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Firing Mike McCarthy was a difficult, but necessary decision for Packers

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Firing Mike McCarthy was a difficult, but necessary decision for Packers

-- While the power structure within the Green Bay Packers' front office remains in a state of flux, there wasn't much uncertainty about how the team should go about handling the firing of head coach Mike McCarthy.

The notion this past offseason was that newly-appointed vice president Russ Ball and general manager Brian Gutekunst would report to President and CEO Mark Murphy when it came to staff decisions. It's presumed that McCarthy's successor will as well.

But could Murphy pass down power to Gutekunst, who will be entering an offseason of even greater importance than that of his first at his current post?

According to Michael Cohen of The Athletic, Murphy consulted with Gutekunst before pulling the trigger on parting ways with McCarthy. Evidently, Gutekunst was already on board.

Losers of five of their last six games, the Packers' arrow wasn't trending upward any time soon, and with four games left to play, they might want to spare what few opportunities remain to mesh some of the young players on the roster. Instead of McCarthy leading the way, however, it'll be offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, who the team named as the interim head coach.

McCarthy was first hired as the Packers' head coach in 2006, succeeding Mike Sherman for the job. After missing the postseason in two of his first three years, McCarthy helped lead the Packers to eight straight playoff appearances as well as a Super Bowl victory in 2010.

After nearly 13 seasons with the team, McCarthy's 125 wins ranks first in the NFC since 2006.

While the resume is undoubtedly impressive, there was a pressing need for change. Execution has been one of the Packers' biggest downfalls in 2018, but sooner or later, some things are an indictment on the coaching staff. A lack of awareness, play clock miscues, odd play selections in certain situations -- the writing was on the wall.

Ian Rapoport of noted that the Packers were already plotting to move on from McCarthy. A loss to the 2-9 Arizona Cardinals on Sunday may have helped make their decision a lot sooner rather than later.

It's unknown whether or not Murphy will seek Gutekunst's guidance when it comes to hiring a new head coach, which could ultimately be Murphy's call. But the belief is that after Sunday, Gutekunst holds significant weight in football decisions. 

Truth be told, some may argue the Packers took too long to make this move. In a similar fashion to that of former defensive coordinator Dom Capers, McCarthy's 13-year tenure with the Packers has lasted much longer, even twice as long as the average NFL head coach.

That "pressing need for change" could come in the form of rejuvenation. Offering the Packers a new, innovative mind to better involve skill position players and incorporate new concepts into the playbook could make the Packers' offense start looking familiar again.

There's also no guarantee that a new face and a new voice rejuvenates anything. The Packers could be stuck in limbo for the twilight of quarterback Aaron Rodgers' career, searching for the right fit and never hitting home. 

Rodgers had a plan: Beat the Cardinals, beat the Atlanta Falcons, beat the Chicago Bears, beat the New York Jets and finally, beat the Detroit Lions and hope things fall into place for a playoff spot.

Instead, Rodgers hits 35 years old on Sunday and won't even be able to say that his team carried out phase one of his five-step plan. He'll go to sleep Sunday night, wake up Monday morning with McCarthy out of the building and undoubtedly being clamored for by other NFL teams seeking to make a late-season add to their coaching staff.

The Packers' search for a new head coach begins this week.


Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (33) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"While the power structure within the Green Bay Packers' front office remains in a state of flux"

Murphy said the power structure remains. So how is it in flux? Murphy will hire the coach with "heavy input" from BG. And, I assume Ball as well. You may not like the power structure and that's fine. I'm not sure it's ideal either. However, it is anything but in flux.

zoellner25's picture

I actually want to see ARod calls his own plays these last four games and see any difference.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I want to see him drop the attitude and execute the gameplan and see if that makes any difference.

Packers0808's picture

And right there you hit the nail on the head! The wrong problem was gotten rid of! Rodgers has become a prima dona! He was playing on purpose to get rid of McCarthy, why else would he be a walking around like a peacock laughing and smiling for all to see yesterday during the game? He can't along with McCarthy, family etc, why do you think all fell apart? Know I will get dislikes here but Rodgers has gotten old fast and any Super Bowl thoughts with him are now pipe dreams!

