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.
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
(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+——————
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. Follow @KrisLBurke