Packers Beer Mug Perspective: Four More Years

On Tuesday it was announced that the Green Bay Packers had extended Mike McCarthy’s contract as head coach through the 2018 season. This effectively keeps the trifecta of him, Ted Thompson and Aaron Rodgers together for another four years and sets McCarthy up to be the second-longest tenured head coach in Packers history. For some fans, this is excellent news for the storied franchise; yet, there are others who couldn’t be more disheartened.

My question this week, then, is this:

Was extending Mike McCarthy’s contract the right move for the Green Bay Packers?

In this installment of the Packers Beer Mug Perspective, we’ll take a look at the issue from both angles, and then determine whether our mug is really “half empty” or “half full.”


Mike McCarthy has a lot of things going for him at this point, one of which being his career winning record with the Packers. Since becoming head coach in 2006, McCarthy is third in winning percentage (.643) behind only the Indianapolis Colts (.662) and New England Patriots (.781). Add in the postseason, and McCarthy’s teams are 93-53-1 across eight and a half seasons.

Within this career record are some other impressive numbers. McCarthy brought the Lombardi Trophy back to Titletown at the end of the 2010 season, and he followed that up with a 15-1 season, which broke a number of franchise records. Under his watch, the Packers have been NFC North division champions four times and have made the playoffs six times, including the past five consecutive seasons.

In the NFL, winning is everything, and Mike McCarthy’s record shows that is something he is good at.


For as important as winning is, though, the Super Bowl represents the pinnacle of success, and Mike McCarthy only has one appearance to his name. Furthermore, McCarthy’s teams have never won more than one playoff game outside of that 2010 season, and in three of their six appearances, the Packers were sent packing after the first game.

With a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers on the team, it’s frustrating to see such underwhelming performances in the postseason, and it leaves Packers Nation wanting more from the team and the head coach. As nice as it is to be a perennial playoff contender, no one wants to have an Andy Reid or Norv Turner as their head coach. No one wants a regular season king but playoff jester.

Part of the problem has been the defensive struggles starting in 2011. While Dom Capers is greatly to blame, the buck stops with Mike McCarthy. Will he do what is necessary to right the ship in the coming years?


Mike McCarthy, Ted Thompson, and Aaron Rodgers as a team represent a high level of consistency for the Green Bay Packers. They all share the same vision and goals for the team, and while they might have their disagreements, they know how to work through them and maintain a positive relationship. They are complementary parts working in tandem. You can’t say that about many teams. (I’m looking at you, Jerry Jones and Jim Harbaugh.)

Another sobering fact is that 21 of the 32 NFL head coaches are currently in their third year or less. Turnaround is high, and that creates a level of inconsistency that breeds multiple problems.

No perfect coach exists. Those who pine for someone new will find a level of disappointment no matter who they turn to. I can’t think of a better fit for this organization than Mike McCarthy right now, and so I think his mug is definitely half full.

However, I also feel that McCarthy needs to prove some things in the remainder of his contract. He needs to show that he can make a serious run in the postseason. Even if it’s not a Super Bowl appearance, the Packers should be NFC Championship contenders more regularly. If McCarthy can do this, it will increase his value as head coach and improve his standing among the discouraged fans.

If not, then we’ll be looking for a new mug in four years.


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


24 thoughts on “Packers Beer Mug Perspective: Four More Years

  1. “No one wants to have an Andy Reid as their head coach.”

    Have the Kansas City Chiefs been informed about this?

  2. Fortunately, for the Packers, under MM they have not had and do not have a coaching problem. His record speaks for itself in terms of winning percentage and playoff appearances. When you compare with his peers during his tenure his is at least as good or better than his competitors. When you consider free agency, salary caps, a ridiculous number of injuries, rule changes, staff members poached by other teams, etc… MM has done a great job for the Packers. For some reason some fans advocate a change at HC which would waste at least 2 -3 seasons of AR’s career while a new system is installed and could plummet the team into the NFL abyss like Oakland or Jacksonville if we make the wrong choice. All of that said I must question his loyalty to Dom Capers. While the defense looks to be improved this season they still have trouble tackling, especially on the road and against good running teams. They still fail to make a stop against the good teams when the game is still in the balance. The defensive inconsistencies make no sense to me because the Packers have tackled well in a few games so far this season. The Packers problems are in their personnel on the OL and DL. They are just not good enough to be consistent, especially against the top teams, as we have seen for the last 31/2 seasons. From one game to the next the OL can look great and then get mauled the next. The DL obviously lacks players who can hold the point of attack with any consistency. Our draft picks just have not worked out, whether due to injuries, e.g. Sherrod or poor choice, such as Worthy. In spite of this MM gets his team to the playoffs each season and then these critical weaknesses are exposed. MM has integrity, he is resilient, he believes in his players and his program and he is proud of the Packers tradition. He is focused on execution and his players never quit on him. If we can get the players we need to solidify the OL and DL he is the right coach to take the Packers to the SB at least one or two more times with Rodgers at QB. We need an OT, an NT and DE and a good threat at TE. I hope that TT is listening. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since ’61

