The Green Bay Packers and new head coach Matt LaFleur have their coordinators set. On Wednesday, the team officially announced the hiring of Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator, and Mike Pettine returns to lead the defense in 2019. Special teams is still a work in progress, but the leaders on offense and defense are officially aboard.
With those decisions finalized, LaFleur must prioritize his position coach hires, and it appears that the offensive line coach is number one on that list. News broke on Wednesday about a pair of coaches who could be in the running to succeed James Campen, the former OL coach who left for the same position (with an added associate head coach title) with the Cleveland Browns.
The first name is Adam Stenavich, who has been the assistant offensive line coach for the San Francisco 49ers for the past two seasons. Stenavich has worked under LaFleur mentor Kyle Shanahan during that time, making the connection between him and the Packers’ head coach clear. Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports reports that Shanahan has agreed to allow Stenavich to interview with the Packers, presumably because the move would be an upward one for him.
In addition, Stenavich has some Packers-specific connections. According to his bio on 49ers.com, he is a Marshfield native. Stenavich also spent about six weeks on the Packers’ practice squad in 2006, his first year out of college, and he was an All-Big Ten left tackle for the University of Michigan in 2004 and 2005.
Another name mentioned in connection with the Packers is former Jets’ offensive line coach Rick Dennison, who has extensive experience as an NFL offensive coordinator. Dennison worked with Mike Shanahan with the Denver Broncos for over a decade, serving as a special teams coach, offensive line coach, and offensive coordinator. He later joined up with Gary Kubiak in Houston as offensive coordinator, following him to Baltimore and back to Denver. Finally, Dennison’s last two years were spent as the Bills’ offensive coordinator (in 2017) and the New York Jets’ offensive line coach.
ESPN’s Rob Demovsky noted that the Packers “have interest” in Dennison, presumably to coach the offensive line. As with Stenavich, there’s a clear line of connection between Dennison and LaFleur, running through both Kubiak and the elder Shanahan. He would also be able to provide some additional perspective as a coordinator, thanks to his ten years in that role in the NFL.
Keep an eye on these two names in the coming days, as it appears that the OL coaching position is one of LaFleur’s top priorities for the time being.
While the OL coach search comes into focus, we also have more information about the status of two Packers assistants still under contract for 2019. First is running backs coach Ben Sirmans, who has held that title in Green Bay for the past three years. LaFleur has apparently decided to retain Sirmans for next season, according to Demovsky. Sirmans has been largely responsible for developing Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, while also helping Ty Montgomery transition from wide receiver to the backfield.
The other news is not as good for a Packers assistant, as quarterbacks coach Frank Cignetti is out after one year with the team according to Tom Silverstein. Cignetti took over for the departed Alex Van Pelt in 2018, but Aaron Rodgers’ struggles in 2018 and LaFleur’s background with quarterbacks makes it an unsurprising decision.