Who should be the next head coach of the Green Bay Packers? The Lombardi Ave staff give their thoughts in the latest roundtable.
It’s been some week. Seven days ago all the talk was about the surprising decision to fire Mike McCarthy before the season had ended. Now we’re talking about the playoff picture.
Will the Packers find a way to make the playoffs, or won’t they? Only time will tell, but one thing is for certain, which is that the Packers will be hiring a new head coach when the season comes to an end.
There will be a number of candidates discussed over the next month or so, but who should the Packers hire as their next head coach?
Who should be the Packers’ next head coach?
Brad Miller: Green Bay is looking for a head coach for just the fourth time in 26 years. I believe they will need to find a candidate who is offensive-minded to fully utilize and engage their All-Everything QB Aaron Rodgers, yet have input defensively.
The Packers are in need of a presence who will be confident enough to bring in new and fresh ideas for the offense and yet seasoned enough to command the locker room with poise and purpose.
They will need to embrace the proud traditions of the Green Bay Packers and their fan base. To be honest, those qualities will be in short demand with who’s out there as possible candidates for the Pack to hire. Yet, there are a few that could pull it off.
I feel that Josh McDaniels is a better offensive coordinator than a head coach; I would skip him too. Plus, spurning the Colts job last year may have jinxed his chances of landing another head coaching job.
John DeFilippo is a strong possibility but lacks the head coaching pedigree. His offensive mind would be working for him, but can he run the whole ship? Maybe.
I don’t think Green Bay can persuade former Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher from the CBS set, plus he may be too far removed from the coaching ranks to get back in the game and still relate to today’s players.
I’d skip all of the college coaches that are options also, just for the fact that successful college coaches rarely carry that on to the pros (and vice versa). So no to Riley, Fitzgerald, Meyer, Jim Harbaugh and so on.
That leaves two options in my mind.
Can the Packers steal Mike Tomlin from the Steelers?
I don’t know, but I love this guy’s passion for the game. He has command of his team while having their respect as well. He seems very straight forward and fair. He doesn’t make excuses and works well with what he has. He can manage many different personalities and still motivate them. He would fit well in the Packers organization.
The second option would be Ravens coach John Harbaugh. Harbaugh seems to have many of the same traits as Tomlin, but with the possibility of actually being available at the end of the season. Yes, Baltimore is still in the playoff hunt, but Harbaugh’s time seems to be ending whether he makes it or not. Like Mike McCarthy, he might be due for a change of scenery.
I’d go with Harbaugh unless Tomlin is available. Both guys would be great candidates.
Jesse Fry: I know Josh McDaniels is probably going to be the popular choice, but I’m going to go in a different way and probably an unpopular route. I say Jim Harbaugh.
I know the back story behind him, he wears out his welcome and usually only stays somewhere for roughly four years before leaving. But I feel he would be the perfect coach for the Packers.
Remember, it wasn’t Harbaugh’s players that quit on him. It was ownership and the GM of the 49ers. By all accounts, the only player problem Harbaugh had was when players like Aldon Smith started getting in trouble, he wasn’t allowed to correct the behavior in his own way.
The front office wanted to use a less is more discipline approach that only came back to blow up in their face.
The 49ers have had an unstable front office situation since the early 2000s and they could not handle the head-strong Harbaugh. So, the team and coach had a “mutual” parting that Harbaugh said was anything but mutual.
That will not be the same situation in Green Bay.
The Packers have a strong front office with a GM who has an admiration for the coach, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN. Also, Green Bay is all about culture in the locker room in ways other teams aren’t.
They focus on drafting “Packer people” who can fit in to the tiny little town of Green Bay. Though not completely immune, they hardly have discipline problems.
Harbaugh has not had the success most thought he would at Michigan, but most feel his style is better suited for the NFL. A place he doesn’t have to recruit, just coach.
We should not forget Harbaugh was at the forefront of the new-age offense. He was the one that designed the offense that set Colin Kaepernick off on a run never seen before in the NFL.
It wasn’t until Harbaugh left that his skills or lack of were exposed. Harbaugh has now also seen innovative concepts in college he can now apply in the NFL.
Also, if the Packers feel accountability for Aaron Rodgers is lacking, Harbaugh is one who won’t back down from holding him accountable. Harbaugh also has credibility that can’t be denied. He was a successful quarterback in the NFL and a coach who led his team to a Super Bowl and was mere fingernails away from winning it.
He is also a polar opposite of Mike McCarthy, in that McCarthy was usually very reserved on the sidelines. Yes there were times he showed his firey side, but for the most part he kept his demeanor subdued.
Harbaugh is a little more passionate when out there and sometimes takes more of a rah rah approach with his players.
Finally, I feel there could be a good fit and partnership with Mike Pettine. The players have recently spoke of the hope the new coach keeps Pettine on his staff, according to Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
While Pettine and Jim Harbaugh have never worked together, Pettine did work with his brother John for a season when John took over the Baltimore Ravens in 2008. So while not a strong connection, there is a connection.
The defense was ravaged with injuries and I feel Pettine should be given more time to develop his system with these players.
Both coaches are head strong, no nonsense type of guys who could have that right kind of tension to push a team to its peak.
Kyle Hoffenbecker: When Mike McCarthy was hired as head coach in 2006, one of the things he was tasked with was to stand up to Brett Favre and his ego. For a couple years, Favre was basically toying with the front office and making them believe he was retiring after each season.
By the time Mike Sherman was fired, Favre’s ego was at an all-time high. McCarthy was brought in to not only reinvigorate the stale offense, but to stand up to Favre. Does this sound like a similar situation? It should.
The Packers need to bring someone in to not only reinvigorate a stale offense, but to stand up to Aaron Rodgers and the ego that has all of a sudden become more and more apparent. McCarthy was an offensive guru before coming to Green Bay.
The Packers need to hire someone with a fantastic offensive mind, and someone who will stand up to Rodgers. One name, albeit controversial, comes to mind: Josh McDaniels.
McDaniels has been a name that has circulated ever since McCarthy got fired. However, he carries some baggage that doesn’t make him an attractive candidate right now. His stint with the Denver Broncos a couple years ago didn’t end well.
Keep in mind though, in Denver, McDaniels was much younger and had more control over the team than he should have had. McDaniels is not a name brought up when you think of offensive gurus, but he has done some very creative things with New England. He will bring those ideas and schemes to Green Bay.
McDaniels has the guts to step up to Aaron Rodgers, too. There are a couple of examples of McDaniels yelling at Tom Brady on the sidelines during games. If he’s done it during games, he definitely has done it during practices too.
Then, there is the controversy with Indianapolis. He took the job in Indy then decided to stay with New England.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the Packers front office decided to stay away from him because of his past. However, McDaniels would be a great hire if he was brought on because of what he brings to the table.