Everybody Hates Mike

Poor Mike McCarthy.

He’s a highly successful coach, dealing with an ongoing injury to his best player, bad calls and missed field goals taking away wins, and an oppressive fan base, but he still has his team right there just a half game out of the division lead and right in the thick of the early playoff race.

Still, fans overwhelmingly hate him.

I’m not defending McCarthy. I just find it odd that people’s reason for hating him keeps shifting. Let’s look at some of the reasons people hate him (and why I don’t understand).

He doesn’t play Aaron Jones enough. Yeah, this one has been coming up a lot this season. I love Aaron Jones as much as anyone, I compared him to Ray Rice in a post-draft article (for his play style, not his wife beating). I want him to get more carries, but I don’t hate McCarthy because of it. I used to think Mike limited AJ’s carries because of his blocking, but that now seems drastically improved. Now I believe that McCarthy limits his carries to keep him healthy since he has struggled with injuries throughout his college and pro career. The reality is that the Packers have three quality back and don’t need to overload any one. None of the Packers losses this year are the result of Jones getting too few carries, so I can’t really hate Mike for this.

He’s not aggressive enough. You just said you wanted him to run more, how is that aggressive? He just went for it on 4th down with 7:49 left when he needed two scores and could have taken a field goal.

Yeah, and it didn’t work! Well it worked when he went for it on 4th in the 2nd quarter when they were up 6 and got another field goal that proved critical later.

Still, it didn’t work in the 4th quarter… Oh, so you only want him to go for it when it’s going to work, is that it?

Well no, I just want him to mix it up a little bit. He ran a diamond formation screen we’d never seen before on Montgomery’s touchdown that worked brilliantly, isolating 3 blockers on 2 defenders. He also tried to mix in a reverse.

Whatever, it was just the 49ers. Oh, so you’re upset because you think Mike McCarthy makes the schedule for the NFL?

No, it’s just that the game didn’t matter – Super Bowls matter! And he won a Super Bowl.

Yeah, but that was a long time ago! So he can’t win a Super Bowl except for the one that he did? Because after a while it doesn’t count any more?

No, but what has he done lately? Well, 8 straight playoff appearances is 1 off the all time record.

So what? Well if you had to watch during the 80’s, maybe you’d appreciate being able to enjoy the excitement of the playoffs.

Yeah, but they lost – McCarthy failed! I think if you look back, year by year, at how they got bounced from the playoffs, you’ll have a hard time blaming McCarthy:

  • In 2011, he put together one of the best offenses the league has ever seen and they got beat by one of the most dominant defenses in decades.
  • In 2012 the defense was surprised by a new gimmick that the entire league took years to adjust to.
  • In 2013, a rookie DB dropped a game-winning interception.
  • Lots of people want to blame McCarthy for the 2014 NFCCG meltdown (which had more than enough blame to go around on the players) because he settled for field goals. But let’s be real, what you’re saying is that you wanted the Packers to go for it on 4th and goal from the 1 when they couldn’t get 1 yard in the previous three plays. Playcalling? Come on now.
  • 2015 and 2016 were marred by injuries and I’d say getting anywhere in the playoffs with those skeleton crews was kind of miraculous. You can say it was all because of Rodgers if you want, but that doesn’t automatically mean that McCarthy sucks.
  • 2017 was a Dom Capers defense and a Brett Hundley offense. You wanna blame the coach for missing the playoffs with that?

Yeah, but McCarthy defended Hundley. What do you want him to do, get up in front f reporters and say “My QB is a turd”?

He’s fat. Well there’s one I can’t argue with. But really, though, that’s just not nice. It’s not like we haven’t seen plus-sized coaches find success in the NFL.

 

Winning in the NFL is hard. Blaming the coach is easy. The fact of the matter is, we get to see players perform week in week and can usually tell when they make a mistake pretty easily.

Coaches are different.

We don’t know they play calls, which are audibled and adjusted on the fly. We don’t know how they scouted all week. We don’t know the game plan. We don’t know the personal issues and locker room issues that they have to deal with and address. We don’t even know if the GM is giving them the player types they are asking for to run their schemes.

We can make broad criticisms like “he isn’t getting the job done” but there are so many factors that it’s hard to pick them apart. When we criticize the coach, we are doing it from a place of ignorance.

Going into the bye, the Packers are 3-2-1 and in a playoff position. That’s better than the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles – do you think they want to fire their coach? A lot goes into a record. If the Packer’s kicker made his field goals, they’d be 5-1. That’s the difference between winning and losing in the NFL.

Maybe McCarthy’s message is stale, maybe he’ll never win again.

But if you want to get rid of him, you better have a d#mn good plan B because the guy you got ain’t all that bad.

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