Would you Give Packers Coach Mike McCarthy a new Contract?

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MM- lombardi trophyBy now you’ve all probably read Bob McGinn’s piece in Sunday’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about the Packers talking to Mike McCarthy about a contract extension. McCarthy signed a 5-year deal in the spring of 2011 that runs through the end of the 2015 season.

McCarthy and Packers general manager Ted Thompson will have nine NFL drafts under their belts after this week. That’s a remarkable stretch of organizational consistency and one of the benefits of not having a “real” owner. God knows what someone like Dan Snyder or Jerry Jones would have done before, during and after the Favre divorce.

But the past doesn’t mean much in the NFL. We’re all happy for McCarthy and Thompson’s long working relationship and the Packers philosophy of not emotionally overreacting to organizational adversity by handing out pink slips. That philosophy, however, doesn’t protect the Packers from having to make difficult decisions.

One of those difficult decisions is whether to extend McCarthy’s contract well before it’s due to expire. It appears that the Packers are looking to do just that, and I agree with their decision.

One of the points McGinn made in his piece revolved around the wisdom of extending McCarthy before the Packers know for sure if Thompson will want to sign another contract after the GM’s deal runs out following the 2016 draft. It’s worth thinking about — if the Packers bring a new general manager, odds are good he will want to hire his own head coach. That organizational stability could go out the window if a new GM asks to fire McCarthy with 3 years and $20 million left on his contract.

But is that reason enough to not extend McCarthy? The Packers think highly of McCarthy as a head coach and I happen to agree with them. I wouldn’t want to risk losing McCarthy simply because Thompson might be close to calling it a career.

Packers fans, myself included, can get quite angry at McCarthy for certain playcalls during games. I got news for ya: Fans of the other 31 NFL teams do the same thing every Sunday. McCarthy is a good coach and the Packers would be wise to keep him around beyond his current contract. Here are a few reasons why:

  • According to Football Outsiders, the Packers have been one of the most injury-plagued teams in the NFL during McCarthy’s tenure. Nonetheless, McCarthy has a .646 winning percentage, a Super Bowl trophy, four division titles and two appearances in the NFC championship game.
  • Some credit Aaron Rodgers, not McCarthy, for the Packers success despite all the injuries. Rodgers deserves plenty of credit, but so does McCarthy for working to develop Rodgers and navigate the organization through the Favre-to-Rodgers transition.
  • Under Thompson, the Packers roster is constantly turning over and always filled with young and unproven players. It takes a coach with a steady hand to develop all of the new players and ensure that the highs are never too high and the lows too low.

Of course, it’s not all duckies and bunnies with McCarthy. The coach’s critics will point to the team’s near-collapse last season after Rodgers got hurt and the yet-to-be-fixed holes on defense as two major reasons to not go all-in on McCarthy. I don’t disagree with those criticisms, but from where I view it, the good far out-weighs the bad with McCarthy.

Mike McCarthy has won in Green Bay despite a slew of injuries and rosters filled with players who are young and inexperienced. He’s also helped develop the league’s best quarterback and keeps his teams focused through various sticky situations.

Like any coach, McCarthy has his faults. But those faults aren’t glaring enough to not bring McCarthy back for another run. Extend his contract and let the winning continue.


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 .


26 thoughts on “Would you Give Packers Coach Mike McCarthy a new Contract?

  1. What can tweedle dee(MM) do without tweedle dum(TT)? I think tweedle dum is holding tweedle dee back. Maybe tweedle dee has been wanting to change some things and tweedle dum says no. I would love to see what tweedle dee will do without tweedle dum holding him back…

  2. Under McCarthy the Packers behave and played as a team. When the team was riddled with injuries and we had a whack of rookies or UDFA filling spots, we still fielded a pretty good team or, at least, a good effort. I was so proud to be a Packers fan as we clawed our way to a division crown without Rodgers. The players played but McCarthy and his staff got the boys ready to play without many of our key guys. That’s coaching.

    Aside from the on field performance, I like the way that McCarthy keeps the antics and distractions from derailing the season. The league is full of egos and drama but the Packers focus on football – I appreciate this.

    The one thing that I am not a big fan of is McCarthy as play caller. I think that he is average at best. Furthermore, he misses too much as the head coach. The performance of the team extends beyond the play call sheet and certain areas need work. The HC needs to be paying more attention to defense and special teams

  3. I’m OK with re-upping coach now. As far as player acquisition and plugging holes, if Ted doesn’t sign him the guys he can’t really plug the holes. I know what ifs are, you know, what ifs – but the injuries have made a difference. Can’t deny it. Give him his due, he is a good football coach. And that is what he gets paid to do. However, he doesn’t really have a very good press conference personality!!!!

