McCarthy Embraces New Role & Changes

Mike McCarthy

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy declared, shortly after the 2014 season was over, that he would relinquish the play calling duties that he’s held since arriving in Green Bay and instead focus more on the other facets of the game on Sunday’s.

We’ve known this for some time and there was speculation as to how long it would last or if it would actually happen at all.  As the last organized team activity practice session wound down this week, McCarthy could be seen all over the practice field with the offense, defense and special teams units.  He was reportedly chatting with special teams coordinator Ron Zook for quite some time during one session.  The Packers fielded one of the worst special teams units in the NFL last season and some of their mishaps kept them out of another Super Bowl appearance.

Change is never easy and especially when you’re giving up something you do well and enjoy.  McCarthy’s play calling has been lauded and also received its fair share of criticism over the years, but it’s hard to argue with the success the Packers have enjoyed as a whole on his watch.  If nothing else, McCarthy should be commended for taking a look at the situation and deciding that a change was needed if this team is to get another chance at a Lombardi trophy.

With McCarthy’s giving up the play calling, offensive coordinator Tom Clements was promoted to associate head coach and will call the signals on game day.  Wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett was promoted to offensive coordinator.  Both have been on McCarthy’s staff for some time and have earned the trust and respect of the players.  It’s no certainty that either will thrive in their new roles, but if past performance is any indication, the Packers will be just fine in 2015.

As for the play calls, let’s not turn a blind eye to the fact that quarterback Aaron Rodgers has had and will continue to have a lot of autonomy at the line of scrimmage.  Green Bay’s offense often calls for formations and sets that offer multiple options on any one snap.  Rodgers often assesses and makes a call at the line and so is like an extension of the offensive play caller.  Having had McCarthy as his sole play caller during his tenure as a starter with the Packers, Rodgers may welcome the change to Clements or he may still be getting used to the idea.  Regardless, Rodgers will still have a lot to say about the action on the field once the play clock is winding down.

Several fans want to look past all of the success and playoff appearances over the last decade and instead point to the fact that the Packers have only one Super Bowl trophy to show for McCarthy’s time in Green Bay.  If the Packers should be fortunate enough to reach the summit and win a championship this season, it will be hard not to credit McCarthy for some of these bold moves.  He has been pushed by the media and fans alike in seasons past to consider coaching changes, most notably defensive coordinator Dom Capers.  McCarthy has often responded by saying the he’s not going to make a change just for the sake of change.  If that’s true, we can at least say that the new roles this year came with a lot of thought, discussion and probably some dissension along the way.  But McCarthy understands that to succeed as a leader isn’t to have a band of merry fools in tow.  Getting your crew to do something they don’t like or want to do in order to achieve success is a sign of top leadership.

As the Packers prepare for their mandatory mini camp, the excitement continues to build for this very talented roster and a coaching staff that has had a lot of success with past bunches as well.  If the Packers and McCarthy are trying something new to get a new result, the outlook is bright for the 2015 season.  At least for now.



Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on

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15 thoughts on “McCarthy Embraces New Role & Changes

  1. ” McCarthy has often responded by saying the he’s not going to make a change just for the sake of change. ”

    The weight of the change in my purse often demands I make change to lighten the toting of it.McCarthy has realized the change in his pocket has grown in weight and has more value,even if only in appearance,when changed into paper money.

    Clements and Bennett needed to be cashed into paper to lighten the load…for the teams sake…or at least for a season to mend the holes in his laden pockets. 🙂

    1. And the government just keeps printing money. Hopefully MM can back those paper bills.

  2. Have to give MM credit on this move. He finally started listening to Archie and myself. Even if it took a couple of years. The Packers coaching staff read our posts. Where do you think they get some of their best ideas?

  3. I’m bothered more by the fact that the Packers have only one Super Bowl “appearance” in the last 10 years, more than only one Super Bowl trophy. With Favre/Rodgers at the helm, I’d have liked 2-3 appearances in the big game. And I tend to blame Thompson for this drought (bad DL drafting, with unnecessary holes that Belichick would have fixed via trades/free agency), not McCarthy, who I think is a fantastic head coach and leader.

