We can surely all agree, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy has his positive traits and he has his negative traits, despite being a “highly successful” coach.
Here’s the good.
McCarthy spends much of the offseason planning every week of the season down to the minute. He’s constantly trying to come up with new fitness approaches and ways to reduce injuries – though he still hasn’t found a way to reduce hamstring injuries. He’s been forward thinking in implementing physical therapy and nutritional programs for the players. He carefully allots days off to his players, he lines up motivational speakers prior to games, and so on. McCarthy pays great attention to the non-game-day aspects of the game – right down to the smallest detail.
2. Team Unity
When’s the last time you saw a fistfight break out among the team’s players? Or anyone (other than former players) utter a critical word against any teammate? Or anyone on the coaching staff get disrespected or disparaged? McCarthy’s team, year after year, is a united and respectful group and McCarthy usually sets a good example on this score. Seldom have we heard of a player who was unhappy being in Green Bay during McCarthy’s reign.
Unlike half or more of his peers, you don’t see McCarthy throwing his earphones into the ground in disgust, running up and down the sidelines yelling at the refs or berating player as they come off the field. McCarthy has a well-deserved reputation for not letting his emotions get the best of him. The ultimate test came in the “Fail Mary” game against Seattle, when he was robbed of a win, but took it like a man and called his players back onto the field – and they obeyed – for the meaningless extra point.
In McCarthy’s 11 years as head coach, the team has finished outside the top 10 in total offense only twice. His 2011 offensive juggernaut led him to one of the best NFL regular seasons ever compiled. He’s won a Super Bowl. His offensive units are strong almost every year (except 2015), and he achieves this record without a lot of superstars. Most of his offensive stars can be rightly said to have been developed by him. You’ll probably point out that he has had one superstar (not counting Brett Favre). Yes, but McCarthy must still be credited with forming a strong two-way relationship with Aaron Rodgers. They have a lot of trust and respect for one another and McCarthy has wisely given Rodgers a loud voice in how the offense is to be run. It’s been an impressive partnership.
5. Team Preparedness
McCarthy’s teams rarely show up unprepared to play a competitive game. They have been embarrassed by a truly poor performance or blown out, maybe a half-dozen times in the coach’s 11 years in Green Bay. His .651 win percentage and eight straight trips to the playoffs speak for themselves as to the stability and consistency of his operation. On the other hand, some of the Packers’ poorest games have come in the postseason. I’m also not convinced McCarthy has preserved home field advantage as well as he should. After all, they have home games every year against the Lions, Bears and Vikings. Losing at home to all three teams in 2015 was a profound letdown, but the 5-1 record against divisional opponents this past year is a nice improvement.
Tomorrow: “Mike McCarthy’s Five Worst Coaching Traits”