DC search: The new contenders

Gregg Williams is out of the running after agreeing to become coordinator in New Orleans on Thursday. Where does Mike McCarthy turn? Most likely, it will be Jim Haslett or Sean McDermott, sources say. Subscribers can learn more in this story.

A source tells Packer Report that coach Mike McCarthy will wait until after this weekend's conference championship games before taking the next step in filling the defensive coordinator vacancy.

Gregg Williams, considered one of the favorites after Bob Sanders was fired, was hired on Thursday to be the New Orleans Saints' defensive coordinator.

"Gregg is a tremendous addition to our coaching staff," Saints executive vice president/general manager Mickey Loomis said of Williams, the architect of top-three defenses in Tennessee, Buffalo and Washington in the last six seasons. "We were looking for a coach with experience, a proven track record of success and a clear philosophy on where the improvements needed to be made on our defense and that process."

So, where does McCarthy turn from here? Chances are, our source said, he'll see if up-and-coming Philadelphia Eagles assistant coach Sean McDermott is available after Sunday. McDermott is off-limits for interviews until after the Eagles' season ends, and Philadelphia faces Arizona for the NFC title on Sunday.

If the Eagles lose, McCarthy is expected to interview McDermott, who would come to Green Bay immersed in Jim Johnson's highly successful, blitz-heavy scheme. At that point, McCarthy likely would choose between McDermott and Jim Haslett, who interviewed earlier this week.

If the Eagles win, McDermott would not be available for another two weeks. At that point, McCarthy likely would settle on Haslett.

Haslett ended last season as the St. Louis Rams' interim head coach. Sources say the Rams have narrowed their focus to three coordinators: Leslie Frazier (Vikings), Steve Spagnuolo (Giants) and Jason Garrett (Cowboys).

To be sure, Haslett's defenses haven't been anything special since leaving Pittsburgh after three successful years as coordinator. As coach of the Saints from 2000 through 2005, his best year was his first year, when the Saints ranked eighth in the NFL in yards allowed and 10th in points. It was mediocre or worse after that, with the Saints finishing in the bottom quarter of the league in yards in 2002 and 2004 and bottom quarter in points in 2002, 2002, 2004 and 2005.

As defensive coordinator for the Rams in 2006, they ranked 23rd in yards and 28th in points. In 2007, the Rams ranked 21st in yards and 31st in points. In 2008, the Rams ranked 28th in yards and 31st again in points.

Not all of that can be dumped on Haslett, though. The Saints notoriously have had an offense-first focus and sought the best athlete available over the best player. The Rams have been an all-around disaster for years and haven't had a winning record since 2003.

Haslett is known for his aggressive game plans, which would be a lure for McCarthy after the Packers had just 27 sacks last season.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, the team officially announced Shawn Slocum as special teams coordinator. Curtis Fuller, a Packers safety in 2003 and a coaching intern in Green Bay during training camp last summer, will be his assistant.

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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