It was an ugly 20-17 loss at home to an Arizona Cardinals team that has struggled to even move the football throughout the entire 2018 season. The result left the Green Bay Packers just 4-7-1 and clearly out of the NFC postseason race. It also led to the firing of head coach Mike McCarthy. In 12-plus seasons in Green Bay, McCarthy won nearly 62 percent of his games, going 125-77-2 overall. It was the last two seasons though that sealed his fate.
Writing on the Wall Last year, Green Bay could not weather the storm when QB Aaron Rodgers went down with an injury. Brett Hundley replaced the future Hall of Famer and recorded a paltry 70.9 QB rating and the Packers wound up 7-9. Green Bay got beat handily in the 2016 NFC Championship game and it has been downhill since then. McCarthy needed a playoff season this year to return the Packers to greatness. He didn’t get it.
Now What? The Packers will finish the season with Joe Philbin, a former NFL head coach, as the interim mentor. Philbin, who coached the Miami Dolphins from 2012 to 2015 when he was fired after four games, is the team’s offensive coordinator. He will try and manage a few wins for the Packers over the next four weeks. Green Bay has very winnable games against Atlanta, the Jets, and Detroit. They also travel to Chicago to face the NFC North-leading Bears. Philbin will be bridging the gap to the next Packers head coach. Nothing more.
Who’s Next? All the usual names will pop up on the list of candidates for the Green Bay job. The biggest name is likely New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. If you remember, McDaniels spent some time as Denver’s head coach realized he was in over his head, and returned to the comforts of Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Last year, McDaniels was ready to become the Indianapolis Colts head coach but then backed out and again returned the New England.
Is the Packers job right for McDaniels? Only he can answer that question, but whoever inherits the job is going to have to revive a dormant offense. The Packers are only averaging 23.4 points per game and the running game has been miserable for the past several years. While offenses like Kansas City and New Orleans put up record-breaking numbers, teams like Green Bay seem to be left in the days of yore.
Aaron Rodgers The next Green Bay head coach is also going to have to navigate dealing with Aaron Rodgers. A future Hall of Famer, Rodgers is 35 but says that he thinks he can play into his 40s. He and McCarthy had their fair share of run-ins. After a Week 4 win over Buffalo, Rodgers criticized McCarthy’s game plan publicly. There was a visible disconnect between the two and that likely exacerbated McCarthy’s firing.
If you are McDaniels or maybe Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, do you want to deal with an aging Rodgers at quarterback? Or, maybe Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. would rather mold a quarterback like Baker Mayfield in Cleveland. There has been some talk that John Harbaugh might walk away from the Baltimore Ravens. As an experienced NFL head coach, would he be more likely to be able to deal with a personality like Rodgers? Who knows, but whoever it is, the next Green Bay head coach is going to have to deal with the quarterback, fix the offense, and win football games.