Mike McCarthy Needs to Make Sure Packers Meet Expectations

Right now, just about every team in the NFL feels pretty good about the offseason. In fact, you would be hard-pressed to find a team without some sense of optimism. It's June after all.

However, when it comes to the Green Bay Packers, that optimism is justified and when you hear the words of head coach Mike McCarthy, it's hard not to get excited.

Of course, when McCarthy was speaking to reporters, he was talking more about the workouts and practices than about offseason moves. But still, the message is the same. Things are looking up for the Packers and coming off their first non-playoff season since 2008, the organization seems hungry,

Here's part of what McCarthy had to say to reporters Thursday; 

“I clearly think it’s one of our better ones, one of our best offseasons just as far as the amount of work we were able to get done, the quality of work. We were able to move some things around in the practice schedule, so our number of team reps was higher, so I think we were able to a lot more in the competitive arena just with these types of practices that we have. So I feel very good about that and once all the numbers (and GPS data) come in after today’s practice we’ll take a look at that tomorrow. But feel really good about where we are today.”

All in all, it's been a busy offseason in Green Bay. Think about it, the Packers have a new general manager, a new defensive coordinator and a bunch of new players. Jordy Nelson, a certain Packers Hall of Fame inductee, is now part of the Oakland Raiders. Dom Capers, a Super Bowl-winning defensive coordinator, was put out to pasture along with Ted Thompson.

McCarthy, who used his influence to help Brian Gutekunst get the GM job, should be brimming with confidence. He has gotten just about everything he could possibly hope for this offseason.

Now, it's up to him to deliver.

While the organization adopted a new power structure this offseason, from this perspective, the team went all in behind McCarthy. Mark Murphy picked the guy McCarthy wanted as general manager. McCarthy also hired Pettine and finally got his wish of more veteran acquisitions.

Jimmy Graham, Tramon Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson are all guys that should start and play important roles for Green Bay next season. Mercedes Lewis and Bryon Bell are two depth signings that Thomspon would have been reluctant to make. Jaire Alexander also would not have been picked under the old administration, because he was too short to meet the Ron Wolf standards.

So yes there were a lot of changes this offseason, but for the most part, they were changes McCarthy wanted and approved. To me, that means that the buck stops at his desk. At least it should. 

Certainly, the health of Aaron Rodgers will be a big factor. But if the two-time MVP is healthy, then McCarthy and the Packers should absolutely be contending for the Super Bowl. The defense will be better. Not only will the coaching be better, the talent will be too. The pass rush will be fine and with Rodgers under center, so will the wide receivers, as well as the rest of the offense. 

This team has depth and it also has impact players. Just look on defense. There is Mike Daniels, Kenny Clark, Wilkerson, Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Blake Martinez, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and potentially more. Offensively, there is Rodgers, Graham, Davante Adams, a pretty solid offensive line and some good running backs. To summarize, this team has everything it needs to succeed.

And this isn't the first time I have said that this summer because I wholeheartedly believe it to be true. 

McCarthy sounds like he believes it too and hopefully, he's right. A lot of what happened this offseason was because of him, so if the Packers fail to live up to expectations, he will be the one to face the consequences. 

 

 

 

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Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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Comments (27)

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4thand1's picture

June 14, 2018 at 06:16 pm

Expectation, win the SB. Same every year. The expectation should be the coaching staff and front office do their jobs and put a SB contender on the field.

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ChrisPeterson's picture

June 14, 2018 at 06:41 pm

Agreed. MM is gonna be on the hot seat if the team misses the playoffs again.

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croatpackfan's picture

June 15, 2018 at 06:12 am

"McCarthy, who used his influence to help Brian Gutekunst get the GM job, ..."

Can you please give us link to that information. I did not read or hear that Mark Murphy consulted Mike McCarthy when he was making decision of new GM, well except some rumors started by washed up and very bitter Bob McGinn. Lately his "insider information" showed many times as just bad dreams of old man...

So, if you have any reliable data, I would be delightful to read (or hear) about MM influence on Mark Murphy...

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ChrisPeterson's picture

June 15, 2018 at 03:57 pm

McCarthy talked about in a press conference. He basically said if the GM was a not fit for him, he might not see it working. He signaled to management that he wanted a guy that would have a different roster-building philosophy. Not sure what you have against Bob McGinn. He was one of the best beat reporters in the NFL and still produces quality reporting. He had better sources than any of the guys now. Packers coverage has gone down since he left the JS.

