No, this is not an emotional knee jerk reaction to the Packers losing 30-23 to the Vikings Monday night. I have been on the fence regarding the future of Mike McCarthy as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers since the end of last season. Tonight, at the hands of an ageless Brett Favre performance ironically, I have chosen to pick a side of the fence. Yes, the season is only a quarter finished and the Packers could still turn it around but I see some trends from the Packers last season that have trickled down to this season and I can draw only one conclusion:
McCarthy's time is up, and GM Ted Thompson's may be as well.
Let it be known that over the past year, I defended McCarthy and Thompson's decision to move forward with Aaron Rodgers as their starting quarterback over a waffling Brett Favre. I still think that was the right decision even after Favre lit up the Packers defense Monday night. Rodgers has proved to be one the top quarterbacks in the league, but what good is any quarterback when he is sacked an average of five times per game?
This is Thompson and McCarthy's biggest blunder to date: the offensive line. McCarthy inherited a solid unit from the previous regime and three years later it is the worst in the league. The blame here falls on Thompson first because he keeps drafting players here but none are turning out as hoped.
That is where the coach--McCarthy--is supposed to come in. The players aren't developing and that falls squarely on the coaching staff. McCarthy has been shuffling offensive lineman due to not only injuries but also inconsistent performance. This hinders the line from developing any in of chemistry with their young quarterback, and that is key to a young quarterback's confidence developing.
My second beef with the Thompson/McCarthy regime, is the refusal to even dip a toe into free agency. Coming off a 13-3 season, nobody questioned Thomspon's approach, but after a 6-10 season last year and the Packers appearing well on the road again to mediocrity this season, eyebrows are being raised.
I think we can all agree that the Packers of the 1990s don't win Super Bowl XXXI without the big free agent signing of defensive end Reggie White. Thompson doesn't see the benefits of free agency, but maybe he should look in the franchise's rear-view mirror.
Another issue with McCarthy's teams the past two years have been a ridiculous amount of penalties. Remember when Ray Rhodes got canned for a team not playing disciplined football? Anyone see any kind of similar problems here?
Yes, there were some questionable calls (Monday night included), but if that many penalties are being called, chances are most are legit and the fact that problem started in one full season and persisted into the next shows a severe deficiency in coaching,
Finally, Thompson and McCarthy both have a hubris problem. Thompson said after the end of last season, a 6-10 campaign that saw the Packers five in a row before beating Detroit in the finale, that he thought they had a "pretty good football team."
Uh, Ted? 6-10 is not a good record. Ergo, you do not have a good football team.
McCarthy is suffering the same kind of symptoms. Take a look at his press conferences. They are chock full of "we need to clean it up" when the team nearly lays an egg against a poor opponent, "PLAYER X made some mistakes but we'll get them corrected" when they never do.
Bottom line is Thompson and McCarthy are showing a Belichick-esque swagger. Except they don't have three Super Bowl rings to back it up, and the players and fans are paying the piper for it.
I'm not an advocate for coaches being fired mid-season, That's something franchises usually in disarray do and the Packers aren't like the Oakland Raiders. The change needs to be made at the end of the season and I'll be the first one to lobby for Mike Shanahan to come to Green Bay. Or maybe even Mike Holmgren again.
One thing is for certain, the Packers can upgrade their coaching and front office this off-season due to a stellar class of unemployed coaches looking for work. I suggest the Packers make the move and get this franchise back on the path to glory.