Possible Replacements for Mike McCarthy

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.

College Coaches

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.

Other Possibilities

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=twitter

Andrew 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 host of the Pack-A-Day podcast and a writer for PackersTalk.com. You can follow him on Twitter @andrewmertig

15 thoughts on “Possible Replacements for Mike McCarthy

  1. Mike McCarthy has never been a good motivator, just look at coaches around the league–those who wear their emotions on their sleeves motivate their players more than one like McCarthy. What good is Dom Capers to motivate defense when he might as well be in the next county in that press box? Packers have become stale under McCarthy/Capers–offense at one point could carry team by outscoring opponents. Points per game have dropped by TEN since the 15-1 2011 team (35 points per game) and defense is giving up over 30 points per game. Scoring less than defense allows means LOSING RECORD, they’ve got it. I think JON “CHUCKY” GRUDEN should also be considered. He probably wouldn’t leave the studio for ANY job but this one, but I think he’d jump–at least HE would put some FIRE on both sides of ball! Packers look to finish UNDER .500 and out of playoffs unless they can win division, that’s not likely against two teams that have drafted better and built teams to compete against Packers.

    1. I didn’t bring up any former HCs because I never know who would seriously consider coming back. Gruden would be a fan favorit, but I have two main concerns: Would he still have the drive to be a Head Coach after all the time off, and would he have the Jim Harbaugh affect (where his style starts to bother the players after 3 seasons)?

      He’s definitely an interesting option.

      1. Well, he’s the ONLY former coach I’d even think about–Bill Cowher doesn’t seem to have any fire, same with Bryan Billick. And yes, I think “Chuckie” Gruden would come in breathing fire, something this team needs. Players should ACT like the athlete employees they are, COACH runs the program, if they don’t perform–they’re not needed. Too many potential athletes from college just waiting for opportunities and the street is FULL of FA’s that could be picked up–and I’d wager GB could improve with several that could take starting positions given a little time in system. It’s just disappointing after so many failed years (25) until Wolf signs Reggie and trades for Favre, that a team with two time MVP and SB MVP can’t compete any better than they have the past six years in playoffs. And EACH time, Dom Capers defense gave away the game at crunch time. Did you notice NBC’s stats on Pack’s secondary? Even with Morgan Burnett and Clinton-Dix, the AVERAGE QB completion rate AGAINST secondary is 118.0%–the last time I remember GB’s secondary playing this bad, Tramon Williams was in secondary and HE was NFL’s worst at QB comp. and TD rates. You KNEW at game’s end–when offense needed a TD pass–they threw AT Williams to get a win–Kersey caught winning TD pass in playoffs vs. ‘Hawks over Williams–where was Capers safety help? Just like most of long passes Sunday night–nowhere close.

          1. I SIGNED if nothing but to show displeasure at direction team has gone, especially since the ’11 team was good enough to win SB and it’s been downhill since. Murphy, Thompson, McCarthy, Capers don’t have any FIRE to put in this roster–I’ve seen high school/college teams with more motivation and desire. Aaron Rodgers had it right–attitude must be JOB is on the line, you CAN be replaced–that includes him AND coaches. IF they put as much enthusiasm in making plays as they do celebrating when they have made one, we might see more consistency and urgency.

            1. P.S.–I have never ‘disliked’ McCarthy, Capers or Ted Thompson. IF you read former coach Brian Billick’s recent column about coaches in their 10th season–most seem to be run out of success by that time–as McCarthy appears to. Just think McCarthy’s NOT a motivator like a Holmgren, Tom Coughlin, Belichik, or even Chuckie Gruden. I watched Jack Del Rio try to be a ‘player’s coach for Jaguars–that experiment didn’t work–coach MUST be a motivator/leader of the TEAM to have success and McCarthy just doesn’t inspire athletes to excel. That was one thing consistent among the old Lombardi teams–HE motivated them to reach for perfection and achieve greatness even as they fell short. The team’s built around TWO stars–Rodgers and Matthews–Thompson plugs in pieces to get better, he needs better pieces for parts to work more successfully and he ain’t gettin enough from draft ’cause he’d rather bring home 6-7 picks–half who won’t make it, instead of trading 2-3 for top level talent that immediately make team more competitive. Talent on roster is finally petering out in performance, offensive output has dropped by some 10 points per game while defense is giving up more points that offense averages–any kid knows that means LOSERS. He kinda reminds me of the Yankees rather than Ron Wolf’s strategy. Yankees invested money in FA’s that were past prime years, couldn’t carry team. Thompson won’t overspend–but his FA solutions, what few there have been excepting Charles Woodson, are past prime years. Wolf wanted quality for contract, Thompson filled a need with short term solutions instead of quality. Dom Capers might be able to scheme strategies but apparently he can’t teach what he designs. I’ve seen some of the most porous secondary’s and poor tackling on this Packers teams in past 5-6 seasons as any in league. They’ve been fortunate to be in NFC North, they’ve usually had only ONE team that’s been competitive for division each year–but they are playing DOWN to the level of their opposition this year and last, mistakes, defense and inconsistency on offense has finally caught up. But hey, HAPPY THANKSGIVING, maybe they can eat some Eagles after Turkey day!

  2. I’d love John Gruden. He was on staff with the Packers years ago. I also like Sean McDermott who tutored under the late Jimmy Johnson. Darrell Bevel would also be a good choice. I don’t know about McCarthy being fired though but Capers should retire or be fired. I also agree with something someone said about the DC being down on the sidelines like Dick Lebeau was talking to the players and being more hands on.

    1. McDermott seems to have been around forever, but is still only 42. He’d certainly bring some energy and defensive strategy to the defense.

      I’m okay with the DC being in the booth when they have strong position coaches. I just think the Packers are so thin at ILB and CB, and their Safeties are playing like garbage, there aren’t many adjustments to be made. I’m not sure Capers scheme would be any better if he was on the field.

  3. The Packers have gone through the same old issues year after year. I really believe it’s more the fact that there is very little responsibility and accountability. This applies to both coaches, players and management. This is a disaster of a year, yet their seems to be very little concern among the staff. Injuries are not an exceptable excuse. Every team has to deal with injuries! They fill positions with real talent off the bench or make coaching adjustments to fit the players. Something has to change!

  4. Edgar Bennett??? This Offense has TANKED ever since he’s become the OC….No Way Andrew, no way.

    I’d like to see McDaniels though some don’t like him. He WAS the one to draft Tim Tebow in the 1st round after all. But McDaniels name has come up as a candidate before and will continue to be brought up until he a HC somewhere. I wonder if it’s he’s waiting for Bill B to retire or he just hasn’t been offered a job with a QB in place like Rodgers. Oh the possibilities!

    1. In the article, I mentioned why Bennett wouldn’t get the job. But if their is a vacancy his name will get brought up, and the Packers will at least interview him.

Comments are closed.