the Indianapolis combine. The signal caller out of Fresno State has consulted with his brother, former first overall pick David Carr, about the decision but has yet to reach a conclusion. Derek is unlikely to go first overall when the Texans pick in May, but he could be a first round pick if he impresses the right team. More from around the NFL..

  • Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith saw his 2014 salary of $3.45MM become guaranteed today, cap expert Joel Corry tells Terez A. Paylor of the Kansas City Star (via Twitter). With that kind of financial commitment, it’s a virtual guarantee that he’ll be back with KC in 2014.
  • There are several factors that could complicate a possible extension for 49ers guard Mike Iupati, explains Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. Guards aren’t as valued as other positions and there could be a sizable gap that makes it unlikely that a fresh deal for Iupati will be a top priority for SF. Meanwhile, without an enticing offer, Iupati would probably be happy to hit the open market after the 2014 season.
  • Earlier today the Packers announced their coaching staff for the upcoming season. Four newcomers have joined the staff while five others acquired new titles. Among the newcomers: former University of Illinois and University of Florida head coach Ron Zook, who will now be pitching in on special teams.