The Green Bay Packers dropped to 4-5-1 on the season on Thursday night after falling to the Seattle Seahawks 27-24. Unless they turn their season around, which is looking more and more unlikely by the week, Green Bay needs a head coaching change. This isn’t to say that Mike McCarthy is a bad coach, but he simply has not been getting it done recently with the Packers.
Relationship with Aaron Rodgers
Mike McCarthy has been the Packers’ head coach for all but one season of Aaron Rodgers’ career, including Rodgers’ entire tenure as the starter. They did win a Super Bowl together in 2010, but have not been back. Since that time, the relationship between Rodgers and McCarthy seems to have been dissipating. For example, after the Packers victory over the Buffalo Bills this season, Rodgers criticized his head coach. Rodgers said that McCarthy is not scheming receivers open or designing a play to get the ball to a specific guy.
Further, the relationship may never have been as healthy as a QB-HC connection optimally should be. One reason for this may be that the year the Packers drafted Rodgers, McCarthy was the 49ers offensive coordinator. He played a major role in selecting quarterback Alex Smith with the top pick over Aaron Rodgers. Ex-Green Bay wide receiver Greg Jennings said earlier this month that when he was on the team, Rodgers would bring up that situation in meetings sometimes. When the relationship between a quarterback and coach starts with tension, it is hard to completely fix the bond, even after winning a ring.
On Thursday, during the Seahawks eventual game-winning drive in the fourth quarter, Seattle receiver Tyler Lockett made a reception for a gain of 34 yards. However, after looking at the replay, it seemed like Lockett did not complete the process of the catch. But McCarthy, even with extra time to think about his decision due to an injury on the field, didn’t challenge. A major reason for his decision was that the Packers only had one timeout remaining; they had blown their first two to avoid delay of games after communication lapses on offensive substitutions.
Wasting timeouts in this fashion falls almost entirely on McCarthy, considering he is both the head coach and offensive play-caller. The Packers have a consistent problem with their timeout usage; for instance this year, they lead the league in “wasted” timeouts this season.
Time-out usage is certainly not a deciding factor for letting go of a head coach, but it shows bigger issues at hand. If the team cannot get the correct personnel on the field, it shows a lack of preparation, which reflects badly on the coach.
It seems like Aaron Rodgers consistently keeps his team in the game, only to be let down by his teammates. This year, on two separate occasions, a player has fumbled in the fourth quarter and cost the Packers a chance at a win. This is another case of where McCarthy needs to prepare his players. The onus falls on the head coach to ensure that the players’ first priority is to protect the ball.
Mike McCarthy has been the Packers head coach for 12 years. Nearly every year, he has had a Hall of Fame quarterback (Brett Favre for 06-07) and has only led the team to one Super Bowl appearance. In addition, he has struggled to win games without his star quarterback.
Last year after Rodgers suffered a major injury, McCarthy was only able to lead Green Bay to a 3-6 record with Brett Hundley at quarterback. Even those three wins were against teams that finished the season with a combined 10 wins. They had to go to overtime to beat an eventual 0-16 Cleveland Browns team.
The biggest issue of everything presented is an apparent lack of preparations. McCarthy’s number one responsibility is to prepare his team every week for game day. Without doing that, he is not doing his job well.
If the Packers continue their downward spiral and miss the playoffs, or even if they make the playoffs and don’t have success, McCarthy should go. He is not necessarily a bad head coach, but it seems his time has run out with his current organization. McCarthy might be qualified to be a head coach with a different NFL team, but Green Bay should find a new man to run the team. Aaron Rodgers is 34 years old and only has a number of years left in his career; if the Packers want to win another championship with their Hall of Fame quarterback, they need a head coaching change.
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