Stic's picture

Trade him now!!!

edp1959's picture

Oh yeah that's real smart, take a 32mil cap hit. Next.

Razer's picture

Well said. I'll add - play better to the two you mentioned.

zoellner25's picture

i'm just curious to see if Rodger's play does actually improve or not, and that to me might point to the truth

Jared's picture

From what I’ve read, MM was “relieved” of his duties as HC. Until an agreement between the two parties is reached, he is still under contract through the 2019 season. Also, MM might want to earn the money from that last year (without having to do anything). It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I think it's pretty standard these days. They will continue to pay his contract until he signs a deal for equal or more pay, or until the end of the 2019 NFL year. I assume this is all "boilerplate" contract language they literally copy and paste.

Given what he did for the Packers I want him to get his money and I hope he finds another coaching position if he wants it. I wish him success and happiness, just not on the field against the Packers :)

Razer's picture

Well said - again. You are on fire.

tm_inter's picture

"The Packers could be stuck in limbo for the twilight of quarterback Aaron Rodgers' career."

It's common knowledge that AR did not see eye-to-eye with MM and AR changed a lot of MM's play calling at the line of scrimmage. We have no way of knowing how many plays were actually called by MM or AR.

I just want to make the point that AR was very much at fault in the Packers' last three losses against the Seahawks, the Vikings, and the Cardinals. They were all winnable games, and AR's execution of plays left much to be desired.

I am not confident at all that after MM is gone the Packers will play better. After all, we're stuck with AR who's evidently played badly this year. I'm keeping my fingers crossed though and hoping that AR will prove me wrong in future games.

Skip greenBayless's picture

With all this talk about getting some "new young creative offensive genius" type person to head the team and crossing your fingers that he "gets along" with the smartest qb in all of the NFL and possibly NFL history. Why not do some creativity with the hiring process and just make Aaron Rodgers the first player/head coach in modern day NFL history. He's certainly capable of running a team himself without someone else telling him what to do. Why waste money again and risk another clash with "The Great One"? This is what he wants, complete control of the team. He was able to get rid of McCarthy probably with just a "look" at Murphy who knows. Let's change things up. The hell with some puppet coaching while Rodgers holds the strings. Put the master in charge and let's see what happens. As long as he's here, it's probably our best option until he's either traded or retires.

Tim Backes's picture

I legitimately can't tell if this is satire or not.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Honestly Tim, I can't tell either.

Striker's picture


Stic's picture

Excellent idea!!! Lol

Skip greenBayless's picture

Thank you Stic. I thought it was one solution to Rodgers being the ultimate control freak. Just put the entire spotlight on him if he thinks he's the greatest and make him sing. At least we'll finally know who to point the blame if he fails or give the credit too if he succeeds.

Rebecca's picture

Why not Brett Favre for head coach. He's tanned, rested, and ready to serve .

Archie's picture

You sir have a serious problem. You may want to seek some professional psychiatric care.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Why are you busting his balls Archie? He happens to love my idea. Tell me why you think Aaron Rodgers wouldn't make a great head coach? He already has coached this season but had one arm tied behind his back because of McCarthy.

One other thing Archie. I noticed you still have huge anger issues with Ted Thompson. You do realize he's gone right? You might want to seek some professional help for your TDS ( Thompson Derangement Syndrome).

LeotisHarris's picture

Damn, Dash, way to go! Here we've been sitting spewing forth the same-old-same-old in our echo chamber and all along your answer has been there for us. A player-coach! Of course. It worked for Lambeau in he NFL, Dave Cowens in the NBA, a large number of MLB teams back in the day. Why not now?

When Murphy steps to the podium to announce Rodgers as the Player-Coach of the Green Bay Packers, let's all remember it was ol' paradigm-shifting, silo-busting, out-of-the-box-thinking Dash Riprock who birthed this idea right here on CHTV.

