Packers' assistants not out yet; on hold until new coach hired

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers' coaching staff won’t be fired but will be informed on Monday that their services won’t be needed until the team hires a new coach, according to a source familiar with the plan.

Most of the remaining members of former coach Mike McCarthy’s staff are under contract for next season, which means it will be up to the new coach to decide whether he wants to retain any of them.

The staff will work on Monday and perhaps into Tuesday or Wednesday to wrap up a season that ended with Sunday’s 31-0 loss to the Lions that left the Packers at 6-9-1. After that, the coaches won't have any official duties at Lambeau Field. The final team meeting is Monday at around 9 a.m. Central Time. The coaches will, however, be welcome in the building to use the facilities until a determination is made about their futures.

Those under contract with the Packers, which includes defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, have to receive permission from the team to explore opportunities elsewhere in the NFL. Those requests will be handled on a case-by-case basis, and the Packers no doubt will block certain assistants they think the new coach might want to retain.

Interim coach Joe Philbin, who took over after McCarthy was fired on Dec. 2, will be one of the first candidates interviewed for the head-coaching job this week. Out-of-work former NFL coaches Jim Caldwell and Chuck Pagano were interviewed last week. The Packers also are expected to pursue Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald.

Packers president Mark Murphy, who will make the hire with the consult of first-year general manager Brian Gutekunst, called Philbin a "legitimate candidate" when he made him the interim coach.

Philbin went 2-2, including Sunday’s 31-0 to the Lions.

"I’ve been a member of the organization for 10 years, they know who I am, they know what I believe in, they know what I stand for," Philbin said after the game. "I want what’s best for the Green Bay Packers anyway. And whatever that may be, I’m good with, I’m totally good with. I have faith they’ll make a great decision, as they should. This is an incredible place to work every day. Again, it’s disappointing, no question. I didn’t see it coming. But the most important thing is to get the right man to lead the Green Bay Packers into the future, and that’s obviously the charge for Mark, and I’m sure he’ll do that, whoever that may be, and we’ll all go on from there."

The Packers are expected to give the new head coach total control over the coaching staff, but there are some members of McCarthy’s staff who have a good chance to be retained. There’s strong sentiment in the organization for Pettine to be retained, especially if the Packers hire an offensive-minded head coach. The Packers are expected to move on from special-teams coach Ron Zook, whose units struggled all season and allowed a fake field goal for a touchdown in Sunday’s loss.