Entering his 29th season in the NFL, 18th as an NFL assistant coach and 11th with the Packers, Winston Moss will serve as associate head coach for the second season in 2016. In addition, he continues to have responsibility for all linebackers for the third consecutive season, a role he originally worked in from 2006-08.
Named to the assistant head coach post by Head Coach Mike McCarthy on Jan. 15, 2007, Moss impressed McCarthy with his leadership skills when the two worked together for five seasons in New Orleans and again in 2006 in Green Bay. His position responsibility was modified to inside linebackers from 2009-13 with the switch to a 3-4 defense and the addition of outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene to the staff. In February 2014, Moss’ position title shifted back to all linebackers.
Since Moss was named assistant head coach in ’07, the Packers rank No. 1 in the NFL in interceptions (189), No. 4 in total takeaways (260), No. 1 in opponent passer rating (77.8) and No. 6 in points allowed (20.8).
The 2015 campaign saw Moss oversee the continued evolution of Clay Matthews, who made his sixth career Pro Bowl and his first at inside linebacker. Despite playing inside full time, Matthews still ranked second on the team with 6½ sacks and led the team with 14 QB hits. He also ranked second on the team with a career-high 84 tackles. Under Moss, LB Julius Peppers continued to excel in his second season with the Packers after transitioning from DE in 2014. Peppers led the Packers with 10½ sacks in 2015, earning his ninth selection to the Pro Bowl, his first as a Packer, and first as a linebacker.
In 2014, Moss helped utilize Matthews in a variety of roles. Matthews made his fifth career Pro Bowl while starting games at LOLB (four), ROLB (six) and MLB (six). He led the team with 11.0 sacks, finished No. 2 in pressures (21) and was tied for No. 2 in QB hits (17). Matthews was one of only three players in the NFL with 10-plus sacks, an interception and a forced fumble (Texans DE J.J. Watt, Broncos DE DeMarcus Ware) in ’14.
Moss played a role in the acclimation of Peppers to a 3-4 outside linebacker in 2014. Peppers set a career high with 11 passes defensed, led the team in both forced fumbles (four) and fumble recoveries (three), and tied for the team lead (Casey Hayward) in takeaways with five (three fumble recoveries, two INTs). He finished tied for No. 2 on the team with 17 QB hits and No. 3 with 17 pressures. Peppers’ two interception touchdowns, the highest single-season total by a Packers LB, tied for No. 2 in the NFL, and his 101 interception return yards were No. 1 among linebackers/defensive linemen.
Moss tutored A.J. Hawk, who became the franchise’s all-time tackle leader (1,118), during Hawk’s nine seasons in Green Bay (2006-14). Hawk led the team in tackles five times during his career, which tied him with LB Nick Barnett for the franchise record.
In 2013, Hawk paced the club with 153 tackles, the second-highest total of his career behind only his 155 tackles as a rookie in ’06. Playing the “Buck” LB position, Hawk also registered a career-high five sacks, an interception, a fumble recovery, a forced fumble and five passes defensed.
In 2012, Hawk led the team with 142 tackles and added three sacks. With Desmond Bishop (preseason opener) and D.J. Smith (Week 6) lost to season-ending injuries, Brad Jones was inserted into the starting lineup at “Mack” LB after playing on the outside in his first three seasons. Jones opened the final 10 games and finished the season with a career-high 102 tackles, two sacks, six passes defensed and a forced fumble.
In 2011, Bishop entered the season as the starter for the first time in his career and went on to be named a Pro Bowl alternate, registering career highs with a team-leading 142 tackles and five sacks despite missing three games due to a calf injury.
With Bishop and Hawk both sidelined with injuries in December 2011, a pair of young LBs, second-year man Robert Francois and rookie Smith, were pressed into duty and responded under the direction of Moss. In his two starts, Francois posted 17 total tackles, an interception and a forced fumble. Smith was the lone Green Bay rookie to appear in all 16 games, and his three starts paced the team’s rookies. In those starts, Smith led the team with 30 tackles, while adding an INT vs. Oakland in Week 14.
In 2010, Moss was a member of a staff that helped Green Bay finish No. 2 in the NFL in scoring defense at 15.0 points per game, the team’s best mark since 1996 (13.1). The Packers finished No. 5 in overall defense, the team’s second straight top-five ranking.
After Barnett was lost for the season in Week 4 of 2010 due to a wrist injury, Bishop stepped into the starting role at MLB for the remainder of the season and flourished under Moss’ direction. Bishop finished second on the team with 121 tackles, while posting three sacks. His career-high 10 passes defensed were the most by a Packers LB since John Anderson recorded 15 in 1981.
Hawk played in all 16 contests with 15 starts at BLB and assumed more of an every-down role with nickel LB Brandon Chillar limited to just eight games due to a shoulder injury. Hawk paced the team with 134 tackles, his fifth straight season either leading the team or finishing second in the category. He added a career-high three interceptions, which was tied for the lead among NFL linebackers, and matched his career best with nine passes defensed to earn Pro Bowl recognition for the first time in his career.
In ’09, Moss was part of a staff that guided the defense to a No. 2 overall ranking in the NFL, the highest ranking since the ’96 team finished as the No. 1 defense. Green Bay led the NFL in rushing defense for the first time in team history, and its average of 83.3 rushing yards allowed per game set a team record for any season. Barnett returned from a serious knee injury to start all 16 games at MLB and lead the team in tackles with 122, a franchise-record fifth time in his career (later matched by Hawk) that he led the squad in tackles, and also register a career-high four sacks.
In 2008, Hawk made a rather seamless transition to middle linebacker to fill Barnett’s spot after he was lost for the season to a torn ACL in Week 10, while Bishop and Chillar both contributed at Hawk’s former weak-side position. In 2007, Barnett was named second-team All-Pro after leading the Packers in tackles for the fourth time in five seasons and posting a then-career-high 3½ sacks along with two INTs and numerous big plays late in games.
Moss spent a total of six seasons with the Saints, where he also coached linebackers. Originally hired by the Saints in 2000 as defensive assistant/quality control, he was promoted to linebackers coach near the end of that season to replace John Bunting, who departed to become head coach at the University of North Carolina. Moss began his coaching career in 1998 as a defensive quality-control assistant for the Seattle Seahawks, the club for whom he played his final three NFL seasons.
A veteran of 11 seasons and 155 NFL games (146 starts), the former linebacker played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1987-90) and the Los Angeles Raiders (1991-94), in addition to the Seahawks (1995-97). Over the course of his career, Moss recorded 768 tackles, 20½ sacks, six INTs and a fumble recovery for a TD.
In 1993, when Moss led the Raiders in tackles on a team that advanced to the AFC Divisional playoffs, he earned the Ed Block Courage Award after a vote of his teammates. Moss also was a three-time defensive captain and received the 1996 NFL Players Association Unsung Hero Award while with the Seahawks.
A four-year letterman at the University of Miami (Fla.), he and current Packers senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith helped the Hurricanes win the national championship after the 1983 season under Howard Schnellenberger. Moss was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in April 2015.
Born Dec. 24, 1965, in Miami, Fla., Moss attended Miami (Fla.) Southridge High School and was an all-state linebacker. He and his wife, Zoila, have three sons, Winston Jr., 22, Robert, 17, and Marcus, 15, and two daughters, Victoria, 21, and Isabella, 8.