Mike McCarthy: 2012 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

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Mike McCarthy
Mike McCarthy

1) Introduction:  Entering 2012, Mike McCarthy was riding high as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers. He won a Super Bowl in 2010 and followed that up with a 15-1 season in 2011.  It was the most successful two-year stretch the Packers have had since the 1996 and 1997 seasons.   Despite the stunning finish in the loss to the Giants in the playoffs, many expected the Packers to be right in the thick of things again in 2012.

2) Profile:

Michael John McCarthy

  • Age: 49
  • Born: 11/10/1963, in Pittsburgh, PA
  • Rookie Year: 2006 (as a head coach)
  • NFL Head Coaching Experience: 7 years

Biography and more   

(3) Expectations coming into the season:  The Packers offense was a juggernaut in 2011 so expectations were high for McCarthy as the offensive play caller going into 2012.  The Packers had a relatively smooth 2011 without much adversity unlike the 2010 Super Bowl winning team so it was worth watching what would happen with the 2012 team should it hit some speed bumps.

The Packers were hoping also to establish more of a running game and that was clear when the team signed Cedric Benson in training camp.  McCarthy also was expected to keep airing the ball out on offense though with hopefully a bit more balance.

4)Overachievements/Underachievements:  McCarthy got a lot out of James Jones this year. Not many expected him to put up 14 touchdowns and not even be the breakout receiver on the team.  That title went to Randall Cobb, who was used all over the field on offense thanks to the create mind of McCarthy and receivers coach Edgar Bennett.

McCarthy also had the special teams in position for very successful trick plays early in the season.  It was an aggressive side to McCarthy that many fans have fallen in love with and it speaks volumes to his faith in his players.

As far as underachievement, McCarthy failed to get a solid running game going although it was on the right track before Benson went down for the year with a foot injury.   The team also blew a game against the Indianapolis Colts that had they not blown that lead, they would have earned a first round bye and the 49ers in all likelihood would have made the trip to Lambeau Field instead.

5) Contribution to the overall team success:  McCarthy’s biggest contribution was how he (and his players, by extension) handled the “defeat” to the Seattle Seahawks on the Fail Mary in Week 5.  Such a controversial ending that was being discussed all over the world could have caused the team to unravel.  Instead the Packers and McCarthy were widely praised for how they handled the situation with such class.

McCarthy also saw the injury bug crop up again and bite his team.  Like 2010, McCarthy made no excuses and the “nobody’s underdog” mindset once again served the team well.

6) Contributions in the playoffs:  The game against the Minnesota Vikings went off without a hitch, but the team crashed and burned in the game against the 49ers. The Packers looked completely unprepared for Colin Kaepernick and the read-option and some of that blame has to go to McCarthy as well as Dom Capers.  It was the second straight season the Packers wet the bed in the divisional round and McCarthy has to take some of the heat for that as the head coach.

Season Report Card:

(A-) Level of expectations met during the season

(A-) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(C) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: B+

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com.

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  • ThomasMagnumPI

    I wish he would have run the ball more vs the 49ers, if nothing else to give the defense a chance to catch its breath.

    He needs to quit calling that FB dive to Kuhn on 3rd and short–it ain’t fooling anyone!

    The punt return fiasco was also a bone-headed call, but whatever.

    I think he needs to find a new strength and conditioning coach to hopefully cut down on the crippling injuries that have plagued the team for the past few seasons.

    You can’t argue much with a guy who seems to have a team that is a perennial Super Bowl contender though.

  • Ron LC

    Can’t wait to see how they have resolved their inadequacies with the Big, mean guys. They will continue to dominate the good to average teams. It’s the 4 or 5 physical teams they will need to beat to ensure a shot at the SB.

    What ever they do, they should not be wasting AR’s primo years. This off-season needs to fill in the gaps of both the O and D. Whatever it takes!

    • ThomasMagnumPI

      I don’t feel like the GBP got dominated in the trenches, but Staley did handle CM pretty handily, and Gore did rush for over 100 yards in that game. It’s not like Rodgers had a guy in his face 2 seconds after the ball was snapped either, from what I can recall.

      It’s the 3rd and long Kaepernick scrambles that really killed them, and that has to be something that is on the LBs IMO. I mean, you cant expect your D-Linmen to run down a mobile QB, all that often.

      • JimR_in_DC

        Raji was dominated in that game, too.