    BUT all teams have holes, and if Super Bowl appearances were easy, we’d all be the New England Patriots.

    1. All this could be different in the next few years. The 2013 and 14 drafts were great drafts by Thompson. He drafted Lacy, Bakhtiari, and Hyde in 2013. Franklin would have been a star and I still think Jones will prove to be a decent pick. You have to count Charles Johnson too, even though he got away, he was still drafted by Thompson.

      In 2014 Thompson killed it with HHCD, Adams, and Lindsey. They love what Janis is doing this year and everybody’s still hoping Abby can come back from injury. Throw in josh Boyd as a situational player and others I haven’t mentioned and those are some damn good drafts.

      That’s 6 starters from those drafts alone. He’s had some clunker drafts for sure but you also have to give him credit as well. I’d put 2013 and 14 drafts up against just about any other teams drafts for those seasons, especially those drafting as late in each round as the Packers.

      1. Excellent Nick!! I like how you mentioned Franklin and Charles Johnson, who both would be major contributors this season. TT as you said killed it the past two years. He seems to be getting better and better with age which is why it drives me up the wall when people want to get rid of him.

        This year’s crop of rookies could also produce a bounty of stars in two to three years. If you think about it, if a person only does one thing (draft and develop) but does it extremely well, wouldn’t it become easier and easier the more you do it. I think this is where our living legend TT is at now. He’s cruising and kicking ass. Nobody can stop him from picking out the best talent in the world, no matter what round it is. Ted will always find the best players more times than not. He’s almost made drafting a science. Some day colleges will have a course called Ted Thompson 101.

        As for you BR. What would be more bothersome. Having only one super bowl appearance in 10 years or one playoff game in almost 25 years? This is why I don’t get upset. I know how bad it can get in Green Bay and I know how good it can get. Right now? it’s probably the best it will ever be in your lifetime so enjoy it super bowl appearance or not. These weasels that constantly complain about TT make me sick.

        1. I’d agree with you about better with age. Thompson has had some really excellent drafts over the years, but these last 3, these are the drafts that will take the Packers back to the SB.

          The drafts before 2011 & 12 we’re pretty good as well, look at 2009 for example. I still wish he’d sign he a mid level FA every once in awhile, but this team if healthy will be in the SB.

          Don’t let them get to you Ted, let it go in one ear and out the other!

          1. Nick- I agree the last 2 drafts have been awesome, and I have a good feeling about the “ball-hawk” draft this year.

            As for TedT– good lord, man, calm down. This whole “living legend” and “best talent in the world” and “drafting a science” stuff is embarrassing. You’re such a knee-jerk lapdog, you gotta be Republican. 🙂 Here’s an UNbiased study for you: This places Thompson 9th out of 32 teams. Not bad, but not exactly “legendary.” And, yes, it takes account our draft position each year.

            Read my lips: I’m not anti-Thompson. He’s a good GM. I don’t want him gone. Just because I’m not blindly loyal to Thompson, or think he’s perfect, doesn’t make a complaining “weasel”. It makes me an open-minded, free thinker. I call ’em as I see ’em.

            I hope Nick is right, and this is all different in a few years. Time for the Packers to get back their namesake trophy.

            1. BR, I really wasn’t calling you a weasel but I am sure the way I wrote it you probably thought I was. I was referring to The Bash Brothers meaning Archie, Big T and Captain Nemo who do nothing but bash our living legend. Sorry about that.
              P.S. I’m actually a communist. I think.

              1. If the Packers win the Super Bowl this year, we can both put down our weaponized pool noodles and celebrate together as one. Go Pack!

    2. ..and of course the troll Nemo gives a thumbs up to anyone who speaks bad of TT. That’s what trolls do, even silent ones like Nemo.

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