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Saturday, January 1, 2011

My thoughts on Mike McCarthy

Roberto Ruiz-Maki

Every time I watch a Packers game, I hear the anger. There are always fans who sit there and shake their heads, thinking that they could do better. They grumble and get angry at a coach who has the fourth best winning percentage of any Packers coach, ever. Mike McCarthy has won 59.5% of the games that he has coached in. Only Curly Lambeau (66.8), Mike Holmgren (67.0), and Vince Lombardi (75.3) have better winning percentages as head coach for the Packers. Maybe it is time to give McCarthy a break.
I understand that when a fan base sees a team as underachieving, they blame it on the coach. Honestly though, is this Packers team underachieving? The Packers have no business being in the playoffs: they have lost key starters on both sides of the ball, and they have faced a difficult schedule. The Packers sit at 9-6 though, with the playoffs right in front of their noses. Of the 6 teams that are likely going to the playoffs in the NFC, all but the Packers have been healthy this season. How would Atlanta fare without Michael Turner and Roddy White? What about Philadelphia without LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson? I do not feel the need to even bring up the other key injuries that the Packers have fought through.
McCarthy has been everything you could want from a coach. He does not embarrass the organization in the press, he does not scream and berate players on the sideline, nor does he make stupid decisions during the game. That might have struck a nerve, because most people feel as though he does make questionable decisions. People may disagree with his play calling, but they would be wrong. It is that simple. McCarthy gets paid to win football games (which he has done), and he spends each and every week poring over the opponent's game tape, just to see where the opponent is vulnerable. After dissecting the opponent, he creates a game plan with the help of several assistant coaches who also just finished watching film. He knows infinitely more about every opponent than any Packers fanatic, and he wants to win the game more than any other fan.
Look at the other coaches that have been hired in the past few years: Josh McDaniels, Mike Singletary, Rex Ryan, Pete Carroll, and Raheem Morris. I would take McCarthy over all of those coaches. They all have either embarrassed their franchises or have suffered from several disappointing seasons.
McCarthy is a good coach, and I am glad that the Packers hired him over the other options. He has shown that he makes mistakes, like every other coach, but he can overcome those mistakes and help his teams overachieve.
Packers fans were just named the smartest fans in the NFL, so perhaps we should start acting like it.

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