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Volume 25 No. 175
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Packers Make Atypical In-Season Change With McCarthy Decision

McCarthy's team following yesterday's loss is unlikely to make the playoffs for the second straight season
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

The Packers fired coach Mike McCarthy after losing to the Cardinals yesterday and falling to 4-7-1 this season, as there was "no good reason to wait no matter how much" Packers President & CEO Mark Murphy and GM Brian Gutekunst "might like or respect McCarthy," according to Pete Dougherty of the GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE. For more than 20 years, the Packers franchise has been the "picture of stability, and firing a coach with games still to play certainly runs counter to that." However, with the season’s "shaky playoff hopes on the line" and playing a 2-win Cardinals team, McCarthy’s team "bombed." So, rather than "allow McCarthy’s job status to hang over the locker room, Murphy cut the cord" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 12/3). NBCSPORTS.com's Peter King writes, "What would have been accomplished by letting Mike McCarthy lame-duck his way through the next four weeks, other than keeping the franchise’s 65-year streak of never making an in-season coaching change intact?" Management "knew McCarthy was getting whacked, and McCarthy would have had to be blind to not know" (NBCSPORTS.com, 12/3). In Milwaukee, Tom Silverstein in a front-page piece writes whether Murphy "pulled the plug on McCarthy now or four Mondays from now, changes were going to come all around" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 12/3). USA TODAY's Nate Davis writes the firing "felt like a mercy killing," as the "writing was on the wall for McCarthy" (USA TODAY, 12/3). THE MMQB's Albert Breer writes the firing is a "stunner only in that it came now, and not in four weeks." But Murphy, in "tandem with Gutekunst, decided to make the move now, to get a head start on the coaching search" (SI.com, 12/3).

NEXT STEPS: In Milwaukee, Jim Owczarski cited a source as saying that the "power structure Murphy created in the offseason will remain the same." Murphy "will hire the head coach but he will get heavy input from Gutekunst." In the past, Murphy has used search firm Korn Ferry to "identify talent, including the process" of hiring Gutekunst last offseason (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 12/3). In Wisconsin, Tom Oates writes McCarthy's firing "will mean nothing unless it signals the start of widespread changes in the organization." Still, it was a sign that Murphy "finally recognized" that the Packers are "no longer a good team" (WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL, 12/3).