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croatpackfan's picture

June 15, 2018 at 04:51 pm

Well, so, it is not that Mike McCarthy was telling or making the deal with Mark Murphy who will be Packers GM. What Mike McCarthy stated was something very logical fact.

I have nothing against Bob McGinn. I respect his life time work. But that does not mean he can publicly announcing false, as he called insider information, just to calm down his bitterness of been old and retired. He is acting little bit "Favreish"! "I'm retired!" he announced. "OK", Packers organization said, "Thank you for years of following team. But, because you are retired you can not get journalist accreditation!"

And bitterness broke the roof and he started to announcing his wishes, not reliable insiders information...

You may feel like Packers coverage has gone down since he left the JS, but I think there is several authors who are writing correctly and insightful. Some of rhose authors are writing for this blog, as well.

I will go further and I will tell you that I consider you as one of that group. And that was the reason why I asked you that question...

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Lare's picture

June 14, 2018 at 07:05 pm

Another injury to Rodgers and you can throw any postseason or Super Bowl hopes out the window. They just don't have a competent backup QB like Foles to carry the team to success.

Way too many variables at this point to make assumptions on anyone's job security. If they stay relatively healthy and still underperform, yeah, McCarthy will be on the hot seat. But he's still the second highest winning-percentage coach in the NFL this year (after Belichick), if you're going to fire him you better have someone better to replace him.

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Tarynfor12's picture

June 14, 2018 at 07:09 pm

Missing the playoffs last season makes this seasons expectation for many who claim such is just getting a wild card berth. Even if watching again in Feb or mid January....SUCCESS!

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dobber's picture

June 15, 2018 at 07:59 am

My expectation is for a team that will be playing its best football in December and January, giving itself its best shot for a title. All you can do is let the chips fall at that point.

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fthisJack's picture

June 14, 2018 at 07:28 pm

no mention of Joe Philbin returning? i think this was as important as getting rid of Capers.

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stockholder's picture

June 14, 2018 at 07:35 pm

I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe. MM is not santa Claus. He doesn't know defense. He made changes! And the DEFENSE is all the better for it. It was a problem; and Gute concurred with change. (trades,signings and picks. ) Agreed: A-Rod is the factor to put the points on the board. But: MM must come up with the Right Game plans. And the impact players must deliver. On offense: Adams and Graham are not enough. MM must make this a juggernaut again. Juggernauts are not built by just playing draft picks. Or the guys that make the most money. It's guys that Can Do. Looking in the mirror is past. Winning starts now.

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Rossonero's picture

June 14, 2018 at 08:40 pm

If the Packers want to meet expectations, then McCarthy needs to hold players accountable.

His coordinators need to, too. Let's face it: we've had bad coordinators for years. McCarthy, while responsible for whatever the team does or fails to do, needs better performances out of his coordinators so he can focus on the overall team and the direction it's going.

As an example with a coordinator, we've already heard about Mike Pettine getting fired up in mini camp.

"I'm not a sweep it under the carpet kind of guy," he said.

Accountability is usually thought of as a negative thing, but it doesn't always have to be. I've been told accountability is responsibility + ownership.

I Iiked this quote from Packersnews:

“It’s the accountability piece,” Pettine explained.

“The things that upset you the most aren’t a guy getting physically beat, it’s Player A is at a certain position, and Player B is at his same position makes a mistake and gets corrected on it and Player A turns around and makes the same mistake. We tell them they are responsible for all the coaching points at your position whether it was you or not. That’s upsetting when things like that happen."

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Ferrari Driver's picture

June 14, 2018 at 09:25 pm

There are reasons to be optimistic and there are significant improvements over last season.

However, I would call our running backs adequate or close to average compared to all NFL teams. That should suffice and we can do just fine without a Bell or Barkley in the backfield.

If one of the younger receivers sets up the Packers will be a handful for any defense this season.

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NickPerry's picture

June 15, 2018 at 06:21 am

Even though it took what seemed forever McCarthy did a TON of housecleaning on his staff, he made the two changes to his Coordinators who absolutely without question had to go.

We all know Capers had to go and change was needed. But IMO McCarthy made the absolute right decision in hiring Pettine. As much as I initially wanted Vic Fangio hired, I'm even more on board with Pettine being the Packers DC. Gutekunst backed up the move bringing in Pettine with bringing in two veterans who have both excelled in his system and help with the transition. Wilkerson was a "No-Brainer" at $5 million a year and having T-Will back to help with 3 of the most important players on the defense (Alexander, Jackson, & King) is priceless.

