For the first time in Mike McCarthy’s coaching career, he will be working for someone who didn’t hire him.
McCarthy was hired as the Packers head coach by Ted Thompson in 2006. Thompson was in his second year as the Packers general manager and had previously worked in Green Bay’s front office from 1992-2000. The Packers announced this week Thompson, 64, was resigning as the team’s GM and would be a senior advisor to football operations.
The Packers are now in the process of finding a new GM and McCarthy will provide input to ensure he can work with whomever team president Mark Murphy hires.
“It’s fit. I’m very comfortable with where I am in my career,” McCarthy said Thursday during his season-ending press conference. “Frankly, I’m more concentrated on the fit of the GM. And fit is a two-way street. It has to fit together.
“It has to be a partnership. I go back to Ted Thompson’s opening press conference and he talked about partnership. We had a hell of a partnership for 12 years.”
McCarthy said Thursday his team didn’t meet the expectations set in Green Bay, but he wasn’t going to use multiple injuries, especially to MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers, as an excuse. Backup Brett Hundley struggled, but McCarthy cited 13 drops over a two-game period for Hundley’s lack of success.
“We did not play to the standard of the Green Bay Packers despite losing our best player,” McCarthy said. “We’ve going to evaluate every aspect of the football operations.”
While Murphy will ultimately make the decision on a new general manager, McCarthy “cleaned house” with his coaching staff after the Packers went 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett, a Packers running back from 1992-97, and longtime defensive coordinator Dom Capers were both dismissed.
The Packers also fired several assistants and did not renew the contract of quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt. McCarthy said hiring two new coordinators would be a priority because it’s “important for coordinators to be involved in the hiring of every assistant coach.”
While the Packers plan to interview current defensive assistants Winston Moss, Joe Whitt Jr., and Darren Perry to replace Capers, McCarthy said it’s more likely the replacements for both Capers and Bennett will be from outside the organization.
Regardless of the coaching staff changes, there will be a lot of pressure on the new general manager. The Packers will start by interviewing three men already with the organization — director of football operations Eliot Wolf, director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst, and director of football administration and player finance Russ Ball, who is affectionately known as Green Bay’s “salary cap guru.”
There could be interest in Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, who spent 17 years as a Packers executive before getting the Oakland job in 2012, and Seahawks general manager John Schneider, a Green Bay native who cut his teeth as a Packers scout from 1993-96 before working in the front office from 2002-09.
McCarthy said the Packers “need to have the most competitive roster” in the league.
“Continuing success is the hardest thing in this league and the hardest thing in life,” the coach said. “It’s my responsibility to make sure we get better and get back to that.”