      1. Not sure what you mean about ILBs. I agree that we are weak at that position but it is difficult to judge their level play fairly without even an adequate DL in front of them.. I am not saying that they would be great, but I think that Lattimore and Barrington starting behind a decent DL would give us better results than what we are getting now. Chuck Hawk, get a good NT and we can see what we have at ILB. Thanks, Since ’61

        1. Shouldn’t our ILB’s be able to make plays in spite of the DL or will their inability to make plays regardless of other factors always be pointed at the DL.
          I believe a defense starts up front,but the players behind them still need to be accountable for their lack of play…fundamentally at least…regardless.

          1. ILBs are front players. They are just as responsible for gap control as the the DL. They SHOULD be able to make plays… but then, that is the problem…

            1. Yes they are part of the front 7…but even that is dissected..head/torso/legs…DL/LB/Sec…one but each is separate as to effect on the body(defense)as a whole.

          2. Taryn – you are correct, our ILBs should be able to make some plays, at least more then they are currently making. One problem is that they are not the best ILBs to begin with, but the other is that on too many plays the DL does not absorb any blockers and the opposing OLs are on them before they can make a play. This why you see Hawk, in particular, making tackles after the RB is past him. Now if we started both Lattimore and Barrington, who are more athletic than Hawk, I think that they would have a chance at making more plays especially with an NT who could absorb some blockers. Hopefully Guion and Pennel will get better and will help the ILBs. Thanks, Since ’61

        2. Well, I was reading this year that Packers utmost need is ILB. I think there may be some justified reason why there were so much talking about that position.
          Btw, I think we got really capable NT in Pennel, so I see Packers need would be OT, TE (must!) and ILB. Of course DE would be nice if there will be available quality players!

    1. All dead on Since ’61 and I also agree with croatpackfan. I would only add that we just can not be so soft in middle and ILB is our albatross. Point I enjoyed most was the players never quit on him. In this day and age that is a remarkable accomplishment in and of itself, Seems to me, his professional sometimes too patient approach has backfired with the D and that he has given Capers too much rope and that more can be had with a new DC. No doubt he knows it, and I do not think he is a fool, he does realize that at some point results count. I have seen enough signs from what he doesnt say that he too has had enough, just wont come out and say it, but there is no way that he will accept another playoff debacle without putting his foot down hard this time I am almost certain that the players are good enough to be at least a mid level defense, I think he sees that as well. He let Capers f up, he gave him a chance to right it and now that’s it.

      1. As I replied to Croat, I think that if we started Lattimore and Barrington and if we had just a decent NT the middle of our defense would be pretty solid. It might not be great, but if Lattimore and Barrington had someone who could hold the point they are athletic enough to make more plays than they are now because the DL gives them little or no protection. Not much that we can do at this point in the season but hope some of the DLs improve their level of play. Otherwise we will likely have a short playoff run again. Thanks, Since ’61

    2. By default I find myself defending Dom Capers. Both Chad and Since61 point out that Capers is obviously to blame for a weak defense and defend McCarthy mostly because he has Aaron Rodgers as the engine of the offense. If you want to blame Capers for having, arguably, the worst ILBers in the league, the most UDFA on the D-line and the guy who misses a lot of tackles then I say “hang him”. If your D-line is getting blown up and guys like Forte and Ingram are coming through with speed and room, untouched by linebackers then missed tackles are no mystery.

      We’ll see how well our offense performs with a make-shift O-line coming down the stretch. If Lane Taylor and Tretter don’t adequately protect Rodgers or run block for Eddie Lacy, then I guess Tom Clements is the problem.

      1. I don’t think MM is good simply because of Rodgers. Yes, a great QB helps make any coach look good, but I also think Rodgers and MM are a good fit for each other. But looking at the offense as a whole, I think MM does a good job.

        As for Capers, I am also of the opinion that personnel inadequacies have tied his hands. However, I also look at other defenses with no-name players who can still perform adequately. Ultimately, he is responsible, as well as MM.

