Mike McCarthy Green Bay Packers 2014 Evaluation and Report Card

Green Bay Packers Report Cards, Player Grades
Mike McCarthy
Mike McCarthy

1) Introduction:  Mike McCarthy has one of the best jobs in the world. He coaches the Green Bay Packers, a team with a storied history, a MVP quarterback, a solid front office and no big-ego owner muddling in football business. It’s obvious that McCarthy knows he has one of the best jobs in the world. He’s taken all the tools provided to him and turned them into a Super Bowl win, multiple division titles and a string of playoff appearances. But even the greatest jobs have their dark days. Whispers about McCarthy’s sometimes questionable playcalling and game management in the postseason have grown louder since winning Super Bowl XLV. Those whispers turned to all-out screaming after McCarthy and the Packers choked away the NFC title game this season.

2) Profile:

Michael John McCarthy

  • Age: 51
  • Born: 11/10/1963, in Pittsburgh, PA
  • Rookie Year: 2006
  • NFL Head Coaching Experience: 9 years

Biography and more

3) Expectations coming into the season:  Same as every season: get to the Super Bowl. At the very least, earn a playoff win over a quality opponent — something that hadn’t happened since winning the 2010 Super Bowl (beating the Fighting Joe Webbs doesn’t count as quality). After opening up the playbook in the second half during a divisional round win over Dallas, McCarthy got that quality postseason victory. Then all of that goodwill was torched to ground during the final 4 minutes of the Meltdown in Seattle.

4) Season Highlights/Lowlights:  Let’s not beat around the bush. The lowlight of McCarthy’s season — hell, of his entire career — was Seattle. That NFC Championship loss will remain a black mark on his coaching record as long as he’s coaching. Just like the rest of his team and his coaching staff, McCarthy made several blunders that cost the Packers a shot at the Super Bowl.

But let’s also be fair: before the blowup in Seattle, 2014 was another outstanding season for the head coach. Division titles, postseason appearances and playoff wins don’t come easily. McCarthy always has the Packers in the hunt, even when the going gets a tough due to injuries, missed opportunities, bad calls or whatever.

5) Contribution to the overall team success:  McCarthy outcoached Bill Belichick to beat the Patriots. He moved Clay Matthews inside to rescue a drowning run defense. After the offense looked lost early in the season, he incorporated some new formations and wrinkles that got everything clicking again. Most important, McCarthy was his usual even-keeled, yet authoritative self through all the ups and downs of a football season.

No panic moves. No bold declarations. No yelling for the sake of yelling. Just good, solid coaching to get his team where he wanted them to be.

6) Contributions in the playoffs:  Do we have to cover everything from the Seattle game again? No, we don’t. So, I’m not going to. McCarthy was too conservative and contributed to an overall total team collapse. Period. End of story. Moving on.

7) Intangibles: All of us at ALLGBP.com would like to extend our condolences to the entire McCarthy family on the death of Mike’s brother in the days following the NFC title game. Yes, we’re often critical of players and coaches in our writing. Sometimes we even take a few cheap shots. But all of us understand that the coaches and players who make up the Green Bay Packers have lives outside of the time they’re on our television screen or game-planning for the next opponent. Mike McCarthy seems like a good man. I’m proud to have him as the coach of my favorite football team.

Season Report Card (Coaches Grades):

(B) Level of expectations met during the season

(B+) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(D) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: B

Addendum: This evaluation was written before McCarthy announced that he is giving up play calling in order to devote more attention to other areas of the team. I’ve always thought McCarthy was a solid play-caller, who, like most play callers, has his moments of ineptitude. But if he thinks giving up playcalling is what’s best for the team, good on him for doing it. The move (if, in fact, it was 100 percent McCarthy’s decision) also shows that McCarthy isn’t going to let his ego get in the way of doing what he thinks is best for the team. I know if I was a head coach who called plays, I’d never give it up unless ordered to do so. My big ego would want my share of the credit when the offense rolled to another season of success. The fact that McCarthy was able to let go of playcalling says a lot about what kind of coach, and what type of person, he is.

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Adam Czech is a a freelance sports reporter living in the Twin Cities and a proud supporter of American corn farmers. When not working, Adam is usually writing about, thinking about or worrying about the Packers. Follow Adam on Twitter. Twitter .

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  • barutanseijin

    Hmm… B, B+ & a D average out to a B? I’d say C, which feels about right; he’s an average Joe with a HoF QB.

    • croatpackfan

      MM made that HoF QB!

