Well, the Green Bay Packers aren’t even at the halfway point of their season and the Mike McCarthy watch has already begun – at least in some circles.
I’ve never been a fan of McCarthy. In fact, last season when everyone was blaming defensive coordinator Bob Sanders for the Packers failures, I suggested they look a little higher up the food chain. We even gave a helpful list of five potential replacements for McCarthy – three of which were hired by other teams – and another list of coaches that are better than McCarthy.
This season it’s been more of the same from our man Mike – too many penalties, no sense of urgency or fire, can’t win the big game. I’ve been on record as saying McCarthy needs to go, but I haven’t uttered a word about it this season.
Frankly, if the Packers make the playoffs, I don’t think there’s any way general manager Ted Thompson will fire McCarthy, and this team is still in the playoff race. Putting McCarthy on watch prior to the halfway point of the season is jumping the gun a little bit, in my mind.
Still, that isn’t stopping anyone. The Sporting News published a list of franchises with potential head coaching vacancies in 2010. Below the obvious – Cleveland, Oakland, Jacksonville – sit your Green Bay Packers.
The team didn’t insert in the Brett Favre trade a term requiring the Jets to give up three first-round picks if Favre were traded to the Vikings because Green Bay wanted to save Brett from the embarrassment of being beaten twice by his old team. The Packers feared precisely what has occurred this year — a two-game sweep by a divisional rival with Favre at the helm. Depending on the whether the Packers make the playoffs and whether the Vikings finish with fewer than four losses, a house-cleaning could occur. And if the job becomes open, Jon Gruden’s perpetual scowl could become a smile, if only for a moment.
There you go. The first mention of Gruden potentially coming to Green Bay.
Gruden has a sharp football mind and, apparently, a pretty large pair of balls, if you’ve noticed how he always sits with his legs spread wide open during Monday Night Football. Those are two things McCarthy doesn’t have.
Beyond Gruden, there will be several big name coaching entities on the market who may find Green Bay attractive – Bill Cowher, Mike Shanahan, and The Walrus aka Mike Holmgren, among them.
While any of those guys would be more exciting than Mike McCarthy, it’s a little too early to start planning next season’s Super Bowl trip. The Packers organization still has at least nine more games of McCarthy-induced nonchalance to endure.
If the Packers make the playoffs, which is a goal within reach, that number may just increase to 26.