The Associated Press
GREEN BAY, Wis.–The Green Bay Packers have fired Mike McCarthy and made offensive co-ordinator Joe Philbin the interim head coach.
The move announced by team president Mark Murphy came after a stunning 20-17 loss yesterday to the Arizona Cardinals, dropping Green Bay to 4-7-1.
Murphy, in a statement, said the 2018 season “has not lived up to the expectations and standards of the Green Bay Packers.”
“As a result, I made the difficult decision to relieve Mike McCarthy of his role as head coach, effective immediately.”
Murphy said the process of hiring the next head coach would begin immediately.
McCarthy was in his 13th season as coach. The Packers won the Super Bowl under him in the 2010 season.
He finishes with a record of 125-77-2.
“Mike has been a terrific head coach and leader of the Packers for 13 seasons, during which time we experienced a great deal of success on and off the field,” Murphy note.
But this is a third-straight year in which Green Bay has had extended struggles.
In 2016, the Packers started 4-6, then won eight-straight games to get to the NFC title game, losing to the Atlanta Falcons.
Green Bay then finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs in 2017, when Aaron Rodgers missed extensive time with a broken collarbone.
McCarthy shook up his coaching staff, including bringing Philbin back as offensive co-ordinator and hiring Mike Pettine to replace Dom Capers as defensive co-ordinator.
Different problems emerged.
This year, Rodgers hurt his left knee in the season-opener, though he is feeling better now. Receivers Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison also have missed time with injuries.
But the same issues kept popping up for the offence–most glaringly, empty third downs and a lack of explosive plays.
Rodgers was asked after the game–but before McCarthy’s firing was announced–how much blame offensive players should get if the Packers made a coaching change after the season.
“Yeah, a lot probably. We haven’t played very well,” Rodgers admitted. “We all take part in the disappointments and the failures that we’ve had this season.
“We’ve had a number of opportunities,” he noted. “It’s not like we’re getting blown out in a bunch of games. We’re in games.”
Cobb’s return yesterday didn’t help, with the Packers going just 3-of-14 on third downs.
“I hate to repeat myself but it’s applicable . . . we’re not executing the right way,” Rodgers said.
“It’s poor throws, not on the same page with receivers, wrong depth, protection,” he noted.
“We all have a part in that and we’ve all picked our time to mess up a third down.”