After another loss to the Minnesota Vikings that all but wrapped up the NFC North Division, the Green Bay Packers were left wondering what it’s going to take in order for them to play a mistake-free game and come through in the clutch.
One of the more confused looks on the Packers’ sideline yesterday came from Coach Mike McCarthy, who once again failed to win a big game and watched his team commit six penalties and give up six sacks.
While at 4-3 the Packers’ season is hardly over, it might be time to start thinking about who will be running the show next season in Green Bay if things do not turn around.
Not once have I ever questioned McCarthy as the head of the Packers, but after the loss to Minnesota, it seems as though the blame needs to at least start heading in his direction.
In his fourth season as Packers head coach, McCarthy sports a respectable 31-24 record and has also won a playoff game. He also has a 13-3 season and an NFC Championship Game to his name and has seen some very high points as head coach in Green Bay.
In 2006, McCarthy’s Packers went 8-8, including winning their last four games of the season. However, outside of a Week 17 win over the 13-3 Bears who were resting their starters for the playoffs, the Packers beat zero teams with winning records.
That next year, McCarthy led the Packers to a magical 13-3 run that included a huge victory over the San Diego Chargers in Week Three. They failed to defeat the eventual No. 1 seed Dallas Cowboys in the regular season but had a successful season nonetheless.
2008 was McCarthy’s worst season as the Packers went just 6-10, but McCarthy got big wins over the Vikings and Colts during the season. The Packers lost seven games by four points or less and could have had a much better record had some things gone their way down the stretch.
In 2009, the Packers have had three “tests” in the early season and failed them all.
So what’s the point to all this? Mike McCarthy has failed to win the big game for the Packers.
In each of McCarthy’s four seasons, he has failed to beat the team with the best record on their schedule. Whether it’s the Packers’ roster being inferior in all those games or McCarthy not getting his team ready to play, something is wrong here.
It’s tough to say that McCarthy does not show enough discipline toward his team in terms of penalties because, when all is said and done, McCarthy isn’t on the field.
False starting has nothing to do with whether or not your coach disciplines you well enough. Now, plays like Johnny Jolly’s headbutt can be seen as a lack of discipline, but even that was a heat of the moment action.
McCarthy seems to get on his players when they mess up in games, but one has to wonder how much it’s doing if we never see improvement. With an inability to get his players ready for big games and a lack of discipline, is McCarthy getting enough out of this talented, young team?
With one of the most high-powered offenses in all of football, some of McCarthy’s play calls have been questionable at best. Completely forgetting about the run game at times and being predictable on most of his calls, one has to wonder if McCarthy should be the one calling plays.
With three huge swing games against the 49ers, Bears, and Cowboys, they would move to eight or nine wins and still have games against the Ravens, Steelers, and Cardinals in looking for a potential upset.
However, if McCarthy fails to get the Packers to the playoffs this season, after all the talent and personnel Ted Thompson has given him, it might be time to start looking in a different direction.
The list of potential head coaches next season is one of the deepest of all-time, including the likes of Jon Gruden, Bill Cowher, Mike Holmgren, and Mike Shannahan, just for starters.
The Packers have a darn good resume for potential head-coach candidates when you include the history of the Packers, a franchise quarterback, and the youngest team in the league.
The Packers would move in a different direction rather than re-build if they switched head coaches next season, so one of those veteran coaches would fit right in.
Divisions, conferences, and Super Bowls are not won seven weeks into the season and it’s true that there is a ton of football to be played. But the consistent miscues by the Packers and sub-par play with above average players is getting tiresome, and someone needs to take the blame.
I’ve been in McCarthy’s corner since the day the Packers hired him, but there comes a time when you have to realize problems with a team start at the head.
If we believe the Packers have the talent to be a playoff team, then that is where a good head coach will take them. Time will tell, but Sunday’s loss to the Vikings made McCarthy’s seat a little hotter.