Philbin was just as an important of hire. At no time was the Packers offense better than when Philbin was OC. The Packers didn't ever seem struggle to score points against the NFL's "Best Defenses" when Philbin was here. IMO the Packers were never better prepared than when Philbin was here either. McCarthy's brain farts were fewer and farther apart and he seldom got into a rut where defenses knew exactly what was coming. Philbin is the perfect OC for Mike McCarthy.

Lastly to help it all along Gutekunst replaced Thompson. Not only was a player like Alexander drafted, but guys over 30 were signed in FA who IMO Thompson wouldn't have signed. No way would Thompson sign Graham after Bennett last season. It's doubtful he'd bring in Williams, Bell, or Lewis either preferring to go with the younger CHEAPER UDFA , just like he did for most of his 13 seasons. Mix all this together and McCarthy has HUGE expectations. I doubt he'd want it any other way.

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dobber's picture

June 15, 2018 at 07:54 am

"he made the two changes to his Coordinators who absolutely without question had to go."

And, even though Philbin cut his chops in the Packers organization, he's spent several years now working either as his own boss or under other HCs. That kind of diversity of experience that comes from working with others is, in my mind, very important. Promotion from within just isn't as likely to get you significant change.

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croatpackfan's picture

June 15, 2018 at 05:00 pm

In Germany there is the rule that you can not become head of the scientific institute as the promotion from your job inside the institute. You have to go to other organization (other institute or somewhere else) for at least 3 years before you can be submitted for head of the institute... There is the important reason why!

Spock you are completely right - Bennett case is the latest example of "Peters principle"- everybody advance till the level of their incompetence.

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Spock's picture

June 15, 2018 at 08:59 am

NP, I agree with you and dobber on this. Much as I liked Edgar Bennett as a player and even as a WR coach he was a prime example of (What's it called? The Peter Principle?) of being over promoted to a position he wasn't good at, i.e. OC. McCarthy has made comments about how the coaches who left teams and had experiences with other systems (Pettine and Philbin) are bringing new ideas to the table. Even players like big Mo, Graham and Williams (and Jahri Evans last year) as well as players who've spent their careers with one club (Lewis) all bring new ways of looking at things to the team and the ability to mentor their teammates. I'm excited about this team BIG TIME this year. Dang but the team is due for some low injury luck from the football gods this year! This is the most exciting off-season in about a decade for the Packers.

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Rossonero's picture

June 15, 2018 at 08:49 pm

Hilarious!

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Tundraboy's picture

June 16, 2018 at 02:15 am

" I'm even more on board with Pettine being the Packers DC. Gutekunst backed up the move bringing in Pettine with bringing in two veterans who have both excelled in his system and help with the transition. Wilkerson was a "No-Brainer" at $5 million a year and having T-Will back to help with 3 of the most important players on the defense (Alexander, Jackson, & King) is priceless."

With Pettine on the sideline and his players like Mo and Williams, his extensions on the field with the younger players, critical guys like King, this is going to be a whole different defense that's for sure. Can't wait

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Donster's picture

June 15, 2018 at 07:10 am

I believe the coach staff changes will be a major influence on the team. But the expectations that need to be met is McCarthy himself. In the past few years, his game management has been very questionable, and predictable. He can take this team to the SB, or we will end up with the usual results that has occurred the past number of years, (last year is a gimme without Rodgers). He doesn't have Capers as an excuse now. Or TT. He has to pick up his game as much as the players do. If he doesn't, and this team remains mostly injury free at the most key positions, and still have an average year, then he must go.

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Barnacle's picture

June 15, 2018 at 08:06 am

Winston Moss is a whiny unprofessional and should be replaced. He gets poor results and displays an awful attitude in public. Please replace him now.

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Demon's picture

June 15, 2018 at 11:47 am

I personally dont care what kind of public persona a coach has as long as they are good at their job. Belichik has a terrible personality but he wins.

If a coach is just going to stand up there and spew mindless drivel (pad level or its all correctable) id rather they didnt say anything.

