NFL Network insider Mike Garafolo recently reported that former Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is “very high” on the Jets’ list of head coaching candidates. The former Super Bowl champion was fired by the Packers after an underwhelming 4-7-1 record to start the season. What does he have to offer for Gang Green, or any NFL team?
A Winning Culture
McCarthy’s greatest accomplishment is without question his Super Bowl victory in 2011. McCarthy’s Packers took down the Steelers in a 31-25 victory, led by none other than Aaron Rodgers. The Packers went 10-6 that season, and 15-1 the season after.
Outside of his Super Bowl season, McCarthy made the playoffs nine times in 12 seasons with Green Bay. His career record is 125-77-2, and his career playoff record is 10-8. The last Jets head coach to have a winning record through multiple seasons was Bill Parcells, who coached the Jets in the 20th century. Whether you like him or not, he knows how to win.
Mike McCarthy became the Packers head coach the same year Aaron Rodgers was drafted. He and Brett Favre were the biggest pieces in developing Rodgers into the incredible player he is today. Rodgers and McCarthy built tension over the years, and the final strike came this year when McCarthy was fired.
If he was the guy to coach Aaron Rodgers into the quarterback he is today, Sam Darnold would be in good hands if McCarthy becomes his new coach. Sam Darnold shares some skills with Rodgers, like throwing on the run and mobility. I’m not saying Darnold is the second coming of Rodgers, but he can be coached in a similar fashion.
McCarthy vs. Rodgers
McCarthy was given the privilege of coaching Aaron Rodgers throughout his entire career. Obviously it didn’t end well, but he still got the opportunity to watch and help Rodgers grow to be the player he is today. That’s gotta mean something, right?
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Nobody knows who to blame for the bloodbath of Rodgers and McCarthy. Some argue Rodgers was too arrogant to coach, and others think McCarthy ruined Rodgers for several years of his career. Here’s one piece of the story that could change some minds:
Aaron Rodgers had some of his best seasons early in his career. In his second, third, and fourth years, the Packers had a record of 35-11 (76%) and a Super Bowl title. Rodgers then gained the trust of the organization, getting a giant five year deal in 2013.
The Packers organization began letting Rodgers do whatever he wanted. He became the arrogant, un-coachable player he is today. He began disregarding McCarthy’s offensive game plan, and started changing plays excessively for his own benefit. They haven’t been to a Super Bowl since.
I’m not saying Rodgers killed the Packers. He has every right to be involved in making an offensive scheme. But to almost completely disregard a coach’s offense that brought your team to a Super Bowl is pure arrogance. McCarthy definitely should take a good chunk of the blame for the bad relationship, but Rodgers may deserve an even bigger chunk.
Lack of Creativity
Although McCarthy has succeeded in past years using his offense, many believe his dull offense does not fit in the modern NFL. He seems willing to change, saying that everything about his offensive scheme was open for discussion before the 2018 season began. Unfortunately, not much changed.
The Jets have seen enough boring offensive schemes over the years. Current play caller Jeremy Bates caps off the era of little offensive creativity in New York, which plays a big part in the Jets’ inability to make the postseason. If McCarthy ends up being the next Jets coach and play caller, he would need to expand his playbook and enhance the game plan to fit the modern era of offense.
If the Jets, or any team, brought in a young, creative-minded offensive coordinator to pair with McCarthy, it could help modernize his offense. The Packers brought back Joe Philbin to help call plays in 2018, who was McCarthy’s offensive coordinator from 2006-2011. He needs to be surrounded with creative minds if the Jets want to modernize his offense.
It’s too early to make predictions on the destinations of any available head coaches, but Mike McCarthy is a name to watch for in New York, and his resume is well-built. A winning culture, an experienced mind, and an offensive background. What more could the Jets ask for?