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Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

The Green Bay Packers were 14-point favorites over the Arizona Cardinals, yet lost 20-17 at home to fall to 4-7-1. That was the last straw for Green Bay, as they fired head coach Mike McCarthy late Sunday afternoon.

McCarthy had a 125-76-2 record as head coach of the Packers; only Curly Lambeau had more wins in the green and gold. He also coached the team to a win in Super Bowl XLV. The Packers missed the playoffs last year, however, and look to do the same this year. Questionable strategic decisions over the past few weeks contributed to significant criticism of McCarthy, as did the fact that he's "only" managed to win one Super Bowl with Aaron Rodgers. Reports also indicated that McCarthy's relationship with Rodgers had deteriorated, contributing to the decision to start fresh at the position.

Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin will take over on an interim basis; he was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2012-15.

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47 comments, Last at 04 Dec 2018, 9:41pm

1 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

The only surprise is that Pettine wasn't named HC. I guess Murphy and/or Gutekunst don't want to deal with the Packers finishing strong and pressure to retain Pettine as HC. That won't be an issue with Philbin, who I doubt would be kept even if they won their last four.

12 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

They probably felt this was the easiest way to keep Pettine around with a minimum of drama. It's super awkward to make a guy interim head coach and then demote him back to coordinator afterward. Imagine if you were promoted to your boss's job for half a year, doing a reasonably good job of it, and then being asked to go back to your old role and pay afterward. Better to put someone expendable like Philbin in at interim HC--that he's an expendable guy with some HC experience is about the only thing Philbin has going for him. They should let Pettine interview for the HC job, then either promote him to full time HC or hire an offensive-minded HC with the stipulation that Pettine stays at DC.

4 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

Similar to when the Bears fired Lovie, I predict the Packers will get worse before they get better as good but not great coaches are harder to find than many think.

Having Rogers will make it easier though.

45 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

I would argue that McCarthy isn't even a good coach, though. Mediocre/average at best who is as highly regarding as he is almost solely because of Aaron Rodgers. Also, it's not like this is a 10-6 team that's going to get bounced from the playoffs in the first round...their current winning percentage this season is .375. If Rodgers stays healthy and they get worse before they get better, then they really screwed up. (Plus, no doubt that the Bears got worse immediately after firing Lovie, but the defense was primed to go off a cliff as players got older and retired no matter who was coaching them).

As a Bears fan, I fear the Packers more with replacement-level-next-coach than I do with McCarthy.

5 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

SNF crew was just saying McCarthy will likely be hired again soon. I can't see anyone hiring him as HC. However, I can see him being hired as OC or QB coach somewhere. Not because he's a hot talent. It's just that even bad coaches are recycled. A mediocre coach like McCarthy should end up being hired pretty quickly.

8 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

John Dorsey is the Cleveland GM. He was already the Packers Director of College Scouting when McCarthy arrived in 2006 and became Director of Football Operations in 2012. He left in 2013 to be the KC GM. McCarthy would probably be good if he was made Mayfield's QB coach as he is a good tutor. I'd be very afraid for Mayfield if McCarthy was named OC. Just pointing out that dreaded prior connection is there.

10 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

If McCarthy does get another HC job right away, I think he should strongly consider bringing in an OC he's never worked with before and cede playcalling to them. Not that I don't think McCarthy can't figure out how to re-invent his offense, he's still fairly young as far as coaches go and he didn't come to his prior success by accident, but he certainly hasn't been able to figure it out these past four seasons while churning through 3 different coordinators of internal hire or re-hire variety. I wonder if the rest of the responsibilities of being a head coach made it tougher to make the needed changes to the scheme.

29 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

"I suspect he wouldn't take that job though."

Why not? I would think that the Cleveland jobs would be the most attractive job available this offseason, barring a surprise coach retirement/firing in someplace like New England, Los Angeles, Kansas City, etc. If I had the choice between taking the Cleveland or New England job, I think I might even prefer Cleveland.

9 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

This firing is so much similar to the one of Andy Reid from the Eagles: HC with a huge record, feeling of the end of an era, firing during the season... Andy Reid did (very) well after that, so we can imagine McCarthy could have the same path.

