Sherman rounds out staff

Mike Sherman tweaked his coaching staff today by promoting Joe Philbin to tight ends coach and hiring popular former Packers center James Campen to fill Philbin's spot as assistant offensive line coach. Sherman also added former NFL head coach Vince Tobin as a special assistant.<p>

Philbin takes the place of Jeff Jagodzinski, who was fired at the end of the season by Sherman. Philbin was hired as Larry Beightol's assistant last year after coaching for 19 years at the collegiate level, mainly as an offensive line coach.

"I'm delighted to have this opportunity," Philbin said. "Coach Sherman and the coaching staff has the confidence in me to do this job. I want to be part of the Green Bay Packer organization, and part of this coaching staff and part of this football team. I'm just excited as heck about this opportunity and I'm not the least bit disappointed about coaching somewhere else."

Philbin, 42, will continue to work with the offensive linemen and, with Beightol and Campen, will give the Packers three coaches with offensive line responsibilities.

"I think Joe is a rising star. He has a lot of abilities. I believe by making him the tight end coach, he has the ability now to be more involved in the passing game. ... I think this gives him a chance to grow as a coach and assume more responsibility within the structure of the offense."

Campen, 39, started 42 of 48 Green Bay games from 1990-92. He had an opportunity to join the Philadelphia Eagles as an assistant offensive line coach in 1996 under Ray Rhodes, but turned down the offer. Since then, he has been a head coach for his former high school – Ponderosa –in northern California.

Campen came to the Packers as a Plan B addition from the New Orleans Saints in 1989. A fan favorite because of his aggressive style of play and enthusiasm, he played in 15 games for Green Bay in '89, then took over as the starter at center in 1990. Campen broke into the National Football League by talking his way into a free-agent contract with the New Orleans Saints in 1986 after going undrafted. Waived during training camp, he made the New Orleans roster in 1987 on his second try and started three games for the Saints. He was active for 12 games in 1988, and played in three.

"The fact that I've been coaching for the past nine years at the high school level enabled me to really understand and be able to apply coaching techniques to players," Campen said. "Quite honestly, I didn't feel like I was able to contribute (with Philadelphia). At the time, my wife was pregnant with our second child. When you go back and look at it and assume you know quite a bit being a former player in the National Football League but you really don't. I just felt that I needed to hone my skills coaching hands-on. That's when I came to the conclusion this year that I was ready for the change and decided it was time to pursue some NFL coaching opportunities as a coach in a difference capacity."

A two-year starter at Tulane after beginning his collegiate career at Sacramento (Calif.) City Junior College, Campen rejoins the Packers and reunites with Philbin after a strong run as head football coach at Ponderosa High School in Shingle Springs, Calif. In five seasons at Ponderosa, Campen's prep alma mater, he was 29-20-1 overall, competing in the Sierra Valley Conference, one of the most competitive high school leagues in the state. As a Ponderosa student-athlete, he earned two letters in football and three in wrestling. Campen was a starting center at Tulane in 1984 and '85 when Philbin was a graduate assistant coach.

"When you put it all together like he has had to do, I think that has helped him for the job that I want him to do," said Sherman. "To hire him as offensive coordinator or offensive line coach, that would be a bit different, but in the capacity that I want him to be employed, he fits the bill perfectly."

Tobin, in a newly created role, adds 35 years of coaching experience to Sherman's staff.

"He offers a wealth of experience and knowledge," Sherman said. "Anytime you can have another set of eyes, a guy who has been in this league as long as he has offers valuable experience in all phases of the game. He was a heck of a defensive coordinator. He took his team to the playoffs in Arizona as a head coach."

The 60-year-old former NFL head coach will offer analysis to everyone involved in scripting and executing the weekly game plan. Sherman expects to use him in several areas, including strategic insight in special situations. But Tobin's most significant contribution may come in advance scouting of an opponent's strengths and weaknesses.

"His role will be to work ahead on our upcoming opponents," Sherman said, "thus facilitating the process of getting accurate information to our players and coaches at the beginning of each week."

Tobin, out of football the last two seasons, spent 2001 as the Lions' defensive coordinator. The Cardinals' head coach from 1996-2000, he led Arizona to the 1998 NFC playoffs, ending the league's longest playoff drought, and recorded the franchise's first playoff win since 1947, a 20-7 victory at Dallas.

Sherman and Tobin met last year at the NFL's owners meeting. Sherman thought about adding Tobin to his staff at that time, but did not have room. With a quality control position vacated by Stan Drayton, who went with Sylvester Croom to Mississippi State, Sherman will have Campen and Philbin share those duties, making room for Tobin. "I'm really looking forward to getting back into it," said Tobin. "I wanted it to be the right situation to come back."

Tobin replaced Buddy Ryan as Bears defensive coordinator in 1986, when Chicago established the NFL record for points allowed in a 16-game season, 187.

Packer Report Top Stories