Aaron's Answers: Is Mike McCarthy really that good?

Aaron Nagler
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Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy speaks to the media during the 2017 NFL scouting combine at the Indiana Convention Center.

Throughout the offseason, I’ll be answering reader questions in a weekly mailbag here at If you’d like to submit a question in the future, just email me at

With the regular-season schedule out and with less than a week until the NFL draft, the offseason feels like it’s moving along at a nice pace. Of course, that doesn’t mean you don’t have questions about the Packers that need answering, so let’s get to it.

From Steven Botzau:

I agree that Mike McCarthy is a good coach but it's hard to rank him at No. 2 when his defense has been bad for awhile. He has power over Dom Capers to change things if he knew what to do. It doesn't help when Ted Thompson gives him bad players on defense, though.

Aaron’s Answer:

I take it you’re referencing McCarthy being ranked second in Pete Prisco’s head-coach rankings earlier this week. I’ll just say this about rankings: They do a good job of getting people talking, but other than that, they’re mostly worthless. And that’s no shot at Pete, whom I like and respect. That’s just life in the Internet age. Things are ranked online, and people argue about it. It’s the lowest of the low hanging fruit.

With that said, your point about McCarthy “having power” over Capers is essentially correct. But as McCarthy said at the NFL combine, he goes through an exhaustive review of his staff every offseason, and after doing so he still determined that Capers was the right man for the job. That suggests to me McCarthy feels the deficiencies on defense have much more to do with the talent he’s been given. (Or not given, as the case may be.)

One thing I will say about McCarthy, especially when it comes to the coaching job he is asked to do in Green Bay, is that he continually makes the playoffs and makes postseason runs with one of the youngest rosters in the league year after year. Very few coaches could do the job he’s done while working for a general manager who treats free agency like it’s radioactive. He’s almost always given projects to bring along instead of seasoned veterans who have plenty of experience.

Does he have his weak spots? Of course he does. Can he be stubborn? Probably more so than any other coach I’ve come across in the NFL. But Mike McCarthy is a very good football coach and Packers fans are lucky to have him in Green Bay.

From Troy Stephenson:

I caught the last couple minutes of your Facebook Live and you were talking about drafting a TE and said "with Richard Rodgers being gone..." I tried to research it but didn't see anything? Or maybe I misheard you? Is Rodgers gone?

Sorry for the confusion Troy. (Though maybe that will teach you not to miss the start of my Facebook Live sessions! I kid, I kid…)

No, Rodgers is not gone. Yet. But the writing is certainly on the wall. He’s entering the last year of his rookie deal and the Packers didn’t go out and sign two tight ends, a move that was certainly out of character, because they were happy with what they had on hand. Yes, they are most likely trying to shift their offensive philosophy somewhat and that certainly played a role.

But signing Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks, one year after going out and signing Jared Cook, tells you all you need to know about how they view Rodgers. He’s a solid pro, but he’s no difference maker. The free agent signings are excellent band aids for now, but you have to think they’ll still be looking at what is considered to be an extremely deep and talented tight end class.

If a tight end they like falls to them during the draft next weekend and is too good a value to pass up, there’s a good chance they take him. If that happens, there’s also a good chance this will be Rodgers’ last year in Green Bay.

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