Washington, Nunn held over

Both were assistants on Bates' staff last year

Packers coach Mike McCarthy Monday hired Robert Nunn and Lionel Washington to coach the defensive line and the secondary, respectively. Their exact titles and responsibilities will be determined once the full coaching staff is in place, McCarthy said today.

Nunn, 40, coached the Packers' defensive tackles in 2005 and Washington, 45, coached the team's cornerbacks. A 17-year coaching veteran, Nunn has five seasons of NFL experience. He broke into the league as a defensive assistant with the Miami Dolphins in 2000, then served as Miami's assistant defensive line/quality control coach for the 2001-02 campaigns under coordinator Jim Bates.

Under Nunn, defensive tackle Grady Jackson started all 16 games for only the second time and responded with career bests in tackles (72) and passes defensed (4). Defensive tackles Cullen Jenkins and Colin Cole also flourished under Nunn.

Nunn's college coaching experience was highlighted by nine years at Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Ga. After one season as defensive coordinator, the school promoted him to head coach and athletic director in 1992. In his eight seasons holding that position, Nunn was 66-19 (.776). He had launched his coaching career at Northeastern Oklahoma in 1988, heading up the defensive line. He then tutored defensive ends at the University of Tennessee for two seasons (1989-90). A former linebacker at Oklahoma State, Nunn served as team captain in 1987.

Washington enters his 23rd season in the NFL, and recently completed his seventh season as a coach, all with the Packers. Aside from coaching the cornerbacks, Washington headed up the Packers' nickel package. Green Bay's defense allowed fewer passing yards per game (167.5) or passing first downs (143) than any team in the league last year.

Equipped with 15 years of NFL experience as a defensive back, Washington has helped CB Al Harris to surface as a dominant force on defense. The veteran turned in his best career season in 2005, leading the NFL's top-ranked passing defense with 18 passes defensed.

Green Bay's assistant defensive backs coach from 1999-2004, Washington contributed to a secondary that in 2003 held opponents to a 69.0 passer rating, the fifth lowest in the league. Working primarily with cornerbacks in 1999, Washington helped three rookies, Mike McKenzie, Antuan Edwards and Fred Vinson, provide 12 interceptions. At the time, McCarthy was the team's quarterbacks coach, and recalled observing Washington coach the young defensive backs.

"He had his hands on them. He was teaching them the fundamentals of bump and run, and things like that," McCarthy said. "That's what I'm looking for in a football coach. He's an excellent technician. I'm excited to have Lionel back."

Originally a fourth-round selection of the then-St. Louis Cardinals in the 1983 NFL Draft out of Tulane, Washington enjoyed one of the longest playing careers for a defensive back in pro football history, appearing in 205 games with 165 starts for the Cardinals, Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos. He snared 37 career interceptions, returning four for touchdowns. In his career, Washington intercepted at least one pass in 13 of his 15 seasons, with at least three in each of five different campaigns, including a career-high eight in his rookie, 1983 season. After playing four years with the Cardinals (1983-86), Washington was traded to the Los Angeles Raiders in 1987 and played for the Silver and Black through the 1994 season. In 1995, he signed with Denver and spent two years with the Broncos before returning to the Raiders in 1997 for one final season.


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