The Packers hired Mike Trgovac as their defensive line coach. Trgovac had spent the previous six seasons as the Carolina Panthers' defensive coach, including Super Bowl XXXVIII following the 2003 season. He had been offered a contract extention but instead is seeking a fresh start.
"I just wanted a fresh start," he told the Charlotte Observer. "That's all. That's really what it came down to. I had been there seven years. In coaching, that's a lifetime. I just thought it was best if I did this at this time."
It's quite a coup for Capers and coach Mike McCarthy to get a proven coordinator to take a demotion to be position coach. Three times in his six seasons, Trgovac's defenses ranked in the top 10. After guiding the NFL's third-ranked defense in 2007, the Panthers ranked 18th in 2008 but 12th in points. Only one player was a starter all seven seasons: free agent defensive end Julius Peppers.
"I loved being a coordinator," said Trgovac, "but I just love coaching football."
His best season was Carolina's Super Bowl season. The Panthers ranked in the top 10 in 10 categories, including points, yards, third downs and sacks.
In his final season as a defensive line coach, 2002, Carolina's defensive line ranked third in the NFL with 39 sacks.
Trgovac, who played in three Rose Bowls as a middle guard with Michigan, spent the ill-fated 1999 season on Ray Rhodes' staff in Green Bay.
His work will be cut out for him in his second tour of duty with the Packers. He hasn't coached a 3-4 defense in 20 years, and he will lead a defensive line that includes Aaron Kampman, Ryan Pickett and a bunch of questions.
Adding to the intrigue, Peppers has said he wants out of Carolina and wants to play for a 3-4 defense to, in the words of agent Carl Carey, "reach his full potential." A source told Packer Report that Peppers and Trgovac got along well during their days in Carolina.