        • ThomasMagnumPI

          Yeah, he looked bad.

          • Scott 1956

            597 yards, and they didn’t get dominated on the Packers defensive line? About 280 yards rushing! They got blown up!

            • ThomasMagnumPI

              About half of those yards came from QB scrambles. You can’t put that on the D-Line.

              Similarly, most of the QB “pressures” this entire season were a result of good coverage, or the lack of a viable check-down option. I think that replacing Kuhn with Harris on third downs/pass formations will help with the latter problem.

        • http://allpackers.com Nick Perry

          The whole team seemed dominated at some point in that game.

  • Scott 1956

    First let me say that McCarthy has a great mind for the passing game. That being said, his lack of a running game, year in and year out is HIS fault! HE wanted the ZBS. That was suppose to be great for running the ball. It obviously isn’t! But McCarthy won’t change. He’ll continue to make stupid challenges, run out of timeouts, and look like a rookie in close games. It looks like all he wants to do is concentrate on the passing game! He’s the Head Coach! Which means he’s responsible for the WHOLE TEAM! He has all this confidence in Capers, why I can’t fathom, so he lets him do what he wants. Campen is a terrible O-Line coach. The only player that he’s gotten to play at a high level is Sitton! Bulaga is average, EDS is average, Lang is a little below average, and Newhouse is the worst Left Tackle in the NFL! He’s suppose to be the leader of this team, and that includes getting rid of coaches that aren’t doing the job! Not to just say that they are good coaches, and then go back to planning more pass routes! Why is it every year, at least once, he has to come out and say that the Packers need to run the ball more? EVERY SINGLE YEAR! We’ve heard that press conference so many times that we can actually sit here and see him saying that! His offense scores a lot of points, but in the playoffs you have to do more than pass on every play! One last thing, STOP THROWING LONG ON 3RD AND 1 OR 2 YARDS! It’s not working! You know why Bart Starr was so successful throwing long on 3rd and shout? He had a great running game, and he only did that once or twice a season! Not once or twice a quarter!

    • http://allpackers.com Nick Perry

      Campen is a horrible coach. M.M. doesn’t hold his coaches or his players responsible. I’m surprised you haven’t been smashed for suggesting Lang was below average. I said the same thing and I thought they’d have lynched me if possible. I don’t know if it’s the ZBS or they just can’t run block but it seems like it’s been a long time since the Packers could pick up a 3rd and 1 running the ball. I have a feeling that if we were to hire a coach like Jim Washburn or a respected line coach, we’d pick up 3rd and 1 all day long. Personally I think without Rodgers we have a 6-10, or 5-11 team all day long. Unless this teams grows about 50 sets of you know what’s, they may not make the playoffs in 2013.

  • Scott 1956

    That’s 3rd and short!

  • Since’61

    This system is a little confusing for me. First we grade most of the players as C’s or D’s with a few B’s thrown in. We berate the OL, DL, the line backers, DB’s, etc… Constant demands for Capers and Campen and some of the other coaches to go. Now we get to McCarthy and most of the comments for him are negative as well. I agree with Kris’s B+ grade for MM and would like to point out that the Packers are 52-20 for the last 4 seasons. This means that either MM is doing a great job with mediocre players or that the players are playing .722 percentage football with lousy coaches. Neither conclusion makes sense. MM has achieved a very high level of consistency with a revolving door of players due to severe injury issues every season. Let’s improve the OL and the DL. And stay healthy for a season and then we see where we’re at. If you don’t want MM for the Packer coach who would you prefer? Maybe the team’s success is because we do such a great job as fans. Thanks,

  • Shavager

    I didn’t think McCarthy ever adapted to the two safeties deep coverage by going to short yardage game–expecially since Rodgers was getting smacked in his own backfield trying to hold the ball. O-line couldn’t keep “D” off Rodgers long enough to get receivers in lanes or open for quick passes-especially without a run game. Kaepernick IS A RUNNING QB–we’ve seen it ALL SEASON LONG–yet Capers and defense acted like they’d never seen it–he could’ve at least positioned his fastest player close to line to spy-much as he’s used Woodson in past–but sitting and watching CK run without contact for 20-30 yds and then Tramon “Chicken” Williams looking for any avenue of escape to KEEP FROM TACKLING only made it worse. This Packers team is NOT PHYSICAL in trenches on either side of line and with exception of Matthews–does not hit anyone hard enough to stop anyone.