        1. One thing you can say for Capers is that he hasn’t been afraid to change things up and try to do different things. Have they worked? Not so well. But it’s not as if he’s stoically throwing the same tired lineups and schemes at you week in and week out and failing with them.

        2. “However, I also look at other defenses with no-name players who can still perform adequately.”

          Then one can/must assume that our ‘no name’ players are less than adequate.

          Capers has put multiple schemes into play…players must perform in those schemes…at least the basic fundamentals consistently and this failure makes the scheme look more as the failure.

          1. “Then one can/must assume that our ‘no name’ players are less than adequate.”

            No, it can also be a coaching problem.

            Coaching goes beyond scheme. Technique, preparation, practice, film study… lots of stuff to coach guys about.

      2. A clever way of saying if Taylor and Tretter don’t adequately perform it’s a TT problem. Undoubtedly other GMs have All-Pro backups just waiting to take over at OG, or at any other position.

        1. Ultimately, yes, talent levels do roll up to TT but my primary point is that “but for the grace of God, so goes McCarthy”. People are all over Capers because he hasn’t be able to produce a quality defense out of the rebuilding blocks of Datone Jones (1st??), Jerel Worthy (2nd), Josh Boyd (5th), Khyri Thorton (3rd??), Luther Robinson (UDFA), Mike Pennel (UDFA) and Letro Guion (5th). The fact that Hawk is our best ILB is the punctuation to the story.

          So, I am not talking about all pro backups – I am talking about pro level starters.

      3. I am not blaming only Capers for the defense’s poor performance. MM as the HC is ultimately responsible. But it has been a long time since this defense has completely shut down an opponents offense to win a game. They actually did a good job of shutting down the Detroit offense earlier this season, but the OL was overwhelmed by the Lion’s DL. My point about Capers is that the defense rarely steps up and dominates a game, especially when the offense does not play perfect football and doesn’t score over 30 points. Most significantly, the defense virtually disappeared in 2013 when Rodgers was hurt. That was when they were needed the most and they failed miserably. If Capers defense played as well as our offense we would have little or nothing to complain about. And it is Capers defense from a scheme and game plan perspective just like it is MM’s offense from a scheme and game plan point of view. Clements is a non-factor in my opinion. Although I believe that our offense was sharper when Joe Philbin was still there. Again, I believe that our primary issue on defense is our personnel on the DL. I wish we could start Lattimore and Barriginton behind a decent DL and then we could fairly determine their level of play. It might not be great but it would be better than it has been if the DL wasn’t swept aside on every play. We’ll see what happens against the Bears. Thanks, Since ’61

  3. Those who advocate for change seem to discount the fact that change does not always mean things automatically improve…and when you’re in the upper echelon (note I did not use the term elite) of NFL teams on an annual basis, there’s a helluva lot more room to move down than up. So, in all, the likelihood that a change would be a change for the better is relatively low.

    That said, MM’s loyalty to his positional coaches and coordinators–and his need to keep calling plays–has become a head-scratcher for me. I would like to see him move away from that. I would also like to see some new blood in the organization from other successful coaching trees that could help breathe life into team that seems to try to thrive based on the power of its stars and not through innovation.

    1. It’s ‘The Alternate Path’ myth. That if you find yourself in circumstances not to your liking, your mind convinces you that an alternate path not taken would have produced the results that you desire but have avoided you on your current direction.

  4. As I read the comments and discussions it is more evident that we don’t really have a coaching problem. In my mind, it is fair to say that Dom Capers isn’t the fundamental problem on defense. To say that Capers is “greatly to blame” for the defense simply is not fair. Most of us admit that the lack of D-line talent and weak IBLer play are the limiting factors to our success on defense. Until we acquire or develop more talent in our front seven, the Packers will struggle to reach average on the defensive side of the ball. If we can overcome this with offense, we have a chance to make the playoffs. I would be surprised if it is enough to get us to the top.

  5. I don’t get the feeling that MM and Rodgers are big buddies anymore. I notice a lot more how pissed Aaron gets when MM calls one of his head scratching plays.

  6. Per Michael Rodney’s blog, only one HC since 1980 with 10 years or more on the job has won a SB. To think that MM will be the 2nd is foolish. 4 more years of mediocrity and the broom will sweep this crew out the door. Unfortunately, that will be a waste of AROD’s prime. But that’s what teh media and fans want so shall it be written and so shall it be done.

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