Packers Fire Head Coach Mike McCarthy, Playoff Hopes Are Crushed
On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers fired longtime head coach Mike McCarthy after the team lost 20-17 to the lowly Arizona Cardinals at Lambeau Field, which was the Packers 3rd straight loss and their 5th out of the last 6 games. There’s also rumors that the relationship between McCarthy and Rodgers had become strained.
With this loss, Green Bay fell to 11th place in the NFC standings. Although they weren’t officially eliminated from playoff contention, the Packers are at least two games back of the Wild Card spot with 5 games to go.
Green Bay Packers President Mark Murphy made the following comments about the firing of McCarthy:
“The 2018 season has not lived up to the expectations and standards of the Green Bay Packers. As a result, I made the difficult decision to relieve Mike McCarthy of his role as head coach, effective immediately.”
Murphy also stated that the Packers will begin looking for their next head coach. The team has no plans of waiting until the season ends to target potential head coaching candidates. As of now, Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin will be the interim head coach. But, is that really a good idea?
Green Bay’s Offense Has Been the Problem
McCarthy will go down as the man who takes the blame for the team’s 4-7-1 record, but there’s more to the dysfunctional story than just the head coach.
Green Bay’s offense has been mediocre at best. And, at times, they have been a liability to the team’s overall success. The Packers offense is 17th in scoring at 23.4 ppg, 20th in rushing at 105.7 ypg, 18th in total touchdowns scored with 31, 26th in the league on converting 3rd downs at 36%, 20th in time of possession at 30:23 per game, and 16th in penalties with 80 on the season.
This is a far cry from the Packers offenses that we’re accustomed to seeing. What makes things even more concerning is that OC Joe Philbin will be taking over for McCarthy in leading the team. Philbin, who has just as much blame in this poor offense, was the former Miami Dolphins head coach from 2012 to 2015. During his tenure at Miami, Philbin went 24-28 overall.
Following their loss to the 3-9 Cardinals, Packers QB Rodgers made the following comments about the offense:
“We’ve put up some yards at times and taken care of the football pretty well. Usually, over the years, the success that we’ve had, we’ve taken really good care of the football, but we’ve paired that with efficiency in the passing game and big plays and explosive gains. This year we’ve had the taking care of the football, but we haven’t had the consistent explosive gains.”
Final Thoughts on McCarthy’s Firing
Mike McCarthy finished his time in Green Bay going 125-77-2 and 10-8 in the playoffs. He won Super Bowl XLV (2010), but lost 3 NFC Championship games during his 13-year tenure.
This firing feels more like an overreaction than and accurate assessment of the situation. The Packers have young playmakers getting their first real experience on offense with Rodgers. The defense is a middle of the pack unit that doesn’t really stand out in any aspect of the game. Furthermore, running back Aaron Jones missed a few games at the beginning of the season due to a suspension and longtime GM Ted Thompson was fired earlier this year.
The franchise seems to be in disarray from the top on down. I expect there to be more moves in the offseason with the coaching staff, front office and players. The offense needs more weapons and the defense needs more playmakers. Gone are the days when you can just trot out Rodgers and expect the Packers to win. Perhaps, we are witnessing the “Curse of Jordy Nelson.”
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