  4. Great question! He seems to be a players coach who at times can rally the troops during adversity and carry them though some tough times like the super bowl run, we were really banged up and really no one really expected us to win that year. Last year to even make the playoffs. However, his greatess strengths are also his greatess weaknesses. He preaches accountable of players yet does not hold himself or coaching staff to those standards. The six biggest areas of concern his first year as coach are still five out of six of the biggest concerns still.

    1. Poor offensive line play – QB running for their life.

    2. secondary poor communication and finger pointing.

    3. Special teams still ranked near the bottom every year even thouh he preaches all three stages are equally important.

    4. Injuries, he keeps telling us he is researching it during the offseason but every year we continue to have a major issue in this area.

    5. Defense has been on decline at the end of every season, unable to stop anyone without turnovers. Even during the Super Bowl run, go back and watch the Super Bowl for a great example.

    6. no run game – appears to be the only area he may have fixed.

    We are predictable on both sides of the ball, I can almost call all the plays when we are on offense just watching the games and observing the formations.

    I veiw Mike as a 7 meaning we could get better, but the odds would be against that.

    Mike and Ted are very loyal to their staff and players and at times to loyal and too stuck in their ways. It many ways I agree Ted is holding this team back more than Mike. Mike at least shows a tendancy to gamble or take a risk. I REALLY WISH HE WOULD STOP CALLING THE PLAYS…….YOUR THE HEAD COACH PAY ATTENTION TO THE WHOLE GAME…..CALLING PLAYS DISTRACTS YOU.

  5. I would prefer to see how the 2014 season unfolds before giving MM a new contract. He’s a pretty good coach; however, playoff performances, injuries, coaching staff accountability, play calling all make me want to stay-on-the-fence.

    1. I agree with you Jim, lets see what happens with 2014. McCarthy has done a excellent job keeping a team in the hunt year in and year out despite being a M.A.S.H. unit every year. Yes they went 2-4-1 without Rodgers, that wasn’t MM fault, that was Thompsons. The fact Slocum still has a job drives me crazy and Campen isn’t much better. He preaches accountability yet doesn’t hold his coaches accountable, somethings wrong with that IMO. His play calling at times leaves you scratching your head, but who’s doesn’t.

  6. If the new GM doesn’t want to retain a great coach like McCarthy… what does that say about the new GM? I’d lock McCarthy up for as long as we can!

  7. I say extend him. He has proved himself to be a consistant head coach, and he does not count against the cap. If things change he can be replaced. Good coaches are hard to find, and McCarthy is a good coach. He calls a good offensive game while still allowing Rodgers the freedom to make calls on the field.

    Besides I believe there is more to this extension than we yet know.

  8. I would advise to wait until the end of this season. If the team improves then negotiate a new contract based on performance not free upfront money. I think the team will not make much progress this year and people will be calling for his head next year. He doesn’t play to win in the pre season holding back veterans to only be hurt later. He is reluctant to make the moves to improve the defense like canning capers but like I said I would hold judgment until the end of the season.

  9. I would advise to wait until the end of this season. If the team improves then negotiate a new contract based on performance not free upfront money. I think the team will not make much progress this year and people will be calling for his head next year. He doesn’t play to win in the pre season holding back veterans to only be hurt later. He is reluctant to make the moves to improve the defense like canning capers but like I said I would hold judgment until the end of the season.

  10. The fact that so many HC’s are lucky to make three years and the other fact that many of those being hired from the Coordinator levels are also failing to last..it would be unwise to let go of one who has the success that McCarthy has shown.
    If the HC market was proving more adept, perhaps a change could be made to make sense, but the market isn’t and in the case of having Rodgers,that is a huge risk of wasting valuable years of what is known/guaranteed as contending ones.

  11. IF NOT MM, THEN WHAT IS THE ALTERNATIVE? There are some good points that have been made…..as far as Pros / Cons, on the Pros side, he has coached the team through some horrible injury spells and of course a Super Bowl ring to show for it. He avoids drama and holds people accountable.

    He won’t win any awards for public speaking, but I don’t care. Now, as far as his play calling, it has gotten worse the past few years. Running Eddie Lacy into the ground is not a good long-term plan, especially when you have good back-up RBs to add value and lengthen Lacy’s career. His play calling can be predictable and his teams’ special teams have been atrocious, but honestly, what is the alternative? And don’t tell me Jon Gruden, Bill Cowher or Bill Parcells, because those guys are out of the conversation and don’t want to coach anymore.

