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Cory's Corner: Mike McCarthy Personifies Pressure

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Cory's Corner: Mike McCarthy Personifies Pressure

What is the personification of pressure? 

As far as the Green Bay Packers are concerned, it’s head coach Mike McCarthy. Now some of you see that and are perplexed because you see the .636 regular season winning percentage, the six NFC North titles and the Super Bowl championship and wonder what the heck I’m talking about.

I’m not diminishing any of those things. But with the hire of general manager Brian Gutekunst, the sense of urgency just got a little bit more urgent. McCarthy is 4-4 in the playoffs in the last five years and now he’s got a new offensive coordinator, a new defensive coordinator and a new offensive philosophy that he’s going to employ.

McCarthy has been the consistent rock in Green Bay, yet the Packers have the most important player in the game on their roster and they still cannot get over the hump. Even when the Packers rolled to a 15-1 record in 2011, they got upended by the Giants in the first round.

McCarthy only got a one-year extension this past winter from Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy and now Gutekunst has the power to hire or fire a new head coach. One has to wonder if Gutekunst already has a few names in mind if the Packers struggle to find their footing and fall to 9-7 or worse?

Does that mean that this will be McCarthy’s toughest coaching job? No way. When Joe Philbin was the offensive coordinator from 2007-2011, the Packers were 55-25 and were ranked top 10 in offensive points and yards four times. McCarthy has two solid tight end targets to work with and he also has fresh faces in the secondary that should help that defense right away. Those things could put even more pressure on his plate.

The Packers cannot fail with the best quarterback, a proven offensive coordinator and a running game that has matriculated into a real threat. Can they?

Well, that’s up to McCarthy and Gutekunst. With Aaron Rodgers turning 35 in December, Gutekunst knows that he doesn’t have a lot of time to play with and he also knows that the Packers fan base isn’t satisfied with Wild Card and Divisional Playoff victories. Those may look impressive in Jacksonville or Carolina but not in Green Bay. Packers’ fans expect championships, especially with No. 12 under center and appearing as happy as ever this offseason.

This is the wrong year for McCarthy to be ignorant or pompous as he continued to claim when he trotted out Brett Hundley, even in games that didn’t matter. “The quarterback room is exactly where it needs to be,” McCarthy said last year when he was asked about Colin Kaepernick possibly joining the Packers.

Watching that now is hilarious because McCarthy got testy about something that everyone could see: Hundley was a long ways away. And it also showed some dents in the “Quarterback Whisperer’s” armor.

McCarthy is entering his 13thseason as Green Bay’s head coach. His resume only rivals that of the Patriots’ Bill Belichick when it comes to consistent winning. But when it comes to winning in the postseason, McCarthy is a little better than average. He cannot leave any stone unturned this year, he cannot allow the receivers to run stale routes and he cannot rely on his quarterback to throw it over 40 times a game. 

Most of all, McCarthy needs to unify this team to take on one of the deepest NFC’s of his tenure.



Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (42) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Barnacle's picture

“Ignorant, pompous or testy” seem fair, but calling MM “consistent rock” is deceptive. Maybe stubborn and unaware would better?

Turophile's picture

Scylla would be cooler (while Charybdis would be the whirlpool of injury).

EddieLeeIvory's picture

I'm mostly on the "support" McCarthy corner.

But that whole Hundley mess really exposed MM.
Just like 2013 when the Bears busted Rodgers other collar bone. MMs backup QBs didn't come close to doing the job then either.

They had to go against their plans and bring back Matt Flynn.

MM is no QB guru.
No QB whisperer.
He's pretty smart offensively. Not a genius.

He was given Brett Favre & Aaron Rodgers.
I doubt Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could have even messed that up, although she may have she's that clueless.

Still, Favre in 2009 in Minny looked better than ever.
And Rodgers is the best ever.

One magical, with luck in Philly, run to a Super Bowl is really not even close to good enough, with THE GOAT at QB for now 11 years plus he had Favre 2 years prior.

Let's all hope the getting-plumper every year MM is given a long term extension in February. That means Super Bowl #5 for us.

croatpackfan's picture

Do you know for certain that Mike McCarthy was the person who kept Brett Hundley on the roster and released Taysom Hill?

After fist game Brett Hundley was exposed, what would you say on press conference regarding Brett Hundley?

Tarynfor12's picture

What would I say...I'll quote the movie ' Invincible '... directed toward Hundley.

" I stuck my neck out for you...start playing football or you're gone! "

Demon's picture

Ok since you keep asking the same question ill answer it. First off, dont assume Taysom Hill is anything. We dont know anything about him other than a few preseason games.

