Hey Packers Fans! Give Mike McCarthy a Break!

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Chill out, Cheesehead Nation.

First, I’m just as upset as anyone over the Packers’ loss to the Lions as anyone. It shouldn’t have happened. The Packers easily were and are the better team.

With that out of the way, I’m telling my fellow fans to lay off the head coach.  Mike McCarthy had an off game and made some mistakes.  He is human. Had that 4th and 1 play connected, we would all be calling him a genius. So back off.

The only thing more shameful than the performance of the Packers this past week has been the conduct of some of their fans on sports talk radio and the internet.

The Packers are 8-5 and you want McCarthy canned?  Really?  Do you think you can do a better job? Do you want to put in all those hours that the job of an NFL coach demands?

No? Then shut up.

So many fans are willing to bash McCarthy for this and that, but when it all comes down to it, they can’t say they could do better. It seems like every time the Packers lose a game, that “McCarthy HAS to be fired! OMG!”

Excuse me.  I didn’t realize we expect the Packers to go 16-0 every year. My bad.

The bottom line is the Packers should be much worse than 8-5 given all the injuries.  The Packer have enough starters on IR to form a baseball team with more players on the bench.

McCarthy doesn’t need to be fired. He needs to be praised. He has done a remarkable job holding this roster together when most teams would crumble and start planning for next year.

I’ll go ahead and say it: 8-8 to me, with this many injuries,  would be a successful year.  Some will say I have my sights set way too low, but let’s be realistic.  With this many reserves on the field, getting to a Super Bowl would be a monumental task.   If McCarthy doesn’t get the Packers there this year, oh well.  No need to cry like a two year old,  as many a fans is doing.

Don’t get me wrong: I love Packers fans’ passion. It’s what makes us the best fans in sports. Sometimes, however, that passion leads to some pretty irrational behavior. Calling for McCarthy’s head at this point is very irrational.

Let’s also give the competition some credit. The Lions are a much improved team and a lot better than their record indicates.  A few breaks going the other way and we would be talking about a three team race for the NFC North title.  If they had Matthew Stafford all year, I would argue they could be in first.

If anyone saw the post-game press conference, McCarthy held himself accountable.  He knows he made some mistakes.  He’s not Brad Childress or Josh McDaniels in that he refuses to blame himself.  McCarthy gets it without an entire fandom screaming in his face.

So let’s move on and enjoy the rest of the season.  No one expects the Packers to do well against the Patriots.  If the Packers can pull it off, all will likely be forgiven.

Such is the flip-flop nature of many fans.  Others stick with their coach come hell or high water.

Of course, we as fans have the right to criticize the team.  We wouldn’t be much for fans if we didn’t.

That said, sometimes you have to chalk things up as “stuff happens” instead of gross incompetence.  If mistakes are repeated, the coach either corrects them or is fired.  McCarthy is in year five and most assuredly will get year six – so he’s obviously learning.

That’s what I count last week’s game as.


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.


86 thoughts on “Hey Packers Fans! Give Mike McCarthy a Break!

  1. Chill out? Back off? Shut up?

    Kris, you’re entitled to your opinion, but your post is rude. Remember, we’re also entitled to our opinions, even those that differ from yours.

    1. Call it rude or whatever, but I have not seen this much venom directed at McCarthy since the Favre trade and maybe last year’s Bucs game.

      McCarthy gamble on fourth down and lost. Yes there were higher percentage plays available and those could have failed too.

      I knew this article would ruffle some feathers. I get the whole “the buck stops with the coach.” But some attacks volleyed at McCarthy border on childish.

      1. Kris, your comments are absurd. You may not care for the tone of what people are saying, but the fact that they are saying these things is indicative of a problem, from the fans perspective.

        1. The fans are not always right. If the fans had their way, Thompson would have been fired awhile ago and who knows where the team would be?

          1. Where would they be….lets see…how would getting a good caliber running back and establishing a running game to compliment the passing. As long as TT and MM are here that’s not going to happen.

  2. What are you MM’s son? That was the lamest “article” I may have ever seen. “Do you think you could do better, no…then shut up!?!?!? What kind of assenine remark is that. Just because he is a better football coach than I am does not mean I should be satisfied with his performance moron!! It also does not mean I am not entitled to have an opinion about his performance. What kind of stupiod post was that? So, because he said he sucked it is then rendered ok? That is as stupid, if not more so, than your previous remark. “Stuff happens”?!?!? Man that was one awful piece of writing.

