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. McCarthy has to take responsibility for the four three point losses. In every single one of those losses he called plays that failed on fourth and one. Had he taken the points with kicking he would have won all four of those threevpoint losses. Face it he makes horrible onfiel decisions. If I am the GM he is gone after this season. In light of the injuries what I posted above is factual. Bad decision making should lead to a coaching change.

    1. Lee – Yes indeed. I’ll give MM some credit for the positive the overall record because of the injuries. That said he deserves full credit for 4-3pt losses and 1-4pt loss.

      Particulaly, the total lack of preparation of the Oline to play against an underrated and very aggressive Detroit Dline. That is all on MM.
      With NFC-N on the line, that was inexcusable. With AR out for Sunday and MM agaisnt the NFL’s best coach take NE and the points. Wait, we still have Capers. In reality, it is Dom who was able to adapt his defense and hold opponents to point margins that could have been victories in every game GB has played.

  2. Wow, I post something about fumbles and get a few comments. Post something defending MM and get a zillion comments. Perhaps I should learn about this stirring the pot thing, Kris… 😉

    In all seriousness, I’ve been as big a McCarthy defender as anyone over the last few years, and it irritates me just as much as it probably does you when people call for his firing on a whim so we can bring in a big name. But this time around, injuries or not, going into this year we had huge expectations. McCarthy had huge expectations for this team; he talked about the Super Bowl with the team on, what, the first day of minicamps? Injuries or not, it’s up to the coach to get it done somehow. And when I see a team show up… at 8-4, needing to absolutely bear down and get tough wins to make the playoffs… when I see a team show up that uninspired, play that poorly and let the Lions absolutely dominate them up front… then I question whether the coach of that team is getting them ready in the way that they should be readied.

    And I question why, in our fifth year with the same offensive coaches, the same offensive system and our third year with the same QB and WRs and generally the same OL, why our offense at times still looks this dysfunctional. I can’t think of another team in the league that has had the same continuity and struggles like this.

    On your last point, you’re quite correct. Victory cures all ills, and should the Packers outfight the Pats (in a manner no one expects, frankly), he’ll look like a genius. But as I’ve posted before, if the team looks flat and stumbles down the stretch to finish 8-8 or 9-7… in other words, if McCarthy cannot get this team ready for perhaps the most crucial three-game stretch of his career… then I think we need a new head coach.

  3. I have two questions for you, Al, and for anyone that doesn’t think MM should be the HC after this season:
    1) Who should it be?
    2) Who should be the offensive coordinator?

    1. Bill Cohwer…he’s already said that he is ready to come back. I’m sure he has a good OC in mind, that would be his choice.

        1. Capers staying is absolutely critical. Dom for HC and go out and get one of these young offensive geniuses.

    2. PackersRS says: “I have two questions for you, Al, and for anyone that doesn’t think MM should be the HC after this season:
      1) Who should it be?
      2) Who should be the offensive coordinator?”

      1) Mike Mularky
      2) Head Coach’s choice

      1. My point is that Rodgers and the offense have been in the same system for years. There would be an adaptation period no matter what, but IMHO it would be in the Packers’ best interest to hire an WCO HC (not that the Packers actually play in a WCO…).

        Don’t know many out there that are “hot”.

  4. I didnt get offended by your comments, I somewhat agree..although I am not a big fan of MM yet…I dont get all pissy about it either…Id like to see improvements…and Id love to see more passion from MM…he needs to be a big motivator to a wounded team. they will be better next year and I will forget the shadows of this year…so keep on with the opinions cuz in the end…thats all they really are…GO PACK!!

  5. GB wouldn’t be where they are without Capers. There has been, in my humble opinion, only 4 complete offensive performances al year. INEXCUSABLE!

  6. when are we going with ONE running back, jackson hasn,t did a thing all year, let starks or nance play a full game…

  7. Mike McCarthy hasn’t had one bad week, he’s had four bad years! 90% of the success the Packers had has been because the Packers are such a good team that even bad coaching couldn’t mess them up. Vince Lombardi has to be yelling in his grave at how poor McCarthy is at coaching one of the most talented teams in the league.

