Sometimes I just don’t get it !!!
As offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers last year, Mike McCarthy’s offense finished 32nd and dead last in the NFL. How bad was it ??? That offense finished 32nd in passing, 22nd in rushing, and was 30th overal in points going eight games of a sixteen game schedule without an offensive touchdown.
As quarterback coach of the Packers during Ray Rhodes short-lived and ill-fated 1999 regime, McCarthy guided Bret Favre to his second worst season as a professional with the future HOFer throwing 24 pics to just 23 touchdowns. Favre’s 74.7 QB rating was was only supraceeded by his 1993 sopomore season rating of 72.2 and this year’s train-wreck of 70.9 yet this week Mike McCarthy was brought back to Green Bay and hired as the 14th Head Coach in arguably the most storied franchise in NFL history.
The Packers had to know that this was a controversial hire as the McCarthy news conference seemed to be more of a damage control preemptive rather than a celebration of the man that was going to restore tarnished lustre and return Green Bay to the promised land.
McCarthy was lauded for his past accomplishments, particularly his work with the Saints spanning 2000-2004. During that time, the Saints established 25 team and 10 individual marks. Joe Horn who caught 437 passes for 6289 yards and 45 TD’s during McCarthy’s tenure. New Orleans led the NFL in points (432) and toucdowns (49) during the 2002 season.
McCarthy’s prior work with the Kansas City was also cited. As quarterback coach of the Chiefs between ’95-’98, the combo of Gannon, Grbac, and Bono threw an AFC low 52 interceptions over that four year period. Huh ??? Whupdidoo !!!
In his year with Favre, Bret did throw for 4,091 yards but the Packers were just seventh in passing and ninth overall in total offense.
At the press conference it was also brought up that McCarthy had spent most of last year mentoring the leagues first overall draft pick, Alex Smith – possibly an inference that Aaron Rodgers would be in good hands if Favre decides to call it a career.
Alex Smith’s season by any standards was an unmitigated disaster! Smith’s numbers were horrific – 84-165 (50.9%) for 875 yards and a 1/11 TD/INT ratio. Granted, Smith had little to work but based on his freshman year, he’s well on his way to becoming a bust in the proportions of Tony Mandrich and Ryan Leaf.
McCarthy becomes the youngest coach in the NFL, three months younger than John Gruden. He inherits a a young (26.04 years at season end, 3d in NFL) team that is filled with uncertainties like the health of Javon Walker and Ahman Green and the return of Brett Favre.
Mike McCarthy was a surprisingly desperate hire from a surprisingly desperate franchise. The Packers had been to the playoffs five of the six years under Mike Sherman and while the talent level of the team has fallen appreciably due primarily to poor drafts, the whole Packer post-season shakeup wreaks of panic!
McCarthy’s coaching background:
1987-88, Fort Hays State – Graduate Assistant
1989-91, Univ. of Pittsburgh – Quarterbacks
1992, Univ. of Pittsburgh – Wide Receivers
1993-94, Kansas City Chiefs – Offensive Assistant/Quality Control
1995-98, Kansas City Chiefs – Quarterbacks
1999, Green Bay Packers – Quarterbacks
2000-04, New Orleans Saints – Offensive Coordinator
2005, San Francisco 49ers – Offensive Coordinator
2006, Green Bay Packers – Head Coach