Former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is the talk of the headlines this week. As front offices make tough decisions on their coaching staff, McCarthy is making it clear he’s available and rejuvenated.
McCarthy recently appeared on Wilde and Tausch as well as RapSheet + Friends with Tom Pelissero and provided insight into his last year. His journey of self-improvement took form in the McCarthy Project, where he worked with a team of coaches to analyze offensive trends and reinvent his system, acting as a “33rd NFL team” and preparing each week (NFL.com).
It’s been over a year since McCarthy was let go from Green Bay, and while his tenure ended on a down note, none can deny the success and impact McCarthy had on this team. McCarthy is arguably the number one offensive-minded coach available in this hiring cycle: a Super Bowl-winning coach who took the time to reflect on self-improvement rather than take the first job available.
Two teams already have openings, and more will surely follow. Where might Mike McCarthy end up coaching in 2020?
Carolina Panthers: The Panthers recently fired longtime head coach Ron Rivera, supposedly so they didn’t have to sneak around while looking for replacements. Quotes about the decision make it seem like the team is likely to go for a younger, offensive-minded head coach to create a new future (sound familiar?). Carolina currently has questions at quarterback and is a run-first team. McCarthy seems like an unlikely fit, though him getting an interview could happen.
Washington Pro Football Team: The team has a young quarterback and some solid offensive pieces, but also features Dan Snyder, the worst owner in professional sports. McCarthy will have plenty of offers and won’t need to settle.
New York Jets: McCarthy took an interview in New York last year, but reports claimed the head coach wouldn’t have full control over assistants. In the end, Adam Gase was hired to bad results. Gase is likely to be a one-and-done after doing nothing to help Sam Darnold’s development and losing to some of the worst teams in the league. McCarthy would be a smart hire for Gang Green, but likely would be more interested in somewhere more stable.
Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons haven’t been the same since losing the Super Bowl and Kyle Shanahan. Dan Quinn’s attempts to delay his firing by shuffling coordinators and playcalling duties are probably at their end. Arthur Blank is one of the better owners in the league and seems likely to look for an experienced coach from the offensive side of the ball. Atlanta has a very talented offensive core with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and Calvin Ridley. McCarthy and the Falcons would compliment each other well, and Atlanta should be one of the top spots for McCarthy.
New York Giants: Pat Shurmur has been described as someone overqualified to be an offensive coordinator, but not qualified to be a head coach. His tenure with New York, and his previous stint in Cleveland, are strong empirical evidence. The Giants gambled on Daniel Jones early in the 2019 draft, and Jones has shown some positive signs but needs coaching. Someone like McCarthy would be ideal to help develop the young QB. However, one must wonder if GM Dave Gettleman will remain in New York, and if so, what kind of coach would the new GM want?
Dallas Cowboys: Jason Garrett has to be on his way out, right? Dallas has one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, but it’s clear Garrett won’t take them to the Super Bowl. Jerry Jones is one of the most polarizing figures in the NFL and can’t always be pleasant to work with, but McCarthy could do wonders with this roster if he isn’t micromanaged.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Jacksonville looked like a true contender a few short years ago, but the Bortlesless team is sinking without the B.O.A.T. The team paid Nick Foles a lot of money to get benched for a sixth-round pick. Jacksonville still has some excellent defensive players, even with the loss of Jalen Ramsey, as well as two first-round picks. This could be a fun spot for Mike McCarthy to prove he can win with a young core and without a Hall of Fame quarterback (until he makes Gardner Minshew one maybe?).
Cleveland Browns: The team that should have hired Mike McCarthy in 2019 makes the list again for 2020! Yet Browns fans, who experienced the putridness of Hue Jackson and witnessed an 0-16 season, still think a coach that “only won one Super Bowl” isn’t good enough for them. Look, I live in Cleveland, and I wanted Freddie to do well, but I knew better. Cleveland needs a culture. They’ve been looking for one for 20 years. An experienced head coach with a Super Bowl ring, a “nobody’s underdog” mentality, a system that thrives with talented veterans (perhaps like OBJ and Jarvis Landry?), and a good working history with the entire front office would be a godsend for Cleveland. But will Cleveland move on from Kitchens? And will McCarthy choose Cleveland or go elsewhere for a completely fresh start?
NFC North Hot Seats? (please Mike no…)
Detroit Lions: The Lions wisely chose to move on from Jim Caldwell after a winning season to hire Matt Patricia, who cares more about posture than winning games (this obviously was not wise). The Patricia-led Lions have given the Packers some trouble, but otherwise are super underwhelming. Matt Stafford is injured, and the Lions are struggling. It might be time for the Lions to make a coaching change, and McCarthy would be an attractive option.
Chicago Bears: Matt Nagy won Coach of the Year, but is he actually good? As a Packers fan, I’d love to see the organization resign Nagy, Pace, and Trubisky forever, but as a realist, Trubisky’s struggles stand to get everyone fired. Should McCarthy want revenge in a Favre-ian fashion, he could make himself appealing to whoever leads the Bears. But I don’t think that’s the type of guy McCarthy is. If Mike goes to the Bears, it would be because it’s the best option for him, not for petty revenge.
Most likely/attractive options: Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns. But it’s like anything; we’ll just have to wait and see.Matt Hendershott is a Packers fan and Miller High Life enthusiast from Northwest Ohio. He has a Master of Arts in Media and Communication from Bowling Green State University. You can follow him on Twitter @MattHendershott.