The Green Bay Packers looked lost again on Thursday night in defeat, only cementing the fact that come season’s end, Mike McCarthy needs to be fired.
People dream of winning the lottery. Mike McCarthy lucked into the football version of that with Aaron Rodgers. Still, somehow, he took his winnings out back, doused them in lacquer and set them ablaze after only enjoying it all for a short while.
The Packers have Rodgers, a generational talent who at 34 years old still has an unparalleled arm. Despite this, they sit 4-5-1 in a middling NFC North, unable to ride Rodgers’ prodigious talents to a playoff berth, if not a Super Bowl run. It’s bad enough that Green Bay isn’t an annual title contender, but to miss the postseason in the current state of the NFL, which favors quarterbacks now more than ever, is unforgivable.
On Thursday night, all of McCarthy’s issues were displayed grotesquely to the nation. In the fourth quarter with a 24-20 lead, the head coach decided against challenging a critical 34-yard pass that put Seattle at Green Bay’s 16-yard line. McCarthy, who had already blown two timeouts in the half, didn’t want to risk his third and final. Replays then conclusively showed that Tyler Lockett dropped the ball.
Two plays later, the Seahawks scored what proved to be the game-winning touchdown, taking a 27-24 advantage.
On the following drive, the Packers faced 4th and 2 on their own 33-yard line, again with a single timeout and 4:20 on the clock. Instead of entrusting his future first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterback, McCarthy punted, never to see the ball again. And who could have guessed that, considering the Seahawks had only rushed for 152 yards to that juncture?
General manager Brian Gutekunst has to start working toward the future now that Green Bay is all but eliminated from the playoffs. Firing McCarthy during the season would be irrelevant, but doing starting to look at candidates is the prudent move.
The Packers can either go with an experienced hand with their next move, or try their luck with a younger, unproven coach with an offensive background. The potential coaching class is a thin one, but the former category may yield John Harbaugh, while the latter could include John Difilippo, currently the offensive coordinator with the Minnesota Vikings.
There is never a guarantee that the next coach will be a better coach, but changes must be made or faith will be lost. The Packers can’t continue down this road or slant-flat playcalls in every big situation, with lost timeouts and a basic misunderstanding of how Rodgers needs to be utilized.
Since winning the Super Bowl in 2010, the Packers have a measly five playoff wins with arguably the most talented quarterback to ever walk on earth. It’s a damning indictment of a coach who has refused to change, and in the final analysis, continued to fail in the same maddening, specific ways.
As time continues to march on and a scope of history takes hold, McCarthy can never be considered a complete failure as the Packers head coach. After all, his fingers hold the same amount of Super Bowl rings as Mike Holmgren, and nobody is calling to denounce Holmgren’s accomplishments.
Still, the singular truth after watching McCarthy’s team lose another infuriating game in an infuriating way is that he must go. He has to go.