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Mike McCarthy May Give Up Play Calling, Shuffle Staff

Mike McCarthy

On a quiet Sunday afternoon, this one came straight out of left field. Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy is considering transferring play-calling duties to one of his assistants and shuffling his offensive staff.

McCarthy, who has called plays since he became coach of the Packers in 2006, is reportedly considering transferring those responsibilities to current offensive coordinator Tom Clements.

The potential for change doesn’t end there, however.

McCarthy is also considering promoting Clements to associate head coach. In turn, the Packers would move receivers coach Edgar Bennett up to offensive coordinator.

This news has us confused, intrigued and impressed all at once.

Let’s go back to front.

It’s impressive that McCarthy is actually looking in the mirror. He’s obviously evaluating himself as much as he’s evaluating his assistants and the players on his team. Although it was the right (and long-overdue) move to fire special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum earlier this offseason, we know it had to be a tough decision. We applauded it accordingly.

This falls into that same category.

We’re intrigued not because we’re convinced that Tom Clements is some offensive mastermind. Frankly, we have no idea what he has to offer. Well, except for one thing — fresh ideas. We wouldn’t say that McCarthy’s offense has gotten stale. It hasn’t regressed. It’s not the reason the Packers lose games.

However, McCarthy’s play calling can be maddening, which you’ve probably noticed us point out once or twice. A new perspective and new play calls offers a new set of possibilities.

Possibilities that don’t involve handing the ball to John Kuhn in goal-line situations.

We’re confused simply because McCarthy has always ruled the offense with an iron fist. He didn’t give the defense a second thought until last year, but that offense, that was his offense. He’s always called the plays. Why is he considering change now?

We’re sure the debacle in Seattle has something to do with it.

It’s rare that you truly have a Super Bowl-caliber team. And I mean a real Super Bowl-caliber team. Not like you made it into the playoffs and everyone in the playoffs has a chance to make it to the Super Bowl. I mean a team that is talented enough to go to the Super Bowl and win, not because they got lucky, but because they’re that good.

There were three of those teams in the playoffs this year. The Packers were one of them and they blew it.

Hard to say when the next opportunity like that is going to come around.

Perhaps McCarthy feels that if he was free to oversee the whole team, rather than having such a consuming focus on the offense, things might have played out differently. Or maybe they’ll play out differently next time.

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Monty McMahon

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

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16 Comments

  1. Andrew Chitko February 8, 2015

    Whoa.

  2. Howard February 8, 2015

    It is a positive sign if being discussed. It would be a positive move if taken. The Seattle game has to have something to do with at least the discussion. I wonder how much McCarthy’s brothers early passing has to do with the discussion. The moves may help take some load and stress (if possible for a NFL head coach) off McCarthy while putting McCarthy in the position to better impact the entire team on game day.

  3. Phatgzus February 8, 2015

    Not one one of MM’s play-calling detractors, but if this news is legitimate props to him for being aware that this is a pivotal time in Pack history and for considering all options to make the most of it. If there’s one undeniable thing MM is great at, it’s offseason alterations. Considering the job EB has done with the WR unit in his time, among other things, I’m looking forward to whats in store.

  4. Fritz February 8, 2015

    Mike #2 is starting to look ust like Mike #1: fire a scapegoat/s to save his sorry ass. Didn’t work then, sure as heck better not work now. After all as they say: first time shame on you; 2nd time shame on US!

    1. Howard February 8, 2015

      I was positive there have been 3 mikes? So could you clarify Who is Mike #1, so I can understand what is Mike #2, Shit now I don’t know who the hell is mike #3? So to get this straight Mike #1 is really Mike #2, and Mike # 2 is really mike #3. Mike # 1 is not really any Mike # ? So if all that is correct who is on first and what is on second?

      1. nurseratchett@work February 9, 2015

        Maybe Clifford Franklin knows…..

  5. UpNorth February 8, 2015

    I respect this decision greatly. I’m not down on McCarthy as a head coach, I think that when he decides to focus on certain aspects of his team like the running game and defense, they do typically improve. I also think he has the respect of the players and can manage a team effectively from up on high.

    His playcalling was just too hit and miss. McCarthy’s style of calls would work well back in the 60’s or 70’s I suspect, but it simply doesn’t work in today’s NFL. You don’t run 25 run plays to simply run 25 run plays, saying that’s what we need to do to be “effective”. No, each play has to matter and progress, just too many drives where we waste downs on silly play calls.

    All said and done, we have FAR too talented a team to waste on stuff like that. The players can be better utilized then they were this year, (Starks, Cobb, Rodgers) and the scheme could certainly need some adjustments. I respect McCarthy for this decision, now hopefully Clements/Rodgers know what to do with it.

    1. DJ February 8, 2015

      Well said. When I see it I’ll believe it but I am in favor of this too. I think MM is, and has been, an elite play caller in the passing game. Nobody is better at dictating pace, rhythm, & generating chunk plays en masse. He is at his best when saying to himself simply “We have to score…now”

      The problem comes when the Head Coach in him infects the Offensive Coordinator in him. Then, like you said, he starts obsessing about play counts, balance, the clock, & “effectiveness”…..and tries to script the game instead of just calling the game based on what is or isnt working. Plus, our short yardage package under him has always been shit. We need a fresh perspective & approach there desperately.

      And we all know how he excels at making games closer than they should be & letting teams back into games. It wasnt “just” his conservative play calling that did that, but by being the HC, it also advertised our tactical mindset….on both sides of the ball…. that we werent on our front foot anymore. Winning the game had been replaced by managing it…which are NOT the same thing. We’d concede the initiative. I think having an OC telling him “I wanna throw it here” and MM saying “Ok, its your ass if it fails” will make us 10x less predictable. Most of us are rarely surprised by what we see during Packer games these days…maybe that is the problem.

      1. UpNorth February 8, 2015

        For sure. I honestly don’t see this being an issue, be time shall tell.

  6. Andrew Chitko February 8, 2015

    I’ve never been terribly against McCarthy’s playcalling, rather it was all about playcalling detracting from paying attention to the overall details of the game as they’re happening. If Coach McCarthy is giving up his playcalling duties to have more of a hand in all decisions made by all three teams, then I am very much for this.

    I also think Edgar Bennett will bring the fun back to the GB offense. It’s gotten little stale and I think Edgar will trend toward the aggressive.

  7. bob at 81 February 8, 2015

    I was up on this, and glad he is moving in a new area of his job. but I was a little more into the thought of macadoo but sounds good to me.

  8. rebelgb February 8, 2015

    As upset as I was after the loss to Seattle the 2 things I said had to change were: 1 – Fire Slocum. Done. 2 – MM needed to give up his OC position and focus on team organization and management. Things that he excels at.

    If #2 happens and we stay healthy: Packers are best team in football next year and bring home the goods….

  9. James Bennett February 9, 2015

    To be “the best team in football” we need the return of a healthy Raji and we need to find a couple of ultra-nasty ILBs. Oh–and we also need to re-sign Randall Cobb.

    1. the real russ letlow February 9, 2015

      yes, yes and yes. You hit the nail on the head.

  10. icebowl February 9, 2015

    Hoping it’s not a rumor.
    This needs to happen- just to repeat as NFC North champs is going to be difficult in 2015…

  11. Brewtown Packer Backer February 9, 2015

    I just read this three times in row to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. Great news (if true)!