Another week, another frustrating loss. The Green Bay Packers seemed to play with more heart and energy until late in the 4th quarter, but they were still soundly outplayed and outcoached. While I’m not on the fire Mike McCarthy bandwagon yet, it seems the Packers are in need of a major change in the coaching staff.
There are many things that have gone wrong that are out of McCarthy’s control. The team has been injury-riddled, especially at crucial positions (OL, LB, CB), but I don’t think the coaching staff has done enough to adjust the scheme to fit available personnel. On the most important 3rd down of the game, Dom Capers blitzed leaving single man coverage with no deep Safety. This resulted in MLB Joe Thomas trying to cover one of the quickest slot receivers in the league, Jamison Crowder. As a Head Coach, McCarthy is responsible for what the defense does, even if Capers has complete control.
So, what direction would the Packers go if McCarthy is let go at the end of the season? I think it is somewhat dependent on who the GM is. If Ted Thompson is still in control, I would look for an under the radar assistant who is more of a calm, long-term thinker. If Eliot Wolf has taken over I wouldn’t know what to expect, but I would think he would be more open to a splashy hire. Here’s a look at some potential options:
Josh McDaniels – Patriots OC
McDaniels had an ugly end to his time in Denver, but led them to a 6-0 start in his first season. There’s a decent history of coaches being more successful in their 2nd stint, and McDaniels is certainly great at finding ways to produce offense without elite talent at WR or RB. There are some rumblings out of New England that McDaniels is going to stay with the Patriots as the heir-apparent to Bill Belichick.
Sean McDermott – Panthers DC
McDermott was a student of former Eagles DC Jim Johnson, and may have been the NFL’s best assistant coach last season. The Panthers have certainly taken a step back this year, but McDermott has been a guy on the verge of a Head Coaching job for awhile. He would take over fixing the defense while bringing in an experience offensive coach who would work with Aaron Rodgers.
Matt Patricia – Patriots DC
Patricia is my favorite candidate. He consistently takes players who didn’t work out elsewhere or were mid to low round draft picks, and turns them into good players. His defense isn’t a 3-4 or a 4-3, it’s a combination of both, and they always seem to be in the right place at the right time. His game plan is drastically different from week to week based on the opponent. It’s not a coincidence he’s been described as brilliant. And who wouldn’t love to see that beard marching the sidelines at Lambeau in December?
Sean McVay – Redskins OC
This is my major gamble candidate. At only 30 years old, McVay is the rawest of all the candidates, but he’s taken a Redskins offense that doesn’t have a ton of talent and made it into a really good unit. He’s been great in working with Kirk Cousins, and gotten a ton out of RBs with little to no pedigree.
Edgar Bennett – Packers OC
This is more out of respect for Edgar, than as an actual serious candidate. At one point, it seemed like only a matter of time before Bennett followed in Joe Philbin and Ben McAdoo’s footsteps to become a Head Coach. After the last two seasons his career momentum has slowed. I could see Bennett remaining the OC with more control if the Packers brought in a defensive-oriented Head Coach.
While most NFL teams have been reluctant to hire from the college ranks, there are a few names out there of coaches who could be good first. Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, and David Shaw are mentioned every offseason, but it would be difficult to imagine them leaving their current positions. Jimbo Fisher of Florida State and Mark Dantonio of Michigan State both would be interesting options as well.
Some other names who might come up:
Kyle Shanahan – Falcons OC
Paul Guenther – Bengals DC
Teryl Austin – Lions DC
Darrell Bevell – Seahawks OC
Todd Haley – Steelers OC
If the Packers decide to make a coaching change, they will likely be the most attractive job on the market. The opportunity to win immediately, and coach for one of the league’s signature franchises will be a huge draw. This would be the hiring decision that would affect the rest of the Aaron Rodger’s prime, so it would be crucial to make sure they can get the perfect fit if they are moving on without McCarthy.
It’s always difficult to keep football in perspective as a fan, but sometimes life has a way to put things back in place. CheeseheadTV writer Adam Czech passed away this weekend. The following is a great tribute from Jersey Al: http://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/surviving-sundays-without-adam-czech?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitterAndrew Mertig is a a lifelong Packers fan and draft enthusiast. He has covered the NFL draft for radio and television stations in Green Bay. He is currently a writer for PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewmertig