Packers: Potential coaching candidates to replace Mike McCarthy

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels looks on during the game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels looks on during the game against the Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /

With the termination of Mike McCarthy just hours after the Green Bay Packers’ disappointing loss to the Arizona Cardinals, they are now able to get a jump start in their search for a new head coach.

It’s easy to point at the 2018 season for the Green Bay Packers as the reason Mike McCarthy was let go, but really the offense has been floundering since 2016.

Finding the correct coach is going to be vital to maximizing the remainder of Aaron Rodgers‘ career in Green Bay.

President Mark Murphy and GM Brian Gutekunst will look into just about every coaching candidate but below are several options that have already come up in the discussions as the next potential head coach of the Green Bay Packers.

Josh McDaniels, Patriots Offensive Coordinator

McDaniels has some previous head coaching experience with the Denver Broncos from 2009-2010 but has been the Patriots offensive coordinator since 2012.

Although his time as a head coach didn’t go as planned, there are several instances where a head coach’s second attempt goes much better than it did initially. Recent examples are Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll.

In New England, McDaniels has shown his ability to create an innovative offense that maximizes the players’ potential while they are there. Oftentimes we will see position players thrive with the Patriots and then make little impact once they move on.

Regardless of who the next head coach is, they will have to have Rodgers’ respect and confidence. This makes McDaniels the best option in that regard given his time and success with Tom Brady.

There are some risks that come with pursuing McDaniels, such as questioning whether or not he will back out last minute as he did in Indianapolis. Or potentially leaving Green Bay for New England when Belichick retires.

However given his potential upside, he is definitely worth looking into.

Lincoln Riley, Oklahoma Head Coach

The hottest name in the college football circles is Lincoln Riley who has burst on to the scene in recent years.

He has been regarded as an “offensive genius” and is touted as the next Sean McVay.

His teams at Oklahoma run a very creative offense and they have no issue putting up points, but neither do most of the Big 12 teams. You have to wonder how well his offense would translate to the NFL level?

Some concerns in hiring Riley would be that a majority of college coaches don’t succeed during their first attempt as NFL head coaches. Also Riley is just a few months older than Rodgers and at this point it is unclear what the chemistry between the two would be like.

John Defilippo, Vikings Offensive Coordinator

Talked about as one of the brightest offensive coordinators in the NFL, there is a lot of hype surround Defilippo and his future as a head coach.

However the Vikings offense has stalled and looked unimpressive at times this season. Minnesota currently ranks 16th in total yards and 18th in points per game. Not all of this falls on Defilippo but he does shoulder some of the blame.

Now, this isn’t implying that Defilippo won’t be a successful head coach but he’s no guaranteed home run either.

Defilippo was on the same coaching staff as defensive coordinator Mike Pettine in Cleveland which may make him more inclined to keeping him around in Green Bay.

Jim Harbaugh, Michigan Head Coach

It hasn’t been until very recently that Jim Harbaugh’s name has been linked to the Green Bay Packers head coach opening and for very good reason.

Harbaugh has found success at just about every stop he has been at. He brought back Stanford University to national prominence, took the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl and even under a lot of scrutiny, has made Michigan football relevant once again.

He’s been able to turn around each of those football teams in a very short time as well, which is what many would hope for the Packers as Rodgers’ career is on the back nine.

Harbaugh is a very intense individual and is all football all of the time. A concern would be how he would get along with Rodgers and the rest of the team. He has never been at any one coaching job for too long, as it would appear that he wears out his welcome.

Given his past it’s plausible to think that he could turn around the Packers if everything goes well but if hired, Green Bay needs to be aware that they may be looking for a new head coach once again in just a few years.

John Harbaugh, Ravens Head Coach

Harbaugh has been on the coaching hot seat all season and if the Packers are looking for experience, then he just may be the guy.

Coming into the 2018 season, Harbaugh has had a lot of success. He holds records of 94-66 in the regular season, 10-5 in the playoffs and has one Super Bowl championship.

His Ravens teams have been known for their stout defenses over the years but have been inconsistent offensively, which means the offensive coordinator Harbaugh brings in would be a very important decision to make sure the Packers offense gets back on track.

Dave Toub, Chiefs Special Teams Coach

Toub would be an under-the-radar hire which the Packers organization has shown they will do in the past.

As a special teams coach, Toub has fielded some of the best special teams units in the league consistently year in, year out, an area that has troubled the Packers for a number of years.

This could be a risky hire, as going from the special teams coach to the head coach is a big jump but it has been done before. John Harbaugh is one example.

Toub has interviewed for head coaching jobs in the past and is held in high regard around the NFL and is very well respected.

Bruce Arians, Retired

An unlikely candidate but one that Green Bay may look into is Bruce Arians.

Nobody is even sure that Arians is fully committed to returning to coaching in the NFL and has stated that if he does, it will be for the Cleveland Browns.

As a head coach, Arians won the 2012 Coach of the Year award in Indianapolis and revitalized the Arizona Cardinals. His no-nonsense approach and presence alone would command the respect of the locker room.

Kliff Kingsbury, Free Agent

Kingsbury is another young, offensive-minded head coach who has spent his recent years at Texas Tech before being let go.

His time as head coach at Texas Tech came with mixed results but he coached a very explosive offense, which could make him an attractive option. He helped develop current NFL star Patrick Mahomes.

Once again, his team’s offensive numbers are impressive but similar to Lincoln Riley, they need to be taken with a grain of salt as it came in the Big 12. Nonetheless, Kingsbury’s Texas Tech offenses were very efficient and could score at any moment.

Perhaps it’s not the right time for a head coaching role for Kingsbury but he could make a fantastic offensive coordinator, something the Packers should also be looking into.

There are many other candidates out there as well and all should be looked at. The Green Bay Packers are at a critical point in determining which direction this franchise is headed.

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Ideally, with the way the NFL is headed the Packers will bring in an offensive-minded coach, but most importantly they will have to have the chemistry and respect of Aaron Rodgers.