Coaching rumor mill

Packers reportedly hire veteran special teams coach

Packers coach Mike McCarthy reportedly has hired 66-year-old Mike Stock, whom he worked with in Kansas City in the mid-1990s, as special teams coordinator. The Packers have not officially announced McCarthy's decision, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported cited National Football League sources who confirmed the hiring. Stock replaces John Bonamego, who was fired last week by McCarthy. Green Bay's special teams are in desperate need of an overhaul, and McCarthy, apparently, feels Stock has the energy to get the job done. Last year, the Packers were ranked last in the league in kickoff return average, last in net punting, and 12th in punt return average.

Stock, who has coached 42 seasons in the college and professional ranks, was out of football last season. He was fired by then-St. Louis Rams coach Mike Martz following the 2004 season, his only season in St. Louis. Stock underwent hip replacement surgery in March and sat out the year. His contract with the Rams extended through the 2005 season.

McCarthy and Stock each worked together from 1995-98 when McCarthy was quarterbacks coach and Stock special teams coach. Stock was special teams coordinator for the Washington Redskins from 2001-03. He also coached special teams, wide receivers and tight ends with the Cincinnati Bengals from 1986-91.

According to the Journal Sentinel, the Rams' special teams under Stock ranked 32nd in the league in 2004 in a statistical analysis of special-teams performance compiled annually by the Dallas Morning News.

While in Cincinnati, Stock was part of the team that played in Super Bowl XXIII, following the 1998 season. He was named NFL special teams coach of the year by vote of other special teams coaches in 1987, his first season with special teams in Cincinnati.

Defensive coordinator prospects
Packers defensive line coach Bob Sanders is one of the top candidates to be named defensive coordinator of the Packers. McCarthy has interviewed four candidates in recent days, including Sanders, who has worked with Jim Bates the last five seasons. Bates decline an offer by McCarthy on Monday to remain as defensive coordinator of the Packers.

McCarthy also has interviewed three others who were defensive coordinators in the NFL last year. They include Jerry Gray (Buffalo Bills), Donnie Henderson (New York Jets), and Vic Fangio (Houston Texans). The head coach for each of the three teams either resigned or was fired at the end of this season. All three coaches employ the 3-4 defense, far different from the 4-3 defense the Packers learned under Bates last year.

The Packers are seeking their fourth defensive coordinator in as many seasons.

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