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PAPackerbacker's picture

June 15, 2018 at 08:07 am

I agree 100%. McCarthy is predictable. His play calling is questionable at times, often in critical situations.. He needs to make himself accountable as well as his staff and players. If he doesn't elevate himself to improve then how can he expect more from his coaches and players? The coaching changes were needed to get the Packers back into contention. A giant step in the right direction and long overdo. And MM is as big a part of that as anyone else on the team. He can't continue on with the same old game plan and expect progress. He too must make adjustments to his game management for the Packers to succeed. And MM needs be held accountable as well.

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RCPackerFan's picture

June 15, 2018 at 09:16 am

I think this team is stacked and ready to go for it this year. I think a lot of it will come down to how well McCarthy and Philbin can give the offense a new look. They really need to maximize the skills they have.

We no longer have Nelson. Rodgers and Nelson were always in sync with each other. That will be missed, but we still have Adams and Cobb. Cobb is probably the closest to Nelson as far as being in sync with Rodgers. Adams looks primed for a huge season.

The offense is changing and it needs to change. With the strength of the offense no longer being just the WR's. It now has TE's and RB's.

The greatest change on offense is at TE where we now have Graham and Lewis. 2 Huge TE's that can be mismatches. I expect a lot more 2 TE sets. They also have Kendricks who could make a 3 TE set more commonly used.

They also have a strong group of RB's. Jones is an explosive RB. Williams is a workhorse, and Montgomery is a Swiss Army Knife. We don't know about Mays but he could also be a workhorse type.

At WR, I really like the group but behind Adams and Cobb, it is just a really young group. Allison going into his 3rd year could be the #3. Davis also going into his 3rd year might take a jump for more playing time. The 2nd year WR's will be looking to earning more playing time as well. Clark is a huge target who is raw but has skills and size. Yancey spent a year on the PS but they were very high on him to draft him in the 5th round last year. Then they have the group of rookies. All have size, and speed.
The group of WR's skill wise has improved. But they are younger and may need things simplified more. I wouldn't count on them making a huge impact early, but maybe in a rotation they can find roles for them.

With the changes in the personnel along the offense and versatility of many players, I hope we see a lot of different looks on the offense. That is where I am hoping to see the biggest changes with McCarthy and Philbin. Finding ways to use the talent they do have.
They also have a lot more height. Graham, Lewis, Clark, Valdez-Scantling, St. Brown are all 6'4+. Also Allison, Moore and Kendricks are 6'3. They have plenty of height and good speed. They have 2 RB's that can be used as WR's also. Add some more deception to the offense and this could be an extremely tough offense to stop.

I'm excited to see the new look offense. It starts with McCarthy and Philbin.

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Tundraboy's picture

June 16, 2018 at 02:04 am

Well worth the read RC! Thanks.

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DD's picture

June 15, 2018 at 09:17 am

The article us dead wrong? Packers meet expectations? That's B.S. It should read will MM meeet expectations on changing his boring, predictable, no run, no scheme offense. The heavy expectation and ALL eyes should directly point and live with him!! No excuses donut!!

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Since'61's picture

June 15, 2018 at 09:47 am

With TT gone MM has been building this team with Gute's help. MM lobbied for Gute to be GM because he knew Gute would work to fill the needs of the team.

MM is tied to Rodgers and the Rodgers window is beginning to close. They have 3-5 years at the most, maybe less for MM if the Packers don't return to the playoffs in 2018.

I don't believe that MM chose specific players but that he influenced Gute as to which positions needed help.
Pettine probably wanted Wilerson and Williams. MM probably lobbied for Graham. After that Gute signed reasonably priced FAs like Bell and Lewis to fill out the roster.

MM has the OC and DC he wants. If the team remains healthy there is no reason the Packers should not reach the playoffs at least. If not MM will be on the hot seat for sure. However, I doubt that the Packers will move on MM quickly or Philbin and Pettine would not have signed on for one season. MM probably has at least a 2 year guarantee. In any case this is MM's team now and if they have success he'll be here as long as Rodgers is a Packer. Thanks, Since '61

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Qoojo's picture

June 15, 2018 at 09:59 am

It few years too late, but the biggest thing was getting rid of that albatross DC Capers which could only perform against C- and lower QBs.

Packers should have their TE issues resolved due to FA.

The offense took a noticeable drop when Philbin left, so there is an expectation, from me at least, of the 2011 type offense again with those new TEs, but this time paired up with a decent to average defense. Instead of the constant bottom feeder defense we have seen the last 5 out of 6 years.

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