What happens if Jagodzinski leaves?

Offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski interviewed to be the head coach at Boston College on Monday. If Jagodzinski leaves — taking his knowledge of the zone scheme with him — what would the Packers do offensively?

Let's put the cart before the horse for a minute.

What happens if offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski is offered and accepts the head coaching job at Boston College?

Jagodzinski isn't just your run-of-the-mill coordinator who can be replaced by any bright offensive mind in the NFL or college. He's the guru behind the zone blocking scheme the Packers have hitched their offensive wagon to under first-year coach Mike McCarthy.

There aren't too many teams that run the zone scheme, so finding a coordinator who's versed in the system will be difficult. Finding a coordinator who knows the scheme as well as Jagodzinski — who learned it from the godfather of the zone, Alex Gibbs — will be almost impossible.

The Packers could promote offensive line coach Joe Philbin to the position, since he's been teaching the zone techniques to his linemen all season and became familiar with the scheme while the line coach at Iowa, but he hardly as the deep knowledge of the system that Jagodzinski possesses.

The alternative is ditching the zone scheme altogether, but that would mean the Packers wasted the entire 2006 season, not to mention the 2006 draft.

Could the promising rookie trio of Daryn Colledge, Jason Spitz and Tony Moll be effective in a standard running scheme? Probably not. The zone scheme requires lighter, more agile blockers. That's why the Packers drafted Colledge in the second round, Spitz in the third round and Moll in the fifth round. Traditional blocking schemes rely on brawny, powerful blockers. That's not College, Spitz and Moll; only Spitz, at 305, tips the scales at more than 300 pounds.

Because of that steep investment, McCarthy probably would stick with the zone scheme, and hope Philbin was a quick enough study that he could step into the coordinator's position without the offense missing a beat.

While McCarthy has touted Jagodzinski for the Boston College job, deep down, he must be crossing his fingers that his friend doesn't get the job.

His own job might depend on Jagodzinski staying in Green Bay.

McCarthy is working under a three-year contract. The first year hasn't been very pretty, and he must show significant improvement next season if he doesn't want to enter 2008 — if he's still the coach in 2008 — as a lame duck.

From a job-security standpoint, McCarthy's contract situation is a big reason why Jagodzinski likely would pounce on an offer by Boston College. Not to mention a healthy pay raise and the fact he'd be the head coach instead of merely an offensive coordinator who doesn't get to call the plays.

All of this, of course, is speculation. But don't for a minute think McCarthy hasn't thought all of this through. Sure, it's putting the cart before the horse, but coaches who fail to plan are planning to fail.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. Send comments to steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com.

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