Packers coach Mike McCarthy downplays questions about job security
GREEN BAY - Mike McCarthy doesn’t live with blinders on.
On the Friday afternoon following a 27-24 loss Thursday night to the Seattle Seahawks, a setback that tipped the Green Bay Packers’ win percentage below .500, McCarthy said outside criticism aimed at his job status comes with the head-coaching role.
"That's the job," McCarthy said. "That's the way this business has gone. I'm not going to get into comparables, but at the end of the day that's part of the job responsibility of the head coach.
"We set a standard here the past 12 years, and it's our responsibility to play to that standard."
McCarthy said one of his priorities was to "protect the locker room" from external distractions.
“I don’t think you can tune (criticism) out,” McCarthy said. “That’s the old days. That’s when you had newspapers. But I think today's world, everything is accessible, everything is instant. I'm sure (Packers players are) all aware."
For most of McCarthy’s career, he hasn't had to worry about job security. Now, the 13-year head coach is tasked with forging ahead with a 4-5-1 team that is 0-5 on the road.
The outside criticism was amplified Thursday after McCarthy decided to punt on fourth-and-2 from the Packers’ 33-yard line with 4:20 remaining in the game and his team down by a field goal. He said it was a “solid” decision in hindsight, but it wasn’t clear-cut.
“Frankly, those are the kind of decisions that keep all of us up,” McCarthy said. “Now that I’m standing here and I know what the result is of them running out the clock, you go, ‘Oh, yeah, I wish I would’ve went for it on fourth-and-2.’ My first reaction was to go for it.”
Internally, McCarthy said he hasn’t had conversations about his job security with Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy. When the two meet in-season, McCarthy said their discussions are focused on winning.
Graham injury update
As McCarthy stares down the remainder of the stretch, he may be without several players due to injury. Four starters, including tight end Jimmy Graham (thumb), left the game in Seattle and did not return.
McCarthy would not address the full extent of Graham’s injury, but both the NFL Network and ESPN reported that Graham suffered a broken thumb.
“There’s going to be a lot of moving parts,” McCarthy said. “We’ll have more moving parts coming this week, I’m sure. When this injury report comes out and we sort through it on Monday, it’s going to be a different approach going to Minnesota (for their next game Nov. 25). That’s all part of the challenge.”
One of the players who may be part of McCarthy’s new approach is tight end Robert Tonyan. The rookie made his first NFL reception against the Seahawks, a 54-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers.
Tonyan’s future snap count will depend on the depth of the position, according to McCarthy. If Graham’s thumb injury rules him out for Minnesota, Tonyan could see more playing time.
“I thought he really came on there at the end of training camp and he’s done a lot of good things, he’s doing some good things on special teams,” McCarthy said. “It’s a heck of a first catch. We have confidence in Robert.”
Besides Graham, cornerback Bashaud Breeland (groin), safety Raven Green (ankle) and defensive end Mike Daniels (foot) left the game early. Four other starters, including wide receiver Randall Cobb (hamstring), linebacker Nick Perry (knee), CB Kevin King (hamstring) and S Kentrell Brice (ankle) did not make the trip to Seattle.