Monday’s back-to-back press conferences from Packers CEO Mark Murphy/G.M. Brian Gutekunst and interim head coach Joe Philbin made two things clear: (1) Philbin is a candidate for the permanent coaching job; and (2) Philbin isn’t ready to talk about that.
“It’s an opportunity to see Joe for four games,” Murphy told reporters. “See how the team responds. See how coaches and others respond.”
In other words, see whether Philbin can be the guy.
Philbin, who himself was fired midseason by Miami in 2015 and who became visibly emotional on multiple occasions during his Monday press conference, avoided discussing whether he wants the job beyond this year, explaining that he’s doing what he has urged the players to do — focus on this week’s game, against the Falcons.
A football coach who served as the head coach of an NFL team likely won’t say no to the chance to be a head coach again. But it seemed to be important to Philbin (and rightfully so) to be guarded in his ambition, given that he’s replacing a close friend.
“You want to be part of the solution,” Philbin said regarding his return to Green Bay to work with McCarthy. “You feel like you let him down.”
If Philbin picks the team up and runs the table, he could get an opportunity to stick around. Much of that depends on the overall wish list for the hire, and whether any names in front of Philbin accept or decline.