Mike McCarthy: 2011 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

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Mike McCarthy
Mike McCarthy

1) Introduction: Mike McCarthy was hired as the Green Bay Packers head coach by Ted Thompson in 2006 to replace the recently fired Mike Sherman. In his first season, McCarthy led the Packers to an 8-8 record, and since then they have only produced one losing season (2008). One of his most notable decisions was to install the 3-4 defense in 2009, bringing in Dom Capers to spearhead the change. He has guided the Packers to four playoff berths, leading to a 5-3 postseason record under him and one Super Bowl championship title.

2) Profile:

Michael John McCarthy

Position: Head Coach
Years as Packers Head Coach: 6 (2006-2012)
Age: 48



3) Expectations coming into the season: After losing in a display of offensive fireworks to the Arizona Cardinals in the 2009 Wild Card Round, the Packers followed up with an historic run to Super Bowl XLV in 2010. Their success in bringing home the Lombardi Trophy made them early favorites to repeat in 2011, and fans really expected nothing short of that.

4) Highlights/low-lights: Mike McCarthy’s biggest highlight this season was not necessarily an individual game, but the sweeping of the NFC North division. The Packers had not accomplished that feat since 1967, when the league went to a divisional format. McCarthy’s most disappointing moment, however, was the playoff loss to the New York Giants. Based on the uncharacteristic way the offense performed, many people will continue to debate resting players vs. playing them when your team has locked up their postseason seed.

5) Regular Season Performance: Though Mike McCarthy can only lay claim to a small percentage of Aaron Rodgers’ skill level, he is largely responsible for the way Rodgers runs the offense. Their working relationship is virtually perfect, and it has allowed the offense to continue progressing. McCarthy certainly takes credit for their record-breaking 15-1 season; still, the success was in large part due to the offense. Aside from that, his play-calling and game management were rarely under fire, and “bad challenges” were few and far between.

6) Postseason Performance: What is left to say that hasn’t been said? McCarthy must have been mightily frustrated with the way his team was underperforming against the Giants. Their high turnover count was a strange anomaly that was atypical of the way their season went. How many of those miscues can be blamed on the coach is up for debate; nevertheless, he must share at least part of the poor performance.

7) Conclusion: Mike McCarthy is 63-33 as the Packers head coach, and despite losing in the playoffs, he has proven himself to be a winner. Missing out on the big game in such a horrific fashion will always be the blight on this season, but it should not nullify the accomplishments that were made earlier in the season.


Season Report Card:

(B+) Level of expectations met during the season
(A) Regular Season Grade
(C+) Postseason Grade

Overall Grade for the year: A-


Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for AllGreenBayPackers.com. You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski


7 thoughts on “Mike McCarthy: 2011 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

  1. How can a loss the size of the Giants loss get a C+? The postseason Grade must be a D or less. The Giants were ready for everything that was tried.

    1. It’s not the loss that gets a C+, it’s Mike McCarthy’s performance as a head coach for that game.

      Look, I don’t think you can accurately say that “the Giants were ready for everything that was tried.” The players simply weren’t executing. Does that come down to coaching? Sure, at some level. But when they set a different standard throughout the entire season before that, I don’t think it makes sense to point the finger solely at the coaching. Just like the offensive problems can’t solely be blamed on Aaron Rodgers.

      The plays called by McCarthy were working, but they were not being executed well enough. If the O-line gave Rodgers just a split second more in protection, his fumble becomes a touchdown. And when a guy like Kuhn loses his first fumble ever in the NFL, how can you lay the blame on bad coaching?

      You could convince me that McCarthy deserves a lower C, but I can’t see his preparation, play calling, and decision making as anything less.

      The players just didn’t execute like they had done all year.

  2. I’m weighting my grade heavily towards the playoff game. He was A+ with the 15-1 record going into the playoffs. Then there was a big fat goose egg against the Giants at home. The onside kick in the first half was a clue that this game was not going as planned. At no time did he and his staff address their problems. With two weeks to prepare, they should have been ready, they weren’t. He gets an F for the playoff – He’s the boss.

    Overall A- is a good grade for him.

    This off-season he needs to sit down with Capers and workout a plan to put the D back into the top 10, at least. His future grades will be based on how well he can manage Capers effort in accomplishment of this task.

    Personally, I think they will do it. Both are high quality coaches and know better than the average fan (that would be me) what needs to be done.

    1. I still disagree with his decision for the onside kick. As for being prepared, I remember a few people in the organization saying that practices were some of the best all year. Why that didn’t translate is anyone’s guess.

      McCarthy is such a stickler for routine that it’s hard to believe his team’s preparation those two weeks was the problem. After all, he has a very good record coming off of the bye week during the regular season. Plus, he stresses ball security all year, so all those turnovers were a pretty big anomaly. Maybe he didn’t have them focused the right way, but with all the off-the-field things that happened, can you really blame him?

      You’re right, I think they will turn it around. Nothing has changed the quality of their coaching, and part of that is self-evaluation.

  3. McCarthy finally went full throttle this season, and it equated a 15-1 season. An A- is an accurate grade.

    Now, just imagine all that with an improved defense. Dare I say a 16-0 season is in the works?

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