  • Razer

    Fair enough assessment given our yet again winning season and hair-width from a SB appearance. I hope that Mike McCarthy’s legacy isn’t defined by missed opportunities. Considering some of our talent voids, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. By giving up the play calling role, I think that we are going to find out just how good a coach he can be.

    This is McCarthy’s staff and, as head coach, he needs to ensure that positional coaches and coordinators are performing at the highest level. To let Special Teams fail for so long – is a failure of the head coach. I don’t know how good Winston Moss or Joe Whitt are as coaches but MM needs to know and to show that he isn’t afraid to make changes.

    For me, his ‘B’ isn’t about losing the final game, it is about his ability to get the most out of this team and its coaches.

  • Since ’61

    MM is one of the best coaches in the league and I’m happy that he is the head coach of the Packers. I think that the D grade for his playoff contributions is a little harsh since he developed great game plans for defeating both Dallas and Seattle considering that he was playing with an injured QB who could not execute a significant part of the offense. Also, his challenge of the Dez Bryant catch/non-catch late in the 4th qtr of the Dallas game may have saved the game for the Packers. His even tempered approach to coaching works well with today’s players and his team plays hard for him as a result. His negative is a allowing a deteriorating situation to continue until it costs the team a game or a championship as was the case with Shawn Slocum and the STs in 2014. When he does make decisions or changes they are usually well thought out and produce the intended result. Recent examples include stating the running game will be better and it has become better with Lacy and improved OL play. Defense will get better, this has happened with improved tackling and better defensive play but still a long way to go with the defense. Improving the injury situation with schedule changes and nutrition changes. Most recently, giving up play calling to focus on defense and STs, both of which need to get better if the Packers are to make an SB run. MM has integrity, he is a solid leader, he is resilient, he believes in his players and his programs and he looks after his players health. I hope that he remains with the Packers for a long time and I wish him the best in his effort to bring the Lombardi trophy back to Green Bay where it belongs. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

    • BradHTX

      I agree with your points, S’61.

      I have been very critical of MM in the past, going so far as to say (to friends, in person) that I didn’t believe he could take the Packers to another Super Bowl. I said he was a great leader/motivator coach, but that his myopic inability to deviate from his plan and his blind loyalty to his players/coaching staff was a weakness that crippled the team’s chances.

      I believe that the changes he has made this offseason show that he has grown beyond those weaknesses, or is at the least trying to do what it takes to overcome them. His firing Slocum and giving up play calling duties shows a level of humility that I frankly didn’t believe MM had, and it speaks highly of his character. I’m more positive today about the Packers’ future under MM than I have been in a while.

      I also agree that a D is too harsh a grade for his playoff contribution this season. Yes, he was too conservative in the second half of the Seattle game, but his coaching in the Dallas game and his game plan for Seattle that got them in position to win are deserving of more than a D. The soiling of their golden pants in the last four minutes was fully a team effort, and while MM certainly deserves some culpability for the loss, I don’t believe it rises to that level. C, I’d say.

      And just take a moment to consider how lucky we are to be fans of a team where we can consider losing in the championship game of the playoffs to be only average!

      • packett

        Yep. My thoughts exactly. He had great plan for Dallas and Seattle, and did his job. The last quarter costed him an A…and two grade demotion to a C is about right.

  • mark gast

    The flag! His challenge flag against Dallas was simply brilliant. That should get him a grade above a D. As for the greatest disappointment of his career, I think it has to be the 2007 NFC title game because that was played in GB against an inferior (although eventual SB Champ) team. I so wanted Favre to win that one and then ride off into the Sunset and HOF. Overall, I think his grade should be higher. 7 playoff appearances in 9 years; passing Lombardi in wins, come on, that’t greatness.

  • I am going to punt mostly on this since my post might be pages long otherwise. I agree with the grade, and the comments made by the author, Since ’61 and Brad. I view MM as an above average coach overall. Again, I am limiting MM’s grade to this year, just like I would do with any player. Don’t care how Tramon played in 2010; I graded him on this year. Thus, MM gets no credit from me for developing Aaron Rodgers: that was done years ago, and Aaron Rodgers deserves more credit than often is given to him. I am impressed by his hires of Zolari and Montgomery, but not so much by his retention of Winston Moss and Darren Perry (the jury is out on Perry in my book as I wait to see what he can do with a talent like Clinton Dix). Grade B is fine by me.

    • Adam Czech

      I guess I factor in past seasons somewhat when grading coaches/GMs because part of their job is to look at the big picture. Part of the reason Rodgers is so good today is because MM helped develop him and get him to where he is. Part of the reason Thompson has the Packers roster in good shape is because of decisions he made two, three, four years ago about the salary cap, which players to let walk, who to draft, etc.