Report: Schottenheimer out as DBs coach

During his season-ending news conference, Packers coach Mike Sherman said it was a possibility he'd be replacing the entire defensive coaching staff.

The first ax may have fallen.

According to various media outlets, Sherman fired defensive backs coach Kurt Schottenheimer on Thursday. There was no confirmation by the Packers.

Schottenheimer replaced Bob Slowik for the just-completed season after Slowik was promoted to defensive coordinator. Schottenheimer, despite his resume, was unable to create a cohesive unit, and rookie first-round pick Ahmad Carroll showed little progress as the season went on.

The Packers' pass defense set two team records, neither of which were good. The Packers allowed a franchise-high 33 touchdown passes while picking off a franchise-low eight interceptions. In contrast, last season's defense allowed 18 touchdown passes but had 21 interceptions.

The Packers allowed 60 completions of 20 or more yards and 12 completions of 40 or more yards. Last year, those numbers were 48 and eight.

In three games against Minnesota's Daunte Culpepper this season, the Packers allowed 12 touchdown passes but had no interceptions.

The Packers couldn't handle man coverage and failed to grasp zone coverage. They allowed nearly 230 passing yards per game, which ranked 25th in the NFL.

Worse, flags rained on the secondary all season. Carroll's nine accepted penalties were two fewer than veteran Al Harris' 11, but at least Harris had the excuse of facing the opposing offense's top playmaker. Carroll continually was penalized for his clutching and grabbing even though he often was in position to make a play.

Schottenheimer is a 17-year NFL coaching veteran. Most of those years were spent working under brother Marty during stops in Cleveland, Kansas City and Washington. Kurt Schottenheimer was a special-teams coach for eight of the years, coached defensive backs for four years and was a defensive coordinator for five years.

Before coming to Green Bay, Kurt Schottenheimer was defensive coordinator for two seasons in Detroit; the first year under Marty Mornhinweg, the second under Steve Mariucci.

As of Thursday, Slowik remained defensive coordinator and Mark Duffner was still linebackers coach. Judging by the overall play of the defense and the lack of progress made by second-year middle linebacker Nick Barnett, both coaches may be history.

Already this off-season, defensive line coach Jethro Franklin accepted a similar position at college national champion USC.

Wide receivers coach Ray Sherman is in the running for the receivers or running backs post with the staff being compiled by new Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban. Sherman's family lives in Bradenton, Fla.

Sherman was offered an interview for a job with the Dolphins last off-season but wisely turned it down, considering the housecleaning going on there. Under Sherman, Javon Walker blossomed into a Pro Bowl receiver and Donald Driver was back to his vintage self after a terrifying fall in the 2003 season opener led to a dismal season.

Only the 183 catches by St. Louis' Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce topped the 173 by Walker and Driver.

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