Cory’s Corner: Mike McCarthy’s style is perfect for Packers

In eight seasons as the Packers head coach, Mike McCarthy has an 82-45-1 record and a 6-5 playoff record. He has five double-digit win seasons.
In eight seasons as the Packers head coach, Mike McCarthy has an 82-45-1 record and a 6-5 playoff record. He has five double-digit win seasons.

Mike McCarthy has been called a lot of things by a lot of people.

Some may not like his play-calling, while others may not prefer his player development.

But the Packers coach isn’t afraid to think out-of-the-box. How many NFL coaches are approaching NFL training camp with Jell-O? That’s right, the Bill Cosby snack has been infused into Packers practice.

It is evident that McCarthy is sick and tired of seeing nagging injuries pester his players. And if it takes a Jell-O cup and a granola bar to do it, so be it.

McCarthy is entering his ninth season as coach of the Packers. The reason he has been able to be successful is because he is willing to change. In 2006 he changed his practice routine and gave the players more of a break. Usually accustomed to practicing in the morning and afternoon, he slashed practices by only having one workout following days with two workouts.

Last year, McCarthy proved what kind of a coach he really is. The knock on McCarthy has been similar to Phil Jackson when he coached Michael Jordan — any coach can win with arguably the best player in the league in Aaron Rodgers. But the Packers started four different quarterbacks last year and McCarthy made them look pretty good.

Scott Tolzien started zero games coming into last season and McCarthy made him look decent, including lighting up the Giants for 339 yards. Matt Flynn, a career backup journeyman, turned out to be the savior by somehow getting wins against Atlanta and Dallas to keep the slim playoff hopes alive.

And the person that needs to get the credit for that is McCarthy. His preparation and more importantly his positive attitude continually flowed through this team, even though Rodgers, Randall Cobb, Clay Matthews and others were hurting.

And as he proved a couple years ago that he isn’t afraid of taking a risk with an onside kick, fake field goal and fake punt all in the same season.

His biggest job right now is to develop wide receiving depth. It is unclear if Randall Cobb will be back with the Packers following Jordy Nelson’s extension. Also, it is unclear if Jarrett Boykin is in the team’s best interest as the Packers’ No. 3 receiver.

But right now, McCarthy isn’t worried about that. He just wants to get through training camp, and for the most part, the entire season, without a serious injury or a week-by-week nagging injury to deal with.

And that’s why McCarthy’s average division finish is just over first place, it’s why he owns a .545 playoff winning percentage and it’s why he’s 37 games over .500 for his career. Only current coaches Bill Belichick (94) and Andy Reid (43) have more.

Also McCarthy helped Mason Crosby find his field goal stroke last season. A stroke that forced Crosby’s confidence to be sapped like a maple tree in late fall.

Finally, nobody thought the 2010 season was going to amount to much. The Packers won a tiebreaker with the Giants to get into the playoffs and were able to do the unthinkable and win four road games. The last win gave the Packers their fourth Super Bowl win in five tries.

And the reason that happened is because a coach was able to tell them it was possible.

He may not be mentioned as much as Belichick or the Harbaugh brothers but McCarthy’s enterprising style is the breath of fresh air the NFL and this organization needs.

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Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn

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  • Big T

    “He is willing to change”… after he gets his azz whooped over and over and over and over and over. It just takes him longer than the average bear to get it. Good coach, no doubt about it. He just likes to beat a dead horse too much. Example — Full Back dive over and over and over and over. The defense knows the call before Aaron does. MM just needs to be willing to change a little sooner. He is a good coach.

  • John in Montana

    One other strength MM brought to the Packers us consistency. His philosophy of week-to-week practicing, pregame ritual and opting to receive the second half kickoffs are all things other coaches are starting to emulate. Look for the Packers to have a few wrinkles in game planning, but expect Mike to find what works and hammer it week after week. It takes more than just a good game plan each week, it takes getting your players to the level of executing the game plan to be come a real winner — McCarthy does that.

  • Since ’61

    The Packers are fortunate to have MM as their Head Coach. In this era of free agency, salary caps, constant rule changes, and an on going injury epidemic (for the Packers) he has done a great job.
    Five straight playoff appearances with an SB win is no small achievement in this era. Of the Packer Head Coaches who I have seen, starting with Lombardi, MM is third best. 1. Lombardi, 2. Holmgren and 3. McCarthy. However, if MM wins another SB I will move him past Holmgren. I believe that the 4 games after last season’s debacle in Detroit may have been his finest coaching, as he kept the team together and made it into the playoffs. The Packers should have won all 4 games but the D could not stop the Steelers when they needed to. Of course, his other finest hour was the final 6 games of 2010 and the SB win. MM has integrity, confidence in his players and his program, he is resilient and he cares about his players long term health as seen by his numerous conservative decisions concerning players returning from injuries. Some complain about his play calling, but his record is proof that his playing is usually sound. It’s not about play calling, it’s about execution anyway and MM focuses on execution. If his team can stay healthy he will take them on a great run. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

  • Stroh

    Agree on all points ’61. Great comment and my ranking is same right down to McCarthy moving up when he wins another SB. Notice I say when!

    McCarthy knows who and what he is… a football coach. That’s something that eluded Holmgren!

  • Since ’61

    Stroh – great points, especially your last 2 sentences. Dead on about Holmgren.
    Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61