    1. My point was fans are so quick to criticize but when it comes down it, they wouldn’t want McCarthy’ job.

      We criticize him for being conservative and the moment he goes for a killshot, we yell too? Hypocrisy if I ever saw it. If the Packers beat New England, McCarthy will once again be hailed.

      My thoughts were “oh well, we lost. It sucks. Move on.”

      It’s only a game folks. If that makes me a lesser fan so be it.

      1. I think MM is unimaginative in his play calling, and I typically think that whether we win or lose.

      2. i would take that job in New York minute and laugh all the way to the bank. Most footballs fans could do every bit as good a job as AKA Jerry Mathers has done. MM is a complete joke go back to the Leave it to Beaver show where you belong. This joke has stumbled around for how many years………he reminds me of a cross between Dan Devine and Brad Childress……..omg just go away

      3. Honestly, I liked the final call, Flynn to Jennings. He had a step on him; it was there. That was one of the few calls I liked in that game.

  3. Let’s put the blame where it needs to be and that is on McCarthy. His play callings is suspect at best. Everyone wants to criticize Favre for his last pass as a Packer. Who called the play. Who called the plays that had us throwing more in minus degree weather then running the ball? Whose problem is it the Pack can’t run the ball? Let’s take a good hard look at the direction of this team and who the leader is.

  4. Unlike one and the many that will follow Kris,I understand where your fervor was directed.However,MM goes make the same mistakes over and over and most fans see them week after week.
    Terminating MM is not the answer nor is running out and signing a “high profile” coach as you just may end up with only a “high profile” coach.

    What MM needs to do is “let go his ego” and accept what he convinces himself should work,deep inside he knows will not.How this happens may depend on how long it takes TT to realize it.

  5. Have to agree with JimR, as fans we are entitled to our opinions of MM. They may differ from yours, but that doesn’t make them wrong. I am not calling for his head, but I am upset by the playcalling which has been suspect on more occasions than just the Lions game. As far as taking the blame for his mistakes, ok, that’s good. The point I want to make is, however commendable it is to step up and take the blame….stop doing those type of things. Please learn from previous mistakes. The playcalling has become predictable to say the least and at times absolutely astounding! Can I do better, probably not, but then again, it’s my chosen career. Injuries have obviously held this team back from what they could have been. I don’t believe anyone will question the role injuries have played in this season. But, I also believe that in some instances Coaching errors have also cost us. In his tenure at GB, penalties, sloppy play, and the inability to always be ready to go at the opening bell has become the legacy of MM. Should the fans not be concerned that he is the best person to get us to the next level?

  6. I am not on the fire McCarthy bandwagon, but I will not accept 8-8 as a successful season regardless of the injuries. 5 losses by 17 points total shows the team was in position to win all of the games, and failed to do so. Blame whoever you want, but this team has overcome the injuries and is still competing for a playoff spot with 3 games left to go. To finish the season 0-3 and wind up 8-8 is simply unacceptable.

  7. MM is a pretty good coach. He is not a great coach. The Packers will never get to, nor win the Super Bowl as long as MM is the head coach. If the fans and the Packers management are happy with simply being contenders but never making it to the top, then fine, keep MM. But if you want to see the Lombardi Trophy back where it belongs, change at the head coaching position is required. I don’t pretend to know who can lead the Packers to the Super Bowl and win it, perhaps TT has some ideas.

    The above is only my opinion, and I won’t presume that it’s the only correct opinion. Everyone is more than welcome to differ. 🙂

  8. McCarthy is a good coach.

    Good coaches, in rule, don’t sin Super Bowls.
    Great coaches do.

    McCarthy isn’t a great coach.

    Being good, making the playoffs every two years to go out in the first round isn’t good enough.

    Too much talent wasted on being good. This isn’t the 1980’s Packers.

    Of course things could be worse. But let’s not pretend the Green Bay Packers are some sorry organization that’s just struggling to maintain itself, and that is lucky to co-exist with the big market teams.

    We deserve better.

      1. Brian Billick. Tom Coughlin Barry Switzer. None of these are truly great coaches yet they won a Super Bowl.

        The 1999 Rams. Any given season anything can happen.

      2. What does predicting the future have to do with my analysis, and what part of “in rule” can’t you understand?

        You stick with any given season and luck.
        I’ll stick with hard work, capability, and quality, long-term project.

