I mentioned then that former San Francisco head coach Mike Nolan was close to McCarthy, and there were already rumors that he was a candidate for the gig.
Now, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk is reporting that Nolan is rounding up defensive assistants, and he is preparing to become the Packers' new defensive coordinator.
While this is certainly good news for Packers fans, as Nolan is an accomplished defensive coach, things aren't all rosy. There are some serious questions that surround this potential move.
Namely, what scheme will the Packers play?
Greg Bedard and Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel did a great job outlining the potential candidates in the newspaper's Packers Blog.
One of the issues with Nolan is that he would (likely) bring the 3-4 defense to Green Bay. But do the Packers have the personnel to make a 3-4 work without drastic changes?
As Bedard notes, the secondary is a non-issue. The Packers need to find a reliable safety to pair with Nick Collins, but that would happen if the Packers employed a 3-4, a 4-3, or a 3-3-5. Cornerbacks Al Harris and Charles Woodson are both expected back, and nickel back Tramon Williams is likely to benefit from new coaches all over the defense.
Bedard is correct in saying that the real square peg/round hole problem with the 3-4 is on the defensive line.
The defensive ends (in the 3-4) are big strong guys that must hold their edges and in passing downs, hopefully take up a few blockers. It's a thankless job.Would the Packers trade Kampman? Unlikely, but Nolan could be in for a challenge making him fit. Jenkins should be an easier fit than Kampman.
Aaron Kampman does not fit that mold. Sure, he could bulk up but why would he want to? He's one of the top players at his position. Even if he lost weight, he's not fluid enough to play outside linebacker. Cullen Jenkins would also have to gain some weight. He wouldn't want to either, for the same reason. Both could be valuable in the trade market.
Then again, all of this means nothing if Nolan is flexible and is sticking with the 4-3. He could probably work blindfolded and call a more effective defense than Sanders did.