What i would have said after BH first start would have been.

We have alot of work to do!! I expect better play out of the QB position. Im going to get with the assistant coaches and analize what BH can do and game plan for it.

To expect someone as limited as BH was to run the same offense as AR was nothing short of lunacy. The man struggled tthrowing anything more than 7 yards.if the only way GB could move the ball would be by the running game, screen passes QB keepers and short passes so be it! You know, the real west coast offense.

I dont believe McCarthy was only playing the card he was dealt. I dont think McCarthy had any clue Hundley was that bad.

You are right the roster was TT's baby. Are you naive enough to think that it MM went to The GM and said " Do not cut Hill, Hundley sucks and we cant win with him" do you think Hill gets cut? NO WAY!!

dobber's picture

"To expect someone as limited as BH was to run the same offense as AR was nothing short of lunacy"

I agree, but I think MM was caught in a catch-22 here. I would argue that BH played best when he was using his legs (namely as a running QB, and not on true RPO) and the Packers were cutting down the field for him to make his reads in the passing game (if he ever really made any). Can you play that way for any length of time against NFL defenses and get away with it? Not unless you're really good...and Hundley isn't.

"Are you naive enough to think that it MM went to The GM and said " Do not cut Hill, Hundley sucks and we cant win with him" "

I know I'm not naive enough to think that Taysom Hill would have made much of any difference in how the 2017 season turned out when teams realized they needed to do precious little against the Packers to score enough points to win. I can't remember seeing offensive game plans run against the Packers' crap defense that were more bland than the Ravens, Saints, Lions and Vikings ran against the Hundley-led Packers.

Turophile's picture

When a player isn't performing (and everyone can see it), it is pointless to pretend things are fine. People know 1+1 does not equal three, even if MM says it does.

That doesn't mean the head coach should throw Hundley under the bus, but he should acknowledge things are not where he wants them to be. Anything else leads to him looking stupid, deluded, arrogant, etc. MMs defence of Hundley seemed to echo his own lack of conviction, as he slid back and forth from robust defense (of Hundley), to admitting he needed better play from him.

I really did want to see more of QB Taysom Hill, but while putting him on the PS didn't work out, the most likely career path for Hill is still that he fades quietly away.

Demon's picture

Agree with everything you said dobber. What I was referring to with zHill was that croat was saying that TT cut Hill so McCarthy gets a free pass on Hundley. I dont thi k Hill would have made any difference either. Im also not sold that Hill is any better than Hundley. ive seen too many stars of preseason turn out to be nothing when it counts.

kevgk's picture

Did anyone else see taysom hill block a punt in the playoffs?

dobber's picture

I remember the commenters saying he did, but on further review wasn't it the rusher who came up the gut who got the block?

Bearmeat's picture

MM is a good person and a good coach, but he has his faults, just like anyone else. When you live your profession with the spotlight on you publicly, those warts are going to show up. Everyone's would. That doesn't mean that he's a bad coach, nor does it mean that he is the GOAT coach. Just the way it is in the NFL.

It's a bottom line business though. As good as MM has been for as long as he's been here, if he doesn't get the team at least to the divisional round this year, he should be fired. The QB he has, the offensive line, the defensive line.. this is a good team. Not without it's weaknesses. But good.

dobber's picture

I keep going back to the Saints and Sean Payton. The early parallels here are uncanny: both started with their respective teams in 2006. Both had early success, regressed, then won the SB. Neither has been back to the SB since. They have similar post-season records, although MM has been to the post season 3 more times than Payton. The Saints have a sure-fire first ballot HOF QB, but struggled to make the playoffs for several years (2014, 15, 16) with consecutive 7-9 seasons. I think we all would have expected that three consecutive 7-9 seasons would be the end of MM. I would argue that both teams have had good OL talent, good pass-catching talent (I would argue the Saints have had better RB talent), and weak defensive play over recent years (until 2017).

Not living in Louisiana, I've only heard rumors about whether or not Payton is/was on the hot seat prior to 2017 when they had a lot of things go their way with health and draft picks playing well. So what is the difference, here?

porupack's picture

very fair comparison, Dobber.
Probably one other commonality is that Saints had a lot of bad drafts on Defense earlier, but recently some very good drafts. I think GB has had 2 good drafts back to back, and back into contention as have the Saints.

dobber's picture

While TT was a staunch defender of the cap, the Saints made some bad signings that hurt their cap position, too.

kevgk's picture

What about Mike Tomlin? He has had one of the most talented teams for years, one of the easiest divisions, an easier conference, and still hasn't won a superbowl since 2009. People try to analyze McCarthy in a vaccuum, but look around. Who in the league is a better coach?

dobber's picture

Tomlin's never had a losing record, either.

