DC search: Pack must wait to talk

Philadelphia assistant Sean McDermott has emerged as a candidate, according to NFL.com, but he is off-limits until after the playoffs. Ditto for Steelers assistant Keith Butler, but Bill Sheridan is available after the Giants were eliminated.

As of Sunday night, the Green Bay Packers had not hired a defensive coordinator, but that doesn't mean there weren't any developments.

Three top position coaches — New York Giants linebackers coach Bill Sheridan, Philadelphia Eagles secondary coach Sean McDermott and Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler — were on the sideline this weekend. McDermott's Eagles knocked off Sheridan's Giants in the NFC, while Butler's Steelers advanced in the AFC by beating San Diego.

Thus, McDermott — who NFL.com's Adam Schefter reports is one of the top candidates with Mike Nolan and Gregg Williams — and Butler are not available to meet with Packers coach Mike McCarthy.

According to NFL rules, only assistants who are candidates to become head coaches are allowed to interview during the playoffs. So, even though going from position coach to coordinator would be a promotion for McDermott, he would not be allowed to talk to other teams until after the playoffs.

McDermott and Sheridan would bring similar blitz-heavy 4-3 schemes to Green Bay. McDermott works under Philadelphia's outstanding coordinator, Jim Johnson. Sheridan works under the Giants' esteemed coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo, who is a Johnson protégé.

If the 34-year-old McDermott is indeed a candidate, McCarthy faces a dilemma. He'll have to wait at least a week to talk to McDermott — and possibly three weeks if the Eagles advance to the Super Bowl by winning at Arizona next weekend.

With that sort of wait, it's possible Nolan and Williams might be hired by the time McCarthy gets to talk to McDermott. And by that time, there are likely to be other coordinator vacancies — such as with the Giants and Vikings, if coordinators Spagnuolo and Leslie Frazier become head coaches. So, McCarthy waits at the risk of not getting any of his top choices.

Given that, it's possible McCarthy will hire Nolan or Williams in the next few days. If that doesn't happen, that likely signals McCarthy's interest in McDermott or possibly Butler.

Meanwhile, former Detroit Lions head coach Rod Marinelli accepted a position with the Chicago Bears to be their defensive line coach/assistant head coach. Marinelli never emerged as a serious candidate.

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com.


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