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Mike McCarthy’s Protege List Looking Weaker Than Ever

One day after a 24-17 loss at Oakland on Sunday, the New York Giants released head coach Ben McAdoo. He was replaced by defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. General manager Jerry Reese was also let go by the Giants as part of the shake-up.

McAdoo was hired by Mike McCarthy immediately after Big Mike became head coach in 2006. He first served as tight ends coach for six years, and then became quarterbacks coach in 2012 and 2013. He has a Super Bowl ring courtesy of the 2010 Packers.

In 2014, McAdoo joined Tom Coughlin’s staff with the Giants, serving as their offensive coordinator for two years. In 2016, he was named head coach. The team’s record zoomed to 11-5 — after going 6-10 the previous two years — and the Giants went to the playoffs, losing to Green Bay 38-13.

Prior to his departure, McAdoo’s Giants were 2-10 this year. Their season was marred by several player injuries, including the loss of receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. for the year in week 5 due to a fractured ankle that required surgery. Off-the-field controversies also plagued the team, including some team suspensions for violation of team rules — one being McAdoo’s feeble handling of a dog-peeing stunt by Beckham.

For the game at Oakland, McAdoo replaced QB Eli Manning with Geno Smith – ending Manning’s streak of 210 consecutive starts – which engendered further hostility from many of the team’s fans.

Here’s how writer SB Nation Christian D’Andrea explained it: First Ben McAdoo lost games. Then he lost his locker room. Then, just days after a Thanksgiving loss to Washington, McAdoo made his most controversial move yet — benching starting quarterback Eli Manning in a desperate attempt to save his job. After that, there was no going back.

Football followers like to look at one’s “coaching tree” as a way of assessing a coach’s legacy. Big Mike’s tree is rather barren. Besides McAdoo, a previous assistant, Joe Philbin became the head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2012, but he never finished above .500 in four seasons. He’s now an assistant coach with the Colts.

There was also Jeff Jagodzinski, who McCarthy hired to be his first offensive coordinator in 2006. He left to become head coach at Boston College in 2007 and 2008. Though he had two winning seasons, going 11-3 and 9-5, when he interviewed to be the head coach of the New York Jets, he was fired the next day. Except for one year in the United Football League, Jagodzinski has never made it back to being a head coach.

Mike Holmgren, on the other hand, has an impressive coaching tree. NFL head coaches who had served under Holmgren are: Jon Gruden, Marty Mornhinweg, Mike Sherman, Andy Reid, Pat Shurmur, Dick Jauron, Jim Zorn, Steve Mariucci and Ray Rhodes. Holmgren was Green Bay’s head coach from 1992 through 1998, and Seattle’s head coach from 1999 through 2008. His win percentage in Green Bay was .670 and it was .541 in Seattle.

For McAdoo to go from 11-5 to being fired during the following season has got to be one of the most rapid falls from grace in the annals of the National Football League.

Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.



  1. Kato December 7, 2017

    I mean, this isn’t necessarily a reflection of MM. Look at Belicheks coaching tree. Charlie Weiss? Romeo Crennel? Josh McDaniels? Did any of those coaches ever take their team to the playoffs? I think it is pretty much common opinion that Belichek is in the top 3 coaches of all time despite his um, questionable practices

    1. PF4L December 7, 2017

      It seems to me that Belicheks coaching tree is just fine. I have a feeling if his coaches or coordinators failed to reach a standard he set, they would be replaced, like his underperforming players. More head coaches should take that approach.

      Not everyone is cut out to be a head coach, but the lucky ones have HOF QB’s land on their lap.

      The problem in Green Bay is they don’t have a head coach, they have an offensive coordinator with the title and the wages of a head coach. McCarthy tried being a head coach, when he admittedly said he needed to better oversee the entire team, (actually doing his job). So he let Tom Clements do his job, but apparently McCarthy made a mistake and fired Clements after the season.

      McCarthy’s ego of insisting on calling the plays and micromanaging the offense, makes me wonder what it is Edgar Bennett actually does.

      McCarthy once stated that sometimes a coach needs to be let go and the team needs a new voice. I couldn’t agree more.

      1. KILLER December 7, 2017

        Made me laugh. Thank you. (3rd para., 2nd sentence + end sentence)

        1. PF4L December 7, 2017

          11/29/2017 at 8:27 am

          Side note from a Vikings fan, KILLER stop being such a douche.

          1. PF4L December 7, 2017

            Made me laugh.

      2. MJ December 8, 2017

        Exactly. Some guys perform excellently as OC or DC, but cannot handle the duties of being a HC and overseeing the big picture. Jim Schwartz, ex Lions HC is doing just fine as PHI DC.

        Regarding our own, I have the feeling that Edgar Bennet was a much better WR coach than OC. His promotion to OC coincides with a drop-off on our offense’s creativity, as well as a more severe drop in the WRs overall skill beyond the established starters. We had Boykin have a pretty good year as WR3, but what has he achieved since 2013? Our WRs were getting more separation, and I remember how they were noted for blocking for our running game. All that started fading as Bennet was moved to OC. Correlation doesn’t imply causality, I know, but there may be some truth to this.

  2. Gort December 7, 2017

    The list of successful quarterbacks gone from Green Bay that were coached by MM, The QB Whisperer, is even smaller.

  3. Big B December 7, 2017

    See Sherman, Mike.

  4. Kjo December 8, 2017

    It’s no surprise here. McCarthy and Thompson have lived off Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. If Thompson was the GM that some perceive him to be..this team would have better depth and not be in the situation they are in. If Mcarthy is really the “highly successful coach” he proclaims himself to be,the Packers would be winning no matter what kind of crap Ted put in the cupboard. Face it,both are failures living off 2 hall of fame QBs. Thompson blew it big time when Favre wanted out. If he was so smart,he would ve traded Favre to the Vikings right away,got a boatload of picks for him,let them have their 1 or 2 years of glory,and the Packers might be in the drivers seat today with quality depth and players. But then again it’s Thompson,so half of those picks would be either out of football or excelling with another team. Goddell ruined the NFL for me..Thompson ruined the Packers, the only good thing about football now is they don’t talk about Dallas 24/7.