4thand1's picture

One thing about MM, he doesn't use excuses. There have been times when he could have but you rarely see it. He sure doesn't like to be critisized and gets defensive as hell in pressers. That's the one thing our press coverage lacks, holding the front office and coaches accountable. If it were NY or LA the press con would be a whole different ball game.

Nick Perry's picture

MM doesn't make excuses nor will he ever throw a coach or player under the bus. People love to bring up the QB room comment from last season but I ask you, what the hell did you think he'd say?

McCarthy made just ONE public plea that I remember while serving under Terrible Ted...He asked for a field stretching TE and the next season was given Cook.

He's loyal to a fault keeping coaches around who should have been shown the door years before. Slocum, Capers or promoted coaches who really didn't belong...Clements & Bennett.

McCarthy has a what I would call a borderline great staff. Philbin is a great OC as Pettine is a damn good possibly great DC. He FINALLY has a GM who at least seems will do what is necessary to win.

dobber's picture

2018 is an anomaly for MM. He's always been a tinkerer: he makes minor changes from year-to-year which I previously pointed to him being engaged in his team an looking for ways to innovate his approach. He rarely stood pat. Some changes seemed to work...others, not so much. This is the first real house-cleaning we've seen in GB since the end of 2005. Not a total whitewash, but about as close as you can get without blank-slating the whole thing.

I go back-and-forth on what it means. Maybe it means that MM, himself, has come to some epiphany and recognized that the house that he'd built was beyond fixer-upper status and he needed to go back to the foundation and start over. Maybe it means that he had a come-to-Jesus with Murphy where El Presidente told him that he could protect him for a year (hence the new power structure) against BoT or fan/media pressure, but MM needed to fix his mess. There are certainly other possible explanations.

My hunch has always been that MM isn't in immediate danger unless the roof falls in again in 2018. I still think that's true. People say a deep playoff run is needed to save his job. I think he needs to make the playoffs to stay off the hot-seat, yes, but playoff football is so much about health, matchups, and momentum that I have a hard time believing that management is putting an ultimatum of this sort against MM.

TheVOR's picture

I kind of think it's easy to criticize a HC, and ignore or get used to the fact that GB "should compete" virtually ever year. How many teams could lose an Aaron Rodgers and compete? I'm thinking maybe a couple. I can look and see genius with MM, just as quickly as I can see a trip to the Super Bowl vanish against Seattle, where we clearly choked and loss due to poor coaching in Seattle.

Bottom line is this team's success is undeniable. It has a lot to due with the HC, the coaching staff, and Aaron Rodgers. I think this staff might be the best its ever been. MM is a solid HC, period.

We could just as easily be sorry by replacing him, as in continuing to hope he gets us back to the promised land. I've personally never been on the dislike of MM train. Now, Ted Thompson? Couldn't see him out of GB quick enough. I'd have fired him after the 2011 season where he fielded that horrific defense, with the most prolific offense ever at the helm.

I like MM. I love this coaching staff. We have a huge chance.

Demon's picture

With back to back HOF quarterbacks, the playoffs shoud be within reach every year. I followed the pack during the 70s and 80s also. However I will not use the "fans are spoiled now, it used to be worse". Thats a losing defeatists attitude. QB's like Favre and Rogers dont come walking down the street every day.

When Ron Wolfe canned Lindy Infante the reason he gave was the packers had a country club atmosphere. It seems 1265 Lombardi ave has been the nicest country club in the US for the last several seasons.

The same players making the same mistakes week in week out. Coaches keeping their jobs that was so blatantly obvious that they were awful. No accountability anywhere! Then stand up at a podium and tell the world how good you are.

I' love to see McCarthy pull his head out of his ever widening rear end and make the packers the most fearsom team in the NFL. I just dont see it happening under his reign!

dobber's picture

"We could just as easily be sorry by replacing him, as in continuing to hope he gets us back to the promised land. "

This is always the question: can you realistically find someone better? It's always a gamble to make this kind of change because you never know what is going to be available as HC candidates and how they'll mesh with the team that person will inherit. Fit is such an important part of any dynamic. Do you dump MM if he makes a shallow playoff run in 2018 if you think you're going to get a first-time HC with no track record to run the team? Will a first-time HC or a HC with a weak background be able to command the respect of #12?