        I’m not asking for MM’s head only because of last game, and I won’t change my mind if we win against the Patriots, or even if we win the SB.

        I’ll change my mind when I see great coaching from MM. When I see an intelligent playcalling, when I see a team prepared each and every game, a team that doesn’t get consistantly baffled when an inferior opponent plays toe-to-toe, and proceeds to have a brainfart. I’ll change my mind when we start winning those close games, instead of consistantly losing them.

        I’ll change my mind when MM outcoaches the adversary, instead of just being less incompetent than them (Jets, Vikings, SF).

    1. PackersRS,

      Maybe it’s not that “good coaches don’t win superbowls, great coaches do”, but that “Once a coach wins a superbowl, he becomes great”?

      I have to wonder how many people said Bill Cowher was a good coach, but not a great one, due to his failing to reach a superbowl for what seemed like 20 years. Interestingly, many fans who want MM’s head on a stick because he’s “Had 5+ years to get to the Superbowl and hasn’t gotten it done” are the same ones who bring up Bill Cowher as the obvious replacement.

      Tom Coughlin, Brian Billick- good or very good coaches, sure. Great coaches? I think most fans would have a hard time committing to that.

      Obviously, there are great coaches who have proven time and time again they can manage a team and put them in position for a championship, without question. But even those coaches all started somewhere, and until they win the first one, I guess they can’t be considered great by the masses- even though they very probably were already.

      *not that I think MM is a “Great” coach, mind you. 😉

  9. But at least we can all come together and do one thing: laugh hysterically at the Minnesota Vikings

  10. I think there was,is and will be more screw ups on the field to assign some to every coach and player on the Packers and a possible,no definite earned head slap to fans for buying to early the hype set forth by the guy(Barnett)who went out early,and now putting blame on what they believed didn’t matter back when,a run game.

    Almost every one said or agreed to “Rodgers arm is enough” to get to the SB.The season has shown that WRs,TEs and combined with the lack of run game(even with Grant)are not what we thought them to be.
    The lack of their performance at times in crucial moments,deniable by many if chosen to,has aided and abetted MM to persist in some of the gaffed play calling by him in spots where last year would never have entered his mind.
    I know,I’m being sacrilegious to dare and speak ill of our much “fan and media” driven WR-TE corps,but as indicated by a previous article on this site,proof is in the reading and writing and fact finding of those who do just that.

    The Packers season has come full circle,and what is happening in that circle is akin to a dance called”The Jerk”.

  11. Kris, of course I cannot do a better job than Mike McCarthy. I do not coach football for a living. He knows more about the game than 99.99% of people in the world, but there are people in that .01% that know more than he does and will be available to coach this team. That logic is the weakest argument I have ever seen. Guys like Bill Cowher will be available this offseason. I want the best coach possible for the Packers. MM is an average coach in the NFL. If I have an average QB and I can go get Peyton Manning or Tom Brady why wouldnt I do it? If the person managing my stock portfolio does an average job am I supposed to stick with him because he puts in a lot of hours? I would rather have the guy that is the best in the business. If I can hire him to do the job I will.

  12. McCarthy’s mistake is keeping two coaches that hold the team back. The offensive line coach and special teams coach. Those two areas are consistently below average in performance.

    The organization needs to discover the cause of the injuries. Does Thompson acquire injury prone players? Are the practices too rough for a 16 game season? Is the medical and conditioning staff “behind the times”?…never going to win it all if your players are sitting on the sidelines.

    1. MM usually corrects his mistakes, but it takes him too long. Slocum and Campen are complete jokes. MM is loyal to his coaches, but they need to be held accountable just like the players. Those two units have been bottom feeders for two years. Find a way to fix it MM, fix it now.

    2. Isn’t that TT’s job, to select the position coaches?

      Even if it’s not, it’s unfair to ask for one’s head because of 2 position coaches, not when there are so many other very good ones (Greene, Clements, Trgovac, Robinson, to name a few).

      No doubt, keeping Slocum and Campen is a MONUMENTAL mistake.

      But there’s much more to it in McCarthy’s flaws than just these two guys.

      If I had to pinpoint one flaw that dooms him, it would be his innability, or rather tardiness, in adapting the playbook to what’s in front of him. I understand not overreacting, but McCarthy takes that to an extreme.