Well done, Dash! If this doesn't secure you a spot in the Packers HOF we will march on 1265 on your behalf. At least I will, and maybe TK. Who's with me?

Skip greenBayless's picture

Well thank you Leotis. I appreciate your sincere compliments. All I ask of you and anyone else who has the intention of giving me all the credit is to please not do so. I simply try to do my part as a life long Packers fan by offering my professional advice for free. When I donate to charity I give cash unlike others who write out a check so everyone knows who they are. If I am selected into the Packers Hall of Fame based on my common sense idea I want to go in as "anonymous". It's who I am and who I always will be.


Ted Danson

porupack's picture

<<Execution has been one of the Packers' biggest downfalls in 2018, but sooner or later, some things are an indictment on the coaching staff.>>

Exactly. It was time to point to the coaches last year (defense) and this year HC after years of rotating in new players....with same ole results. have to indict the leadership.

Thanks McCarthy for the good over past years, and wish you well.
High integrity and quality man and coach.

4thand1's picture

How the hell did MM get the label "quarterback guru"? Total failure to have a reliable back for AR for years. Matt Flynn had a couple of decent games and turned out to be a total wash. At least they got a draft pick for Hundley, they had no idea how to use him. Kizer came in and looked totally lost against the Bears in game one. He had AR and let him save the day until he lost control of him this year. All the pieces fell into place early for TT and MM and settled for the status quo, it had to end this way. Sadly , it should have been sooner.

Stic's picture

He should have been fired after the 2013 and 2014 debacles. Lost opening games to sf/sea then lost last game vs both clubs.
Proving MM has a tough time adjusting in a game or over a season.
He has been out coached so many times it defies logic.
Arod carried him without him he would have been gone much sooner.
Good Freaking riddance.
PS no doubt Arod tanked the season to get rid of him.
Trade him and truly start fresh.
Sick of half measures.

4thand1's picture

The last 3 weeks in the 2nd half. 3 points against Seattle, 3 points against the queens, 7 against the Cards.

ollie418's picture

Of Course, MM gets out coached and out "adjusted" every second half!

cheesycowboy's picture

This team could very easily be 2-9-1 right now or 6-7-1 at best. Let the hunt continue Murphy.

Pack204's picture

While I thought MM was a good coach from the sense of an offense perspective, he failed in, in game adjustments and situational football. I really don't care if we bring in a defensive or an offensive minded head coach. But what I do want is a coach that understands situational football, clock management, not wasting timeouts and does good with in-game adjustments. I just want to see a team prepared for big games and not look disorganized when trying to figure out whether to go for it on 4th and 1 and wasting a timeout to do so. You have to be two or three plays ahead in this game.

GeorgiaCheesehead's picture

Absolutely right!! MM is not the HC some think he is!!

EddieLeeIvory's picture

Rodgers reads/calls at the LOS were definitely not as good as Brady & Brees. And what Peyton Manning was like.
So many times, I saw Arod check into a run, of stick with the run in a RPO, & hand it off for a no gainer, or even a loss, as the box was stacked.

And how many open deep balls did Rodgers either overthrow & miss, or underthrow, leading to a nice gain but no TD?

I hope 12 was just "off" a little this year -and not A) missing some key throws on purpose to get MM Fired or B) never gonna be the same because of the screws or plates in his throwing collarbone.

4thand10's picture

Players play, coordinators coordinate and coaches coach. I’m still not 100% sure who was involved in personnel decisions....if it was the coach, management or the cap person. Keeping certain players way way too long. Leaving Rodgers short of Quality receivers and tight ends the last couple of yrs. Just look at our own division....Stafford has always had pretty good WRs, Cutler had good receivers, Turdbiskut in chi town has good WR. Letting Nelson walk and absolutely zero replacement .....c mon man. Overpaying slot receivers....I’m not sure if that’s on the coach. I think Mark Murphy should have been shown the door as well.
“After nearly 13 seasons with the team, McCarthy's 125 wins ranks first in the NFC since 2006.”

But ultimately, the coach has to get guys hungry and ready to play...and we haven’t seen that for awhile. So it was probably time.

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