McCarthy was very good a few years ago. He did not win a SB and made the Packers perennial contenders by chance. Clearly he lost his coaching mind recently, but we can imagine changing the scenario can help him. At least we can imagine teams being convinced by it.

11 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

I agree with you, and I wouldn't be shocked to see McCarthy find success elsewhere. Of course, Reid has remained successful in large part because of how he's continuously adjusted his offense to the new NFL and his personnel, and looked to the college game for creativity and innovation. McCarthy, well, he just got fired because his offense got stuck.

21 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

Reid wasn't fired during the season, he was fired almost immediately after the end of it.

I figured a bunch of people would make that analogy, but it doesn't really fit. Reid was fired in a season when the Eagles were in serious transition. They didn't have a long-term quarterback, and they didn't have a solid defensive coordinator. It's not terribly surprising that they went 4-12. Plus Reid's son committed suicide late in training camp that year, so it's not exactly *surprising* that he didn't do a great job coaching. By the end of the year there, it was pretty much a "yeah, time to move on" moment. The other reason it's not a great analogy is that Reid's success at KC was also helped by dropping complete control over personnel: by the end of Reid's tenure it really felt like he just had too much on his plate.

13 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

I wish I had something nice to say about Mike McCarthy. But as far as I've ever been able to tell, he is just a terrible coach, and whichever team hires him (yes, probably Cleveland, because Cleveland) is going to set itself back five years.

My own speculation would be that,if not for the good fortune of having Rodgers ready to step seamlessly in after Favre, McCarthy's head coaching career would have been short and sour.

As an offensive coordinator, he was renowned for engineering the vaunted, fearsome, record-setting offense of the 2005 San Francisco 49ers, which set records that stood until the days of Blaine Gabbert.

There's nothing about him I find personally offensive. (Well, I don't care much for cowardice, so there's that.) But there's nothing in his body of work to suggest his 10+ years of success is attributable to anything but the spectacular good fortune of having Aaron Rodgers on his team.

43 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

You don't think McCarthy had something to do with " the good fortune of having Rodgers ready to step seamlessly in after Favre."?

Go watch tape of Rodgers coming out of college. McCarthy had his faults as a head coach, but he rebuilt Favre from the ground up, and played a huge role in Rodgers becoming what he is. That by itself is worthy of serious praise.

15 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

I'm reading a lot of revisionist history about McCarthy being a terrible coach and but for the good graces of Rodgers, the Packers would be awful. Um....no. The Packers have not been the 2010 colts during Mam's tenure. He also got to the NFC championship game before Rodgers set foot onto the field. The packer teams have usually been well rounded and outside of not being the Patriots, have had as much post season success as any team could reasonably expect.

I mean, they were in the NFC Championship game two years ago.

I'm not arguing and MM should have stayed on. I was in the camp that he should be fired. But saying he's been awful this whole time...it's possible but I'm not sure there is compelling evidence to say that.

27 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

I think what people are communicating poorly is that Mike has not addressed his flaws which I outlined in another post. The man has had over a decade to understand how to manage the clock, how to adjust to the other team's approach, how to manage challenges, how to manage timeouts and if anything has become WORSE at these things versus better. And I did not mention his inability to grasp if and when to go for it on fourth down. Aaron was kind enough to share that MM scored high on the aggressiveness index, and my response was that MM must be some kind of outlier as there are routine down/distance opportunities each season where with a qb like this and options available where the team should absolutely go for it and MM instead punts. It was dumbfounding.

Mike McCarthy has a lot of strengths as a head coach. But until he has someone sit him down and explain what he needs to change I don't see these behaviors improving. Because they have been discussed ad nauseum in the public forum and to date nothing has budged.

33 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

Are we having a different conversation if a special teams player didn't flub an onside kick recovery or if someone who picked off a pass didn't just go down immediately?

I also don't blame him for the Packers getting torched 2 years ago when the entire secondary was injured facing the number one pass offense at home.

And why is Rodgers getting a complete pass for his season thus far.