      1. TT does not touch the coaching staff other than the HC. All assistant coaches are MM’s call. No one said keeping those morons was his only mistake. I just stated it was his biggest. His playcalling bugs the hell out of me at times, but I actually love the 4th and 1 call last game.

        1. I don’t have that much problem with the 4th and 1. It was a great matchup, Jennings singled out against an inferior CB. The circumstances of the call (backup QB, 4th down, needing 1 yard) is what makes it a bad decision, but I still don’t have that much problem with it.

          The 2nd and 3rd downs, and the overall approach to this game (sticking with playing under center, in 2 TEs, in 2 backs formations, when it was clearly not working) is what bothers me.

          Remember last year, in the beggining, where MM stubbornly kept calling for 5 and 7 step drops, never calling screens, never moving the pocket, despite the horrenduous OL play? That’s what bothers me.

  13. Kris did what a columnist’s job is, stir up debate on the topic at hand, in this case Mike McCarthy and how well he has or hasn’t performed his job. All of us have opinions about that but as I learned in the Marines, opinions are like a certain orafice located below the waist…we all have one, and they all stink! The facts are that McCarthy has done a good job keeping a beat up team competitive and playoff relevant throughout an injury riddled season. 13 players are on injured reserve. Going into the Lions game, 3 more players were on the active roster but listed as out. Two more players were listed as questionable and one, Atari Bigby, was inactive for the game. The other one was Anthony Smith and I don’t know if he suited up or not. That’s 18 players (a number of them starters or starting caliber players)that were kept by the Packers as prefered players out of training camp or, were signed as the best available after injuries sidelined other players. The fact is, Green Bay is still contending for a playoff spot with a team where 34 percent of the 53-man roster is comprised of players that weren’t the best available out of training camp or weren’t the prefered players at that position, due to the injuries. I submit, as my opinion, that Mike McCarthy (as well as Ted Thompson and the personnel staff) and the Packer coaches have all done an outstanding job just keeping this team competitive. For comparison, I would submit the poor job Mike Sherman did with an injury riddled Packer team in 2005. Or, just look at how the Bears fell apart last year with fewer key injuries.
    On another point, I lived in Green Bay when Mike Holmgren took over as head coach of the Packers. I remember fans and sportswriters all questioning his play calling, his abilities as a coach and even calling for him to be fired. Coaches become great AFTER they’ve won a championship, never before. Gruden, Bellichek (who was FIRED in Cleveland!), Cowher, et al, were all GOOD coaches before they won a championship. Now, they’re considered GREAT! Mike McCarthy is a good coach and, someday, I hope we can all call him GREAT. That, of course, is just my opinion.

    1. I completely agree with Kris and with Terry’s response above. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the cliche “only one or two key plays will decide a game.” Yet for much of this year the Pack have been playing without many of their playmakers. In a league with such competitive balance to expect the Packers to perform as if nothing’s happened is ridiculous. McCarthy, in my opinion, has done as good a job coaching this year as anyone not named Belichick. I believe he gives his quarterback multiple options on every play and it is up the the QB to pick the right one. If I have any fault with Rodgers, it’s at times given two or more options, he too often choses the wrong one(i.e. he doesn’t hit the checkdowns enough). Fans often way overreact to close game losses.

  14. Seriously? Have you watched this team fold at critical moments throughout MM’s tenure? Finley and Grant are the only IR starters on offense and that happened in the beginning of the year. Plenty of time to adjust. It’s not like we are putting a third string QB in the line of fire. Capers deserves all the praise for his ability to adjust his gameplan due to the onslaught of injuries to the defense. MM will certainly get a pass this year with “the excuse” but, sorry, next year is put up or shut up in my opinion. This team has been wildly inconsistent throughout this regime and the coach has to be accountable.

  15. I would be okay with keeping McCarthy around as long as Campen goes (or they scrap the ZBS). But SOMETHING has to change.

  16. Just want to point out that the “you can’t do better than him” argument is pretty much useless. I don’t think anyone here is any better at coaching than Josh McDaniels, Brad Childress or Wade Phillips – that doesn’t mean they didn’t deserve to get fired. I like Mcarthy, but I just don’t think he has what it takes to push the team deep into the playoffs.

  17. “Of course, we as fans have the right to criticize the team. ”

    Then shut up.

  18. Guys take it easy on “Kris”. Google “Kris” Burke and I think you will realize what I am talking about. That was a really well written article “Kris”. You should be so proud of yourself. And you were great as Corkie Thatcher.

