Green Bay Packers president Mark Murphy made an odd move earlier this offseason. He essentially elevated coach Mike McCarthy and vice president of football operations Russ Ball to equal footing with general manager Brian Gutekunst.
Since Ron Wolf started running the show in the early 90s, the coach and everyone in the front office reported to the general manager. Well, now those guys report to Murphy.
Unlike a traditional NFL power structure, Gutekunst doesn’t seem to have any authority over the coach. It’s something he wasn’t too keen on when he found out, which was after being named GM.
Murphy talked about it as a move to improve communication within the organization. He claimed there were silos among the team’s leaders. That he wanted to eliminate those communication silos.
I mean, the obvious thought here is that Ted Thompson was the general manager. Has he ever effectively communicated with anyone?
From the outside, it essentially looked like Gutekunst was being punished for Thompson’s failings in that department.
“Well, we’ll see how things play out,” Murphy said. “But my hope was it would improve communication.
“And quite honestly, with a new general manager, a first-time general manager, putting him in a position where he can have success and really focus on the most important part of his job, which is the draft and acquiring players and determining the 90-man (roster) and the 53-man roster, I think it’s worked well so far.”
We don’t give Murphy credit for much, but at least he seems flexible in terms of this.
Murphy says the four principals meet weekly. That communication has indeed improved. That’s great.
However, I would agree with the notion that this can’t work forever. What if the coach needs to be fired? Who makes that call? The other three guys jointly? Do they take a vote? Is it a democracy? Who chooses the new coach?
Personally, I think Mike McCarthy probably has more NFL job security than anyone besides Bill Belichick. I don’t think that should be the case, but I believe it is. So this isn’t likely to come up soon.
But eventually someone is going to have to make a call and have definitive authority to do so.