  12. True he is burdened with a bevy of bad draft choices and street nobody’s because TT likes to unearth all those gems. So, how do you develop all these new guys every year. You surround them with a group of top notch coaches like Campen, Slocum, Grandpa Capers, Winston Moss and those crackerjack db coaches. Sprinkle in bad time management and unimaginative play calling on both sides of the ball and voila everybody should get extended. Why not, it’s working like a charm. Ted should get an extension too. He’s God!

    1. He must be. If after doing everything wrong we still make the playoffs. You really cant be serious. I am literally still laughing. Do you look at the win/loss column or just blogs?

  13. There’s been ups and a few downs, but what teams don’t have those over a long haul? Remember Lindy infante, Ray Rhodes, Phil bengston, Bart Starr the coach or forest Gregg the coach? I do too. It doesn’t often get this good, very rarely better, but easily could be much worse.Rehire him!

  14. Absolutely Yes, I would extend McCarthy’s contract. He is a good football coach. He has a .640 plus winning percentage and he consistently wins with a team that is undermanned due to injuries. He keeps the team focused through injuries to key starters and even key backups. I predicted, in a post here, that after last season’s Turkey Day debacle in Detroit that McCarthy would get the Packers to the playoffs and he did. He has integrity, he is resilient and he believes in his players and his program. The final 4 games of the 2013 season is among his best coaching since he came to GB. In today’s NFL you need to have continuity for your team. Change the HC and we would waste 2-3 seasons of Rodgers career. Extend MM now and move on. Is he perfect no. But there ain’t no Vince Lombardi’s out there waiting in the wings. Those of us who were fortunate enough to watch and live through the Lombardi days know that he was one in a lifetime. For those who are frustrated by MMs playcalling, I am sometimes frustrated with that also. But playcalling is over rated. Execution is what matters. Amateurs focus on playcalling, Professionals focus on execution. I’ll take MMs winning percentage over alleged better play calling every time. Maybe 2014 will finally be the season where we can see what MM does with a healthy team. Go Pack Go. Thanks, Since ’61

  15. Extend him and extend him NOW. The longer he is the HC the longer the Packers are SB contenders. Any smart GM that might replace Thompson will likely have some kind of working relationship w/ McCarthy, whether its Schneider or Wolf and be smart enough to realize he has a top shelf HC.

  16. MM is a good coach but this is GB. To put it in football speak, how about a $10 million signing bonus, and base salaries of $1 million in 2016, $2 million in 2017, and $6 million in 2018 and 2019? It would be a 4 year extension worth a max of $25 Million with $10 million guaranteed! (Yes, I am being facetious and yes, I know it doesn’t count against the cap).

  17. I get a kick out of a HC like MM getting credit for “developing” a qb like Rodgers. The HOF qb’s have a God given talent like a Peyton, a Brady, a Montana and even a Favre. It’s the “it” factor. As in any profession, you either got it or you ain’t. Mike’s a good offensive coach for the most part although not in the least imaginative and sometimes confused. As a HC he’s nothing special. Talk about needs, how bad do some of your groups need to be before you fire an assistant coach? Special teams have been a joke for years, the OL not far behind and how does the S coach have a job after last year? Chicken and egg. Lack of talent provided by TT, bad coaching or both? This team can very easily improve with radical changes from top (TT) to bottom. As long as AR is upright, it’s all good

    1. GB’s position coach for safeties is Darren Perry. I have been wondering who is at fault for the bad safety play: Burnett, McMillan (i.e. the players) or the coaches, either Perry or Capers’ system. I like MM, but feel that he does not hold his coaching staff accountable.

  18. I would have fired him and Teddy long ago. They are riding AROD’s coattails and bring nothing to the table themselves. Befuddled is the best way to describe how MM coaches a game.

  19. I would have fired him and Teddy long ago. They are riding AROD’s coattails and bring nothing to the table themselves. Befuddled is the best way to describe how MM coaches a game.

  20. I think clearly that McCarthy has gotten better at his job every year, I remember some of the terrible challenge flags he used to throw and other mistakes in his first years. But clearly Aaron Rodgers injury last year and the record of 2-5-1 without him, showed that GB’s roster isn’t as wonderful as everyone thought. I don’t blame him for the injury problems but its hard not to focus on just how ravaged this franchise has been the last few years.(even the Title year) Maybe they need to use a more rotational system on defense, use all their players and lessen the load on everyone. So when I think of this draft, I don’t automatically pencil guys in and think thats not a need position. As we have seen a position of clear strength can be a total liability by week 7. You really need a true 53 man roster to win a title in this league. So I think that he has earned an extension, he is a very good coach. Not sure it would be that easy to find someone out there that is better than him. We will see this year if his “awakening” to fixing the defense finally happens.

  21. I would move on without him. He has not been a consistent coach and take teddy along with him on the train out.

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