A lot of pixels were spilled the past few weeks regarding Mike McCarthy and the supposed change in perception of his tenure as coach of the Green Bay Packers. Both Bob McGinn and Mike Vandermause have recently penned columns stating how desperate McCarthy looks in the aftermath of an unprecedented rash of firings on his defensive staff and how the heat is on McCarthy to improve next year or face possible firing.
McGinn and Vandermause both give us their versions of the same thought line.
The criticism here isn't that McCarthy fired Bob Sanders and Mike Stock. Rather, it's that he hired them in the first place. ...Both men were tough, no-nonsense, committed and loyal coaches for McCarthy. Three years later, McCarthy concluded they weren't good enough for him.
It is McCarthy’s right to hire a staff he thinks gives the Packers the best chance to win. But such a massive shakeup also is an admission he chose the wrong people in the first place and raises doubts about his ability to get it right the second time around.
Both of them are forgetting the circumstances that McCarthy was facing when he initially set about hiring his assistant coaches when he was first hired four years ago. They are forgetting (or dismissing) the previous three defensive coordinators that the Packers had gone through, forgetting Ed Donatell and 4th and 26, forgetting Bob Slowik and the worst blitz package ever conceived by man or beast, forgetting Jim Bates and a new defensive scheme that the defense had to learn for the third year in a row. McCarthy chose continuity (and was applauded for it at the time, I might add).
One thing that McCarthy is not is reactionary. This is both good and bad, of course, but in this instance it has served him well. Yes, he could have fired Sanders earlier in the year - no one would have blamed him after watching the defense set historic records for futility. (And yes, I acknowledge that I was a loud voice advocating for Sanders removal during the season.) Instead, McCarthy took the season, looked over all three years worth of Sanders' work and concluded that things were not getting better. He highlighted this in his presser (that's for you, Stanislaw!) yesterday:
...what it came down to was I just didn't feel we were headed in the right direction on the defensive side of the ball. It was really an evaluation of our last three years. It was a three-year process and I felt that a number of things that occurred in Year 1 showed up again in Year 3.
I don't think any sane observer of the game of football could argue that last point. McCarthy made an impossibly hard but correct decision, one which he should be applauded for, not ridiculed. To his credit, Vandermause hints at this in his latest:
So while it can be argued McCarthy acted out of desperation and made his deposed staffers into scapegoats, there’s another side to consider.
Perhaps McCarthy saw the error of his ways and was man enough to admit it. Rather than maintain the status quo and sink with his original staff, why not try to repair the listing ship? It’s worth a shot, and landing Capers by all appearances is a good first step.
This is exactly right. Why it took a press conference for Vandermause to understand that is beyond me.
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