    1. Taking personal shots at the writer is uncalled for.

      I strongly disagree with him this time, but I figure if one simply dislikes his writing, then one should simply stop reading…

      1. ahhh, Relax PackerRS. It is an article about football and a terribly written one at that. I might not be able to coach the packers but I could write a better article than this drivel. I highly doubt that is the first time someone has reference Corkie Thatcher to him. If he wants to be a writer he is going to have to deal with much worse than a little jab in the comments section.

  19. “No need to cry like a two year old, as many a fans is doing.”

    Well, that settles it. No way my kids are going to college in Oshkosh.

  20. Forget the 4th down call. How about the following, straight from MM’s mouth in his Monday presser?

    “Offensively we performed poorly, and that starts with me. I did not probably do a good enough job during the course of the week. I did not see any signs in our preparation that led me to believe to be concerned about how we were going to perform.”

    The problem is that our coach has to say this. The problem is another rotten performance, particularly on offense, in a VERY big game. Props for accepting responsibility. But give me a break. This isn’t the first time, either. Our offense did not show up at all against Washington or Miami, either. How come the defense isn’t having this same problem?

    For the record, I’m not saying he should be fired. But I can’t see where he is any better today than he was in 2006. That’s a problem.

    And Kris, the fact that I cannot do as good a job as McCarthy does not preclude me from criticizing him. If this was the case, not one fan in America would be qualified to criticize any coach, player, GM, or owner of any NFL team. Come on.

    1. I agree.

      I disagree with most of Kirs’ article, but saying that fans don’t have the right to criticize because they wouldn’t do a better job is nothing short of assinine.

      With that reasoning, in a simple comparison, one couldn’t criticize a mason if he builds a crooked wall, if he cannot build one himself.

  21. OK, as far as the “you can’t criticize the coach because you can’t do a better job” argument beeds some explaining. I meant that people who criticize McCarthy’s decision making sometimes don’t have the full story behind the decision and are too quick to judge. It happens sometimes.

    Second, regarding the tone of the article: I was fired up over people panning McCarthy before they even heard him explain himself. Such is being a fan. We all have opinions but we all love the same team. I just got frustrated over some people constantly panning McCarthy. It’s their right but be respectful.

    Third, on the personal attacks, grow up.

    1. Kris, I think a lot of people took offense to the tone of your article more than what you are saying. I agree that Mcarthy shouldn’t be fired – yet. But, he is certainly on the hot seat, and he has a team that should be able to beat the Lions, Dolphins and Redskins. Sure, we can place blame in a lot of places, but he is ultimately responsible. The Packers have a few years ahead of them where they should be able to get close to the Super Bowl. People realize that potential, and don’t want to see it go to waste because they aren’t prepares or willing to adapt. I am sure you can understand that. We are all still bound together as fans that love the Green Bay Packers and hope they are giving the opportunity they deserve to achieve great things.

  22. Why is Jersey Al letting these other hacks publish on his Blog? Let them publish on Bleacher Report. I like coming to Al’s site and getting good info.

    1. Brian,

      I appreciate that you come here for good information.

      Buteveryone is entitled to their opinion. Kris has produced some very good work on my site in the past. This is more of a rant than an informational piece, and I have no problem with it. I disagree completely with him, but I don’t censor opinions.

      Not every piece can be a home run, but if it gets people talking and invokes emotion, then it has value. Anyway, that’s how I look at it.

      Oh, and personally, I would can McCarthy after the season, although I know it’s not likely to happen.

      Again, thanks for coming here and thanks for reading…


  23. JerseyAL is doing the right thing allowing other writers to post here.Different opinions,way of writing,expressing thoughts are and should be a melting pot,which is what inspires debate and thinking and opens the eyes of those naive and my way only thinkers.What isn’t needed is taking things personal,but to maintain an keep open the spectrum of the idea behind this site.My thoughts and I’m not speaking for JerseyAL,as he is a much much better writer and can defend himself vigorously if warranted.I apologize to you AL if I’m out of line here.

    1. Taryn,

      Thanks for chiming in and as usual, you are on target. (See my response to Brian, above…)

      I completely disagree with Kris on this, and that’s fine. I knew he would get this type of reaction from some readers, and I respect their opinion also. I try not to be judgemental.

      Oh, and there’s no reason anyone should get personal. I don’t want to run a site where everyone is flaming each other and hurling insults. That bores me.

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