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News » PACKERS Report: Sanders is out Team hasn't announced change

PACKERS Report: Sanders is out Team hasn't announced change

PACKERS  Report: Sanders is out  Team hasn't announced change
The tenure of embattled Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Bob Sanders is over, according to an Internet report posted Sunday night but not confirmed by the club.

Sanders did not return a pair of phone messages left after the National Football Post reported that coach Mike McCarthy had fired him. McCarthy was unavailable for comment and various members of the organization, including several offensive and defensive starters, said they had not heard a word about Sanders' status.

The National Football Post is a Web site owned by Andrew Brandt, former Packers vice president of player finance, and agent Jack Bechta, whose clients include cornerback Al Harris. Former Packers safety Matt Bowen is also a regular contributor to the site.

The report posted on the Post's main page consisted of two lines stating only that the site had been informed that Sanders had been fired. It did not include a byline and there was no detail about when the firing occurred.

McCarthy met with Sanders on Thursday for an end-of-the-year evaluation, but there were no signs that Sanders had been dismissed at that point. It's possible McCarthy informed Sanders of the change as early as Friday, but put off making the announcement until he had finished meeting with all of his assistant coaches.

McCarthy did announce Friday that special teams coach Mike Stock was retiring. McCarthy is scheduled to meet with the offensive coaches starting this morning and it's still unknown whether he will make changes on that side of the ball.

If the decision has been made to part ways with Sanders, it doesn't come as a total surprise. The Packers leaked badly on defense this season after a solid year in 2007, and the inability of Sanders to stop the bleeding was a seasonlong frustration for McCarthy.

If Sanders is gone, McCarthy has a number of directions he can go in replacing him.

The most convenient move would be to promote Winston Moss, assistant head coach/linebackers, whose duties were expanded after the 2006 season. Moss interviewed for the St. Louis Rams' head coaching position Saturday in St. Louis.

But contrary to a report on NFL.com, Moss does not have a second interview set up with the Rams.

Moss has not run a defense since retiring as a player from the NFL in 1998, but has experience in Sanders' press coverage scheme and former New Orleans coach Jim Haslett's all-out blitz scheme. Asked recently about what kind of scheme he would run if he were to land a coordinator's job, Moss told the Journal Sentinel that he would run whatever best fit the team's talent.

McCarthy wouldn't be doing his due diligence if he didn't consider a couple of established defensive coaches who are on the market, the most notable being former San Francisco head coach Mike Nolan. McCarthy was Nolan's offensive coordinator in 2005 and the two have a very good relationship.

An NFL executive familiar with Nolan said the former defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, Washington Redskins and New York Giants, would not have a problem working with a former subordinate. Nolan was a defensive coordinator all but one year from 1993 to 2005 and several of his defenses were ranked in the top 10.

Nolan has mostly used a 3-4 defense, which would require a change in how the Packers played under Sanders. It would affect ends Aaron Kampman and Cullen Jenkins the most, but in San Francisco Nolan used end Justin Smith in a linebacker/end role and both Kampman and Jenkins are more athletic than Smith.

Another possibility would be Gregg Williams, the former Buffalo Bills head coach who was defensive coordinator in Jacksonville last year. Williams' contract ran out and he was promised that he would be allowed to explore other opportunities.

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: January 5, 2009

Mark Setterstrom Name: Mark Setterstrom
Position: G
Age: 24
Experience: 3 years
College: Minnesota
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