34 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

The special teams that season (and most seasons) under McCarthy have been mediocre at best and bad too many seasons. Earlier in his career Mike stated out loud that he didn't care about special teams and while he has stopped saying that if it really mattered to him there would have been a concerted effort to get better. That effort if it happened was certainly never apparent. Long way of saying it's hard to give MM too much of a break on a special teams gaffe when special teams mistakes have undermined multiple Packer seasons under his leadership.

On your last point Rodgers is not getting a pass at least from the postings I have seen at various sites along with writers around the team. At minimum they have questioned his decision-making and how his lack of proper mechanics look to have impacted numerous throws that should be effortless for a guy of his skill set.

35 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

MM has had his failings and I am certainly not arguing that he should be the head coach. But, I don't fault him when the ball lands in the arms of a special teams player and its not recovered. That was just one of a dozen wacky plays that cost them that championship game.

I think the crux of my argument is - how much of a perception change is there if he wins that game? Do we then give him a longer rope? Andy Reid has had his own awful time management issues.

On a semi related point - I have gotten quite irritated by members of the media saying the packers need the next Sean McVay - as if Sean McVay was some kind of known quantity back when he was a coordinator. We might as well say, the Packers need the next Belichick and the saints should find the next Drew Brees before he retires.

39 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

I don't criticize McCarthy for Hundley not being a capable backup. I think if a guy is supposed to be some good developer of quarterbacks and has a guy in his care for several years and when the guy does get a chance not only is he not capable he looks completely overwhelmed and shows no advancement whatsoever with regular play then that coach may not really be what he claims to be.

41 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

When did the measuring stick of a good coach become mold Brett hundley into a serviceable quarterback?

And exactly which coaches would fit this criteria? I can hear arguments for Andy Reid and Bill Belichick, but who else has this unique ability within the coaching ranks? It's certainly not John harbaugh who everyone seems to like.

42 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

You misunderstand. A) You can read and hear regularly (Bill Barnwell in his most recent podcast as one example) that McCarthy has a rep of being able to develop quarterbacks. I think this is ridiculous personally as Mike Holmgren could develop qbs. Look at how many backups left GB and became starters elsewhere under Holmgren. McCarthy has no such qb 'tree'. But the rep is there right or wrong. B) If you are that person (qb guru) and you have a guy on the roster for several seasons of training camps and practices and you regularly discuss how this guy has advanced/progressed and that the team is fine with him as the backup and THEN when the chance comes the guy is not just bad but stays bad and at times look completely lost on what to do while playing.

That to me is a pretty strong signal that A) the rep is BS B) you really do not know how to coach when your qb is not awesome. Because we have all seen other coaches 'get by' when needed for a few games or a season. MM never adjusted. He just kept asking Hundley to be Rodgers which was insane.

44 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

I think the changes to practice time and the offseason hurt McCarthy a lot in terms of developing QBs, When he rebuilt Favre and developed Rodgers, he had an extensive "QB school" in the offseason. In the last few years, he hasn't been allowed to put new QBs through that rigorous kind of process due the new restrictions.

I also strongly disagree with "asking Hundley to be Rodgers". If you go back and watch those games, the offense was buttoned down to the point that I thought it was too conservative. MM clearly didn't trust Hundley to be Rodgers, and it showed in the game-planning.

Hundley also wasn't the only backup he developed. He nearly beat the Patriots in 2013 with Matt Flynn for goodness sake.

16 Re: Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy

I have posted my assessment about MM previously in that he is really good between games but all his good works are undermined by being a terrible game day coach. And not just terrible at a few things. Mike is terrible at ALL of the gameday specific requirements of a head coach. Terrible at in-game/halftime adjustments. Terrible at clock management. Terrible at timeout management. Terrible at challenge management. So the guy can get his teams ready to play and coach some players up, though not all since not all players can be turned into NFL quality, have guys execute on a consistent basis but all that goes to h8ll by his incredibly ability to be a special brand of awful at real time decision-making.

The Rodgers relationship issue is as much on 12 as it is on the coach. Things went bad during the 4th quarter of the Seattle/GB championship game and never recovered. The 2016 late season run was a dead cat bounce because 12 just could not let a season go to waste. I think standing on the sideline on 2017 gave him a different perspective or confirmed his opinion of his head coach. His 2018 behaviors have been at times borderline mutinous.