If you thought all the moves in recent days by the Green Bay Packers felt like they were looking to start from scratch, you wouldn’t be too far off.
Speaking at his end of the season press conference Thursday morning, coach Mike McCarthy made clear what his decision to part ways with his offensive and defensive coordinator, along with four other assistant coaches, was about.
“We need to reboot, cleanse, however you want to word it,” McCarthy said. “We did not play to the standard of the Green Bay Packers. It’s my responsibility to make sure we get better and get back to that.”
For the first time since 2008, Green Bay missed the playoffs and finished with a losing record. While McCarthy has made changes in the past, including firing special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum after a disastrous 2014 NFC title game, the sheer number of changes are eye-opening.
McCarthy, who just finished his 12th year, told reporters the moves were not the result of any one game or event, but it’s difficult not to see a correlation between quarterback Aaron Rodgers going down early in the season and the team’s shortcomings being exposed without him.
“It’s not black and white,” McCarthy said. “This wasn’t done after Aaron’s injury. It wasn’t done after the last game. You have to evaluate all the time.”
But McCarthy had to evaluate the big picture earlier than ever and found that the status quo wouldn’t get it done.
“When you say you have a standard at the Green Bay Packers, it stops right there. The standard at the Green Bay Packers is to win world championships,” he said. “Now, are we doing enough to win a world championship? Or are we doing everything we need to do to win a championship? That question needs to be answered. It needs to answered throughout football operations.
“I know what I’m in control of. I’m in control of making sure we’re doing everything we can — everything we can — to win the championship. That’s what this process is.”
The timeline for that process isn’t clear, but McCarthy is diving right in. He said that current assistants Darren Perry, Joe Whitt and Winston Moss would have a chance to interview for the defensive coordinator opening, and he also didn’t rule out bringing back former offensive assistants like Ben McAdoo and Joe Philbin, both of whom left Green Bay earlier in McCarthy’s tenure to be head coaches.
A potential hiccup is the uncertainty as to who the next general manager will be — or even if that person will want McCarthy as his coach. Though President/CEO Mark Murphy said Tuesday that McCarthy was their guy, he also said the new GM would have the power to hire and fire coaches.
“I”m very comfortable where I am in my career,” said McCarthy, who did sign a one-year extension that has him under contract through 2019. “I’m more focused on the fit of the GM. And frankly, fit is a two-way street. It has to fit together.”
Finding the right fits — both in the coaching staff and with the general manager — is McCarthy’s goal as he looks to get Green Bay back to where he believes they belong.
“This is my professional responsibility,” McCarthy said of making changes. “It’s in my job description and I have to do what I feel gives the Green Bay Packers the best opportunity to win — to win it all in 2018. That’s why I’m standing here answering these questions.”