"All I can tell you is I've got a great job here as the offensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers," Philbin said on Tuesday evening. "I would think that thousands of guys would trade places with me. Anything more than that, I really don't have anything to say, other than that there is no substance to it. I've got a great job where I'm at, love what I'm doing. We've got a group of guys that has worked extremely hard and they're doing some good things, and I'm looking forward to seeing this thing through."
Philbin, who earned his master's degree in education from Tulane in 1986, broke into the coaching ranks as a graduate assistant at the school in 1984 and 1985. He's never been a head coach at any level, as he's worked his way from the offensive line coach at Worcester Tech in 1986 and 1987 to the offensive line coach at Iowa from 1999 through 2002.
He joined the Packers as an assistant offensive line coach in 2003, added tight ends to those duties in 2004 and 2005 and was named offensive line coach when Mike McCarthy was hired in 2006. He took over as offensive coordinator in 2007.
As the coordinator of the league's best offense for the league's best team, Philbin might be considered a hot coaching prospect. But since the offensive-minded McCarthy calls the plays on Sundays, Philbin's role isn't as well known — a fact he made light of on Tuesday.
"A lot of people wonder about (what he does)," he joked. "That's a great question. Again, as I've said many times, and I believe this 100 percent, having been an assistant coach for 28 years, I think the lifeblood of your football team is the assistant coaches, the relationship they have with those players, their ability to help their players reach their potential."
McCarthy, who said he was unaware of the Tulane rumors, said Philbin is "as fine of a football coach as I've been around." McCarthy praised his squad of assistant coaches as the best in football, and as the Packers continue having success, it's a certainty that some of those coaches will be given opportunities elsewhere.
McCarthy, however, isn't worried that his staff is spending more time working on their resumes than the week's game plan.
"That's part of being a manager. That's part of my job description," he said. "I don't see any let up. We got to drink from the big cup last year, hold the Lombardi Trophy up high and that's our focus. I don't think that'll be an issue with this group of men. I have a lot of respect for the character of our coaching staff."
Bob Toledo resigned as Toledo's coach in October after a 2-5 start, with offensive line coach Mark Hutson serving as interim coach. Tulane has produced some top players, ranging from Max McGee to Matt Forte, but hasn't finished with a winning record since 2002 or a conference championship since 1998. Those are the only bowl seasons since 1987. Ten of its last 11 coaches have departed with losing records.
So, Tulane would be a challenge to turnaround, though at age 50, there would have to be some intrigue.
"Our job is pretty simple: It's to put these guys in a position to be successful schematically, technique-wise, fundamental-wise, hopefully help them develop, believe it or not, in my corny old-fashioned world, as people, as men. And that's your job, and that's what you do," Philbin said.
"Who gets the credit, who came up with this idea or that idea, if you're in coaching for the right reasons, none of that stuff matters. So, we all kind of pitch in, we work hard, we like being here. ... I think we've got a dedicated quality staff that works hard. I don't think any of us are geniuses. We're all guys that like the sport, we're passionate about it, passionate about our players, so it's fun. It's fun to be around. But all the other stuff, that all takes care of itself at the end of the day."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.