Packers rank near top in coaching-staff size

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- When the dust settled from the changes Mike McCarthy made on his Green Bay Packers coaching staff last week, he found himself with one more assistant coach than he had at this time last year.

That follows a trend in the NFL, which saw the sizes of coaching staffs increase over the last year.

McCarthy now has 22 assistants, including four on the strength and conditioning staff. He had 21 at this time last year, and 20 in 2013.

The biggest change isn't in the numbers but rather in the responsibilities, led by McCarthy's decision to give up the offensive play-calling to spend more time with the defense and special teams.

"These changes, I'm excited about," McCarthy said last week. "I’ve enjoyed ... being in the defensive staff meetings and evaluation process. I will split my time equally with offense, defense, and special teams. Obviously, with my past duties I did not do that. It's a change for myself. It's a change in opportunity for a number of guys on the staff, and I'm excited about the improvement we'll make with these changes."

Under McCarthy, the Packers typically have been above the NFL average for number of assistant coaches. That number increased from 19.1 last year to 20.3.

Only seven teams have more assistant coaches than the Packers (see accompanying chart).

The breakdown of McCarthy's staff can be found here.

Last season, the Philadelphia Eagles and Seattle Seahawks had the most assistants, with 23 each. This year, the Jacksonville Jaguars jumped to the top of the list, followed by the Buffalo Bills with 24 under new coach Rex Ryan.

The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots have one of the smallest coaching staffs in the league with 16 assistants. Only the Pittsburgh Steelers have fewer assistants, although they have at least one opening on their staff.

Among teams in the NFC North, the Packers have the biggest coaching staff, followed by the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions, each with 20 assistants, and the Minnesota Vikings with 18.

How much have coaching staffs changed over the years? Just 10 years ago, the Packers had 17 assistants under then-coach Mike Sherman. Ten years before that, then-coach Mike Holmgren had 15 assistants.