Fundamentally, a coaching change in GB would likely mean a small turnover in players at this point whereas many teams change their coach and make significant changes in players in short order due to scheme and fit. I just don't believe the Packers will want to gut their roster around #12. You truly have to believe that MM is the problem and that just about anyone would be better to make this kind of change right now and likely in 2019.

croatpackfan's picture

Many of you is very easy on MM. Spit on him, finding his negatives, believing without the real foundation that somebody else would be better. Who, excluding Bill Belichik?

Also, some of writers here are reporters. Why some of you, reporters do not ask Aaron Rodgers what is his opinion on MM? There is no such question. Why? Because you know what will be Aaron's answer. Something you would not prepare to hear!

0.636! There is only one active coach better!

Demon's picture

So the last time you sat down to dinner with A Rogers he professed his unwavering support for MM?

I cant recall anyone coming on tv and stating that he hopes his coach gets canned. Ill bet there are many players over the years who have thought that way though.

Ross Watson's picture

I get the disappointment of last year, but superbowl or bust is abit unfair for MM. Injuries destroyed us last season my biggest disappointment has been in the lack of plan B or C, in that case blame and upset is fair. Other teams have strolled along (if not thrievd) just fine without a starting QB, you have to like Gute's trade of Kiser because at least he realises the Hundley train is running out of excuses.I would love to see a healthy Pack win the superbowl, but if a big injury happens again and MM isn't ready I warrant the dismay.

Spock's picture

Your record is what you are. I don't see an available coach out there who would be a vast improvement over MM. He has one heck of a winning record and has kept the team together during tough times. He has his warts like anyone else but I'd rather have him as a head coach than an unknown who "might" do better. Like Belichick and Brady, MM and Rodgers are tied together. I think that's why Mark Murphy didn't want to give Gute the power to fire MM this year. I'm excited about this team and have been far less inclined to believe that the FO was "wasting" Aaron Rodgers years as a QB. It's really hard to get a team to the playoffs and harder still to get to the SB (just ask Viking fans) and to do so consistently is impressive. If some players didn't completely melt down in the last three minutes of the 2014 NFC championship game Arod would have two SB rings and this discussion would be a lot less likely to be going on. We had a one legged QB and the defense held Russell Wilson to a QB rating of "0.0" for the first half of that game. I will always maintain that had Rodgers been healthy there would have been all TD's instead of field goals in that game and it would of been a GB blowout win. MM is IMO a very good coach. I would be shocked if the Packers don't (at minimum) reach the playoffs yet again this year if 12 is healthy. I've seen plenty of bad coaches in GB before Holgrem and MM. I'm not anxious to try a "shiny new toy" head coach any time soon. Teams that have tried to replace winning coaches after a bad year almost always regret it.

Tom Greeley's picture

Not comparable to BB. McArthy is not a good coach. At least Holmgrn always pointed to Favre when talking of his success. Mcarthy really thinks he is a great coach. Give him the smelling salts.

Demon's picture

A few years ago, I had a building collapse from heavy snow on my property. Next spring when I started cleaning it up to rebuild, I had to make a decision. 1 wall was fully intact and could have easily been saved. After thinking about it while cleaning, I decided it was best just to start over from scratch. The remaining wall wasnt the reason the building collapsed. But it didnt do anything to prevent it either. It just stood there and watched it happen. Reminds me of coach McCarthy!

I dont think MM is a bad coach, nor is he good. He in my opinion is average or even slightly below. It is about time his seat warmed up to the frying point. If you are this "highly successful coach" that you laim to be, PROVE IT! No more boring predictable offense. No more poor clock management. No more keeping coaches around because you are old buddies. Do the job off the head coach. Get involved in all areas of the team! Let the OC do his job. Let the DC do his job. All areas of the team coaches and players are YOUR responsibility.

Now lets go put an ass whooping on the restt of the NFL. Your job depends on it!

The TKstinator's picture

You wanna talk about pressure?
A few years ago a buddy of mine caught his wife in bed with another man.
He was crushed.
“You two get off of me!” he cried, since he couldn’t take the PRESSURE.

Spock's picture

Not one of your better ones
A man caught his wife in bed with another man, pulled a gun and held it to his own head and started to apply pressure to the trigger. "Don't do it!" the wife pleaded.
"You'd better worry because you're NEXT!" he replies.

The TKstinator's picture

Hey! They can’t all be gems.
But I guess it’s the pressure that turns ordinary rocks into diamonds.

dobber's picture

That's what Ferris Bueller says.

