The Green Bay Packers continued to round out their defensive coaching staff on Monday as Head Coach Mike McCarthy announced the hiring of Robert Nunn and Lionel Washington.
Nunn, 40, coached the defensive tackles last year while Washington served as defensive nickel package/cornerbacks coach. McCarthy will determine their exact roles and titles along the defensive line and secondary for 2006 after he finishes hiring the rest of his defensive staff.
"We're looking to put the best combination of coaches together to make sure our players get the best instruction available," McCarthy said.
Nunn has worked with new defensive coordinator Bob Sanders for several years. Sanders coached the Miami Dolphins linebackers from 2001 to 2004. Nunn filled several coaching roles for the Dolphins: defensive assistant in 2000, assistant defensive line/quality control coach from 2001 to 2002 and special assistant in 2004. While with Miami both worked under former Packers defensive coordinator Jim Bates.
Washington, 45, also has long-standing ties with the Packers coaches. He served as the assistant defensive backs coach from 1999 to 2004 before last year's promotion. Washington's first year as Packers coach coincided with McCarthy's year as Packers quarterbacks coach.
During the 1999 NFL draft, the Packers drafted cornerbacks Antuan Edwards, Fred Vinson and Mike McKenzie with their first three selections. Washington's hands-on approach as he guided the young cornerbacks through bump-and-run coverage impressed McCarthy.
"When I look at Lionel Washington, and I go back to 1999 when it was his first year of coaching, I believe in 'hands-on' coaching," McCarthy said. "I think it's a great way to communicate. I can remember him out there and he had his hands on (the three drafted cornerbacks) and he was teaching them the fundamentals of 'bump-and-run' and things like that.
"He's an excellent technician and that's what I'm looking for in a football coach."
In the coming days the Packers will fill out the rest of the defensive coaching staff by hiring coaches to work with the secondary and defensive line, in addition to a defensive quality control coach. Sanders will play a major role in selecting those coaches.
"Bob will be a big part of it," McCarthy said. "It's vital that our coordinator has input in hiring every assistant."
After McCarthy names the rest of his coaching staff, which will include a quarterbacks coach in additiion to the defensive coaches, he will turn his attention to the athletes who will execute the new coaches' schemes.
"As soon as we get done with the coaches, my primary focus will be communication with the players," McCarthy said.