Philbin, McKenzie Are in Demand

Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin will be interviewed by the Chiefs; the Raiders plan to interview director of football operations Reggie McKenzie for their general manager vacancy. That and some on-the-field news from Wednesday's practice.

Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin will interview for the Kansas City Chiefs' head coaching vacancy on Wednesday night.

The news was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter, who said the Chiefs have interviewed "multiple" candidates.

Philbin, 50, has been a Packers assistant coach since 2003 — his first NFL job after 20 years in the collegiate ranks — first as assistant offensive line coach. He was promoted to offensive coordinator by coach Mike McCarthy in 2007. 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.

"I think the world of Joe Philbin," McCarthy said after Wednesday's practiced. "The job that he's done here speaks for itself."

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 in a recent interview

"A lot of people wonder about (what he does)," he joked.

There's no question in receiver Greg Jennings' mind that Philbin, with a low-key personality and dry sense of humor, would be a capable head coach.

"I think one of the No. 1 things that Joe has done from my time being here, he's learned how to not only go across the board as far as knowing every position, but he's learned how to be an offensive coordinator," Jennings said. "Joe has done everything. He's kind of been like a quarterback. A quarterback kind of sits back and absorbs everything, and he takes on the brunt of everything during the week. He's like that behind-the-scenes guy, the quality control guy. They do so much, but they don't get hardly any of the recognition. Joe's like that. He does a ton. He runs all the walk-throughs, the meetings, all of that is Joe Philbin. He's comfortable being in front of the team and in front of the group, so he's going to be fine in that respect. Hopefully, it works out for him. I would hate to see him leave but it's a business, that's what it's all about is guys moving up."

Romeo Crennel, named interim coach after Todd Haley was fired with three games remaining, went 2-1 and has interviewed for the permanent position.

Philbin was rumored to be a candidate at Tulane, but the school hired New Orleans receivers coach Curtis Johnson on Dec. 5.

Raiders will interview McKenzie

The Oakland Raiders want a general manager in place in their restructured front office, and plan to interview Packers pro personnel director Reggie McKenzie.

McKenzie said in November that he had interest in becoming a general manager only if the job included traditional GM responsibilities. Coach Hue Jackson is a strong personality who is wielding significant power within the organization.

McKenzie has a strong recommendation from former Packers general manager and Raiders scout Ron Wolf, who hired McKenzie in 1994 as a pro scout. The endorsement is important consider Wolf is one of several personnel types advising Mark Davis, who is the son of Wolf's late friend and associate Al Davis. John Madden also has been involved in consulting Davis.

McKenzie has interviewed for general manager jobs before, including in 2008 with the Atlanta Falcons and 2007 with the Tennessee Titans.

Because the Packers granted McKenzie permission to interview, they are allowed under NFL hiring rules to deny permission to other candidates. John Dorsey, the team's longtime college scouting director, has been mentioned as a possibility for multiple jobs, including with the Chicago Bears. McKenzie, a friend of Bears coach Lovie Smith, is considered a candidate for that job and might be in the running for the same position with the St. Louis Rams. Owner Stan Kroenke said he wants a young, up-and-coming personnel man to become the general manager.

Starks

There won't be an injury report until next week and McCarthy had little interest talking about the health of his team. Running back James Starks, however, said he did "everything" during Wednesday's practice.

Since injuring an ankle against Tampa Bay in the 10th game, he's played in three games with 13 rushes and no catches.

"I think anybody who's had an ankle injury  know how they are," Starks said. "There ain't no telling what happens. You start feeling better and then you get hit the wrong way and you don't know what's going to happen. I'm starting to feel great."

Four-point stance

Matt Flynn was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for team records of 480 yards and six touchdowns in last week's comeback victory over Detroit. Flynn also won the FedEx Air Player of the Week and the GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Week, with those awards selected by fans who voted as NFL.com.

— McCarthy, on what he's trying to accomplish during this week's two practices: "I think the obvious is you're going to play the 4, 5 and 6 (seeds) and how the percentages of which one of those teams you're going to play. You look at that. The concepts of the three teams that you felt you probably needed to do a better job on in the prior games and we've done that. So, there were concepts involved in the Giants and the Falcons in today's practice. (Practice) was probably split 50-50 competitive, three periods of competitive, three periods of hard work of these concepts we want to work on. A huge part of it was fundamentals."

— McCarthy said the mental errors on defense have been a big emphasis during the bye week. "I think anytime you have the chance to have negative things go on with your football team it's definitely an opportunity to learn from it. Must have spent a good 60 minutes today with the defense taking a certain call or a certain concept, whether it's screens or deceptives and base calls and pressure calls and sharing what it's supposed to look like and the mistakes we've made in those calls."

Brad Jones, on tackling the 15-year-old who ran onto the field early in the fourth quarter: "Yeah, everybody asks me about it, probably every five minutes, kind of like now, but really, I was just cold. I don't understand how 10 security guards can't catch one little kid. So, it's all good."


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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 packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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