And if you’re one of the people who like to talk about Mike McCarthy’s stale offense or his lack of aggressiveness when playing with a lead, your mind will surely be blown as well. The Wall Street Journal just published a study that determined that Fat Mike is one of the MOST aggressive coaches in the NFL.
By their metrics, he is the third most aggressive coach, behind New York Giants coach and protégée Ben McAdoo, who was determined to be most aggressive this season, and Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell, who other than his skin color, seems about as vanilla as they come.
Perhaps his winning personality is the reason we’ve overlooked Caldwell’s coaching bravado thus far. But on with it…
First, the methodology:
The Journal analysis examines how coaches played their hand this season across three broad categories of game management: fourth downs; play calling (blitzing on defense; passing on early downs or with the lead on offense) and special teams (going for a 2-point conversion and onside kicks when ahead).
Second, this caveat:
Since the data in the analysis is relative to what average coaches did in each situation, it didn’t take much to stand out.
That makes it clear that anyone considered aggressive in this study isn’t exactly a riverboat gambler. They’re just less conservative than most other coaches, who are as a whole uber-conservative.
However, the data suggests that being aggressive pays off. The top four coaches on the list will finish with winning records — Atlanta’s Dan Quinn is fourth. At least three of those teams will be in the playoffs.
Of the bottom 10, only two teams are in the playoffs — Oakland and Miami. That’s the same number as the number of coaches in the bottom 10 who have already been fired — Los Angeles’ Jeff Fisher and Buffalo’s Rex Ryan.
Interestingly, McCarthy’s most-aggressive category is special teams, where he’s third. He’s fifth in fourth downs and 12th in play calling.
Dom Capers and his prevent defense likely have something to do with that last one, though. McCarthy doesn’t call the defense, so any blitzing is entirely up to Capers.
All this being laid out, I think most of us would agree. We’d actually like to see the Packers be more aggressive.