clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Packers should fire Mike McCarthy. Here are 7 options for replacing him.

If the Packers make a move at the end of the season, here’s who they could turn to to take the reins.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Green Bay Packers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Less than 24 hours removed from a shocking 45-27 loss to the Tennessee Titans, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy told the press, "I'm a highly successful NFL head coach.”

“I never looked at the ride as smooth,” he added. “It's always bumpy. That's the joy of it. You need to feel good about the now. Personally, I enjoy these kind of moments."

But no matter his success or how good he feels “about the now,” six seasons of unmet expectations should make 2016 his final season in Wisconsin.

His Packers stand at 4-5. They’re only one game out of the top spot in the NFC North, but light years away from the preseason expectations that gave them the fourth-best odds to win Super Bowl LI. Unless things change quickly, they won’t even make it to a wild card game.

It’s unusual for a head coach with seven straight playoff appearances and a Super Bowl ring to wind up on the hot seat, but McCarthy’s Packers have been a sigil for underachievement in recent years. Since winning a Super Bowl after the 2010 season, McCarthy has gone 3-5 in the postseason, advancing to the NFC title game just once.

Those shortcomings could, and should, lead to McCarthy’s ouster. His predecessor, Mike Sherman, had won the NFC North three seasons in a row before a 4-12 season and a cumulative 2-4 playoff record got him canned. As his teams continue to fall short of expectations, this season’s disappointment could be McCarthy’s last.

If the Packers give their coach his walking papers, where would they turn? General manager Ted Thompson has made only one coaching hire in his tenure up north, and that was McCarthy. A look into the past reveals Green Bay is the kind of franchise that rewards familiarity, however. Since Mike Holmgren resigned as the team’s head coach in 1998, all three of the team’s ensuing hires have held some role in the Packers’ organization at some point in their careers.

The relationship hasn’t exactly been a sticking point in negotiations, though. Ray Rhodes spent just two seasons as the teams defensive coordinator in 1992 and 1993. Sherman was the team’s tight end coach in 1997 and 1998. McCarthy himself was the Packers’ quarterback coach for only one season.

The Packers have also leaned toward offensive-minded coaches since 1992. Holmgren, Sherman, and McCarthy were all offensive coordinators before taking the reins.

In-house candidate

If Green Bay wants a familiar hand on the wheel, current OC Edgar Bennett would be an obvious choice. Bennett played six seasons at Lambeau Field and has spent another 15 on the sideline. He’s only ever coached for the Packers and slowly risen up the ranks after coming on as running backs coach in 2001. With the Packers’ offense performing well despite Green Bay’s 4-5 start, he could get the call in McCarthy’s stead.

A former friend

Another interesting choice may be Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, who was a quarterbacks coach with the Packers from 2000 to 2005 before rising to prominence in Seattle. The 46-year-old is part of the effort that’s turned the Seahawks into an NFC powerhouse, and his ascension to head coach seems more like a matter of “when” than “if” at this point.

He may even be as locally beloved as Bennett. His Wisconsin roots grow all the way back to a 1993 Rose Bowl victory over UCLA in which Bevell was Badgers’ quarterback.

If not Bennett or Bevell, the franchise may have to abandon its recent tradition of looking to familiar faces if it wants to land one of the league’s hottest coaching prospects.

Other potential McCarthy replacements, in no particular order:

Sean McDermott, defensive coordinator, Carolina Panthers. McDermott’s value may have peaked in 2015 when he helped lead the Panthers to the Super Bowl and earned second runner-up honors in Pro Football Focus’s defensive coordinator of the year award. The bloom has come off his rose thanks to Carolina’s 3-6 start, in which his defense has allowed over 25 points per game and fallen from sixth in the league to 23rd.

Teryl Austin, defensive coordinator, Detroit Lions. Austin is a rising star, especially with his Lions atop the NFC North. He’s no doubt familiar with the Packers after seeing them twice a year since 2014, but he may not be the right man to fix Green Bay’s issues. The Packers have struggled to stop the pass in 2016. Austin’s Lions currently allow opponents to post a 112.4 passer rating -- the worst mark in the NFL.

Matt Patricia, defensive coordinator, New England Patriots. Patricia has been a lifer under Bill Belichick in New England, and he’s been able to breed stars and make the best out of a system that then trades away said stars for future draft picks.

Josh McDaniels, offensive coordinator, New England Patriots. A hot commodity despite his 11-17 record as head coach of the Broncos and the generally poor track record of New England coordinators in bigger roles. McDaniels didn’t get things right his first time as the head of an NFL team, but has rebuilt his reputation after helping lead the Pats to a Super Bowl title in 2014. However, McDaniel, who has been criticized for his role in chasing Jay Cutler out of Denver and taping an opponent’s practices, may not be the right fit for the Packers.

Harold Goodwin, offensive coordinator, Arizona Cardinals. Goodwin’s work as offensive coordinator has coincided with Carson Palmer’s revival behind center and the Cardinals’ return to the NFC’s upper tier.