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In Sports

Bob Sanders' defensive unit ranked near the bottom of the NFL in 2008.

Sanders, Packers part ways after dismal season


The reality of the Packers' 6-10 season is taking root at 1265 Lombardi Ave.

After announcing the, ahem, retirement of special teams coach Mike Stock, the Packers have apparently sacked defensive coordinator Bob Sanders, whose unit too often seemed incapable of sacking opposing quarterbacks.

NationalFootballPost.com, a Web site founded by former Packers contract specialist Andrew Brandt, reported Sanders' fate Sunday night. The Packers made no official announcement.

A month ago, head coach Mike McCarthy gave Sanders what seemed to be a vote of confidence.

"No one's happy about anything that's gone on with our team. I know defense, from a numbers standpoint, did not perform well," McCarthy said. "There's plenty (of blame) to go around. This is not just about one person."

Stock and Sanders are two people apparently no longer employed in Green Bay. Defensive ends coach Carl Hairston, defensive line coach Robert Nunn and offensive line coach James Campen could be on the block, too.

"All of our schemes are under evaluation right now," McCarthy said at his season-ending press conference last week. "That's what you do right now."

Given McCarthy's background as an offensive coach, the defensive coordinator on his staff has a lot of latitude. The Packers, who gave up a lot of late yards and lost seven games by less than four points, likely will consider a coach who advocates the 3-4 defensive alignment rather than the 4-3 they used this season.

McCarthy's search for Sanders' replacement could begin and end on the staff. Winston Moss, the linebackers coach considered to be a rising star in the business, underwent a preliminary interview for the head coaching job in St. Louis and likely will get a second interview. If Moss does not become a head coach, he likely would consider a promotion from the Packers in order to pad his resume in an attempt to land a head coaching job.

The list of other candidates likely will include two of McCarthy's former bosses -- fired San Francisco head coach Mike Nolan, who was McCarthy's boss with the 49ers, and ex-Rams interim coach Jim Haslett, who worked with McCarthy in New Orleans.

Other candidates may include fired Cleveland coach Romeo Crennel, fired Jets coach Eric Mangini, recently-fired Lions coach Rod Marinelli and former Jacksonville defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

The Packers finished 20th in the NFL in yards allowed (334.3), tied for 22nd in points allowed (23.8), 26th in rushing yards allowed (131.6), 12th in passing yards allowed (202.8) and 25th in sacks (27) this season.

Sanders, who is 55, worked as defensive line coach under Mike Sherman and was bumped to the coordinator spot when Jim Bates left in 2005.


Talkbacks

Bango | Jan. 5, 2009 at 2:48 p.m. (report)

McCarthy needs to hire assistants who are strong willed and, frankly, more knowledgeable and specialized than him.

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hardgeminiguy | Jan. 5, 2009 at 2:36 p.m. (report)

boring again--tell us something we do not know--this has had heavy tv and newspaper coverage. this site needs refreshing items--on the cusp-not following other news reports. probably, be a good idea to skip sports entirely on this site.

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