Spock's picture

TK, Most of your comments are gems. You were in mid-season form just the other day!

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Cory, I have not seen one single quote from anyone in Packers leadership--Murphy, Ball, McCarthy, Gute, or anyone else--indicating Gute can hire and fire the head coach.

All comments and stories have instead stressed the opposite--that McCarthy, Ball, and Gute all report to the same man and are therefore on the same level. They just have different responsibilities.

Please provide evidence to the contrary. I would be THRILLED to be wrong about this.

In the meantime, any spin about the changes just being made to "improve communication" are hilarious, as these presume the previous structure somehow hampered or forbade communication between Thompson, McCarthy, Ball, and Murphy--which it did not in any way.

Barnacle's picture


Thank you for expressing clearly what I also believe.

Red Foreman's picture

Mark Murphy changed the power structure, not for communication purposes as he states but so he has control/power over hiring and firing. Those responsibilities should have been left to Brian G. Can anyone really see Murphy firing McCarthy? That is why the move was made. For good or ill, it won’t happen. No pressure. Leaving will have to be McCarthy's choice.

Andrew Lloyd Peth's picture

Oh no, a voice of reason! A voice stating obvious truth! How dare you!

You, sir, are to be condemned...

porupack's picture

Superbowls are very difficult to win, even with a team with few weak holes. So that is not a fair benchmark for retaining MM. As others said, too many other variables.

But, he is on the hot seat, and if no major injuries to key personnel, then he should be judged at the end of 2018;
one playoff win at least; plus

1) Kiser or Hundley are coached up and can win
2) CBs are coached up and King and a rookie are making plays, and getting noticed, and probably starting. They rank in Top 10 backfields across NFL.
3) Pettine has solved miscommunication assignments.

5) Pettine has taken away the short dump off passes, thus opposing QBs hold the ball longer and a pedestrian OLB group gets big jump in sacks (<50+ % increase over 2017)
5) 2 WRS from 17-18 classes are heavily contributing.
6) TEs are used creatively with RBs, and present nightmare for opposiong defenses, including screens. TE group leads NFL top 10 in receptions. Thus Rodgers takes 50% less sacks.

There; McCarthy has to do 5 out of the 6 above, or he should be shown the door after the season. If he accomplishes 5, then he is a damn good HC.

dobber's picture

I sure hope that neither Kizer nor Hundley is called on to take more than mop up snaps in 2018.

Since &#039;61's picture

I have always been and remain in the support MM camp because compared with his peers his results are second only to BB since 2006. However, MM can be very frustrating with some of his in game decisions and some of his press conference responses. He has definitely been too loyal and too slow to replace Slocum and Capers and he has allowed Bennett and Van Pelt to reach their levels of incompetence.

I don't know for sure but I believe the 2018 exit interviews presented team management with poor communications and competency issues with the members of the coaching staff who have since been replaced. We'll never know if it was MMs, Gutes or Murphys decision to finally let them go.

Some where there was a disconnect between MM and TT on roster decisions. MM gets the credit for the wins so has has take responsibility for the losses but why were position groups ignored for season after season? Safety, RB, TE, ILB, OLB, etc... Why didn't TT at least try to sign some FAs who may have provided the extra experience and plays that could have made the difference in many of the playoff losses. We were only one play away from advancing in 2013, 2014 to the SB and 2015.

I still firmly believe that the Packers would have completely unravelled with any other HC in 2013. MM held the team together after that lopsided loss to the Lions on Thanksgiving and brought his team into the playoffs when other teams in the division collapsed without suffering the same injuries endured by the Packers that season. That may still remain as MMs finest hour.

MM has his faults, no doubt, but he brings continuity, integrity, confidence in his staff, systems and players plus a healthy respect for the Packers tradition to his role as HC. He also always shows his appreciation for the fans support even during TC. He has been an excellent if not great HC for the Packers.

For those who are concerned with wasting ARs remaining time in GB, that will happen if MM is fired and the team needs to start everything over again. That will take another 2-3 seasons at least off ARs remaining years and still may not yield an SB victory. Just think about what happened to Favre after Holmgren left GB. We didn't come close to an SB again until 2007, MMs second season as HC. I still believe that if Holmgren remained in GB we would have had another one or 2 SBs with Favre. For now keep MM unless the bottom falls out. Thanks, Since '61

Lare's picture

Unfortunately, my ADD doesn't allow me to read any posts more than three paragraphs in length.

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