  8. As for shutting up, I don’t have to be a plumber to know the crapper is backing up.

    The sad fact is the Packers during the TT/MM/Rodgers era (beginning of 2008) has underperformed. I supported TT and MM in not letting Favre back in. Good Brett-Bad Brett-Prima Donna Brett was worth less than Rodgers. If Brett wanted to sulk because he didn’t get his way, it was time for the Pack to move on.

    Unfortunately it has been underperformance every year since. I think everyone can agree that winning is the objective in pro football. You win by scoring more points than your opponent. Obviously there is a causality between point differential (potency)and wins, so taking global differentials over a span of time should equate to wins and losses. But that is not the case for the Pack since the beginning 2008.

    I suppose most people just wrote off 2008, but examining that year, the Pack, to be properly on the curve between potency and wins should have been about 9-7 with their +39 differential. They were 6-10 instead. Maybe in a non playoff year no one cares, but three games is a hell of a lot, by all means the difference between borderline playoffs and homefield throughout when such a time comes. It is my opinion that it was coaching that caused this anomaly. But let 2008 be a mulligan whatever the cause and move on.

    In 2009 the Pack were second in “potency” only to the Saints, the eventual Superbowl winner. But again due to lack of leadership and scheming, the Pack were down a peg. The home loss to the Vikings had a horribly prepared, scared Packer team in the first half. So instead of likely a second seed for the playoffs last year, the Pack were a road wildcard team, who then were on the losing end of an embarrassing game for both teams. The Cardinals then proceeded to be dismissed handily themselves the next week, pretty much sealing the deal that the Pack were playoff pretenders in 2009. Second in potency in the league and a pretender. Nice. Last year was the Pack’s best “potency” since 1996 (albeit a distant second, but second nonetheless). Wild Card washout instead of at LEAST a championship appearance. Not a good trend taking 2008 and 2009 together.

    And now in 2010 the Pack, so far, are again second in “potency” and are on the playoff borderline. Over the last two seasons the Pack are second in the NFL in potency between the Superbowl champs last year and the best team (the Patriots) this year. And very likely borderline playoffs for the Pack is the result.

    Everyone is already letting McCarthy off the hook if this season is not anything of consequence because of injuries. But the Pack ARE second in potency in the whole NFL at +141, with +110 of that differential coming in the last 8 games, the supposed period so impacted by all the injuries. It is my opinion that TT has built a team like the Patriots, a team without big flash players, eschewing free agents, to build a team of 7’s and 8’s across the board, creating depth. The idea is to get a well functioning team with “replacement parts” type players that won’t experience a huge drop off in talent and so won’t have to retool the logic of the team. That is how the team has stayed potent. Unfortunately the one constant has been inconsistent coaching, which is precisely why McCarthy, as “middle management”, is paid $3.4 million a year to bring.

    Taking 2008 through 2010 altogether, the Pack are +344 in point differential potency, but are only +5 in games won. Pretty horrible. They stick out like a sore thumb when compared to the other teams high up potency over the nearly three complete seasons – NE is +21 in wins, Baltimore is +15, even the Chargers, who had to reassure Turner and Smith of their jobs,are +9. New Orleans is +17 (with a Superbowl win), Philadelphia is +15, Pittsburgh is +17, Indianapolis is +23! and Atlanta is +17. That is the company the Pack is in, and yet they are horribly inconsistent and a borderline playoff team.

    Yes, by all means, let’s layoff McCarthy. All is well. Pretty typical for a fanbase that voted Lindy Infante the best coach ever after ONE decent year. Pack fans are too soft and will accept anything. This isn’t 1983 anymore. If you’ve had the second best team in the NFC, 5th in the NFL, over the last decade, in terms of “potency” and wins, and all you have to show for it is three non-appearances, five embarrassing playoff exits, and ONE championship game appearance, in which we got Favre’d, then that is not much to be excited about. And right now this Packer team is second in “potency” only to the 1995-1997 era but we are getting 1992-1994 type results, if not WORSE.

    But again, let’s go easy on McCarthy. Everything is peachy.

    The only way he is not on a VERY hot seat into 2011 is if the Pack make a good showing in the NFC championship game. If the Pack don’t make the playoffs at all, he should be fired. Too much talent, second only to the Superbowl era, is being wasted. It’s not for lack of GM’ing or talent on the field. It’s on the sideline and the conference rooms.

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