Stale. Reaching the expiration date. Hot seat. No matter how you want to phrase it, the talk of the Green Bay Packers replacing Mike McCarthy has reached a fever pitch. It’s always possible that the Packers might go on a run which would allow Mike McCarthy to keep his job. It has been done before and is always possible when Aaron Rodgers is lining up under center for the Packers. But something feels different this time and because of that, the Packers could be preparing a list of possible candidates to interview if they part with Mike McCarthy.
If Mike McCarthy is fired, there is no doubt that the Packers will be a prime job for possible candidates. The biggest reason for this is because of Rodgers. Even with being 34 years old and suffering injuries (collarbone and knee) last season and this season, Rodgers is still the most skilled quarterback in the NFL. The NFL is driven by elite quarterbacks and Rodgers is at the top of that list.
For our list, we are going to break it down into three categories, NFL coaches with an offensive background, NFL coaches with a defensive background, and coaches that are currently in the college ranks. We are also going to talk about candidates that have been mentioned for possible jobs that we have omitted from our list and why.
Coaches on the Offensive Side of the Ball
Eric Bieniemy, Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator
The Chiefs offense is currently ranked third in total yards in the NFL. Although Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is the play caller, Bieniemy has a lot of say in the game planning and has become Reid’s right hand man. He has also helped in the development of first year starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
He is a long time assistant in the NFL, but this is his first as an offensive coordinator. Still, his work with Mahomes and the Chiefs offense this season has grabbed NFL team’s attention. Along with working for a team whose offense is innovative, he is also a very discipline coach, something the Packers might be in need of.
If DeFilippo were to get the Packers head coaching job, it would do two positives for the Packers. They would be getting a creative offensive head coach and also be hurting their biggest rival. He has been a quarterbacks coach for four different NFL teams. His last stint as a quarterbacks coach was with the Philadelphia Eagles. While in Philadelphia, he helped develop Carson Wentz but also prepared backup quarterback Nick Foles when Wentz went down with an injury. Foles went on to help the Eagles win the Super Bowl.
Since joining the Vikings, he has shown the ability to work with a veteran quarterback, something he would need to do if he was hired to replace Mike McCarthy. The Vikings starting quarterback Kirk Cousins is thriving under DeFilippo’s guidance by throwing 17 touchdowns and only five interceptions so far this season.
Left Off the List
McDaniels name will be mentioned frequently for NFL head coaching openings this coming off-season. But most of his great work has come when working with arguably the best quarterback to play in the NFL in Tom Brady.
He has NFL head coaching experience, but his time in charge of the Denver Broncos was less than impressive. In his two seasons in Denver, his record was just 11-17 and the Broncos never made the playoffs. He also was the offensive coordinator for the St. Louis Rams in 2011 and the Rams offense struggled under his guidance. Mike McCarthy has been called out for being successful only because he has an upper echelon quarterback. If they were to hire McDaniels it would appear they would being hiring McCarthy part II.
Coaches on the Defensive Side of the Ball
Kris Richard, Dallas Cowboys Defensive Backs Coach & Passing Game Coordinator
Richard comes from the Pete Carroll coaching tree. He was a graduate assistant under Carroll at USC and then followed him to Seattle. He was the defensive backs coach with the Seahawks and helped develop the “Legion of Boom”. He then worked his way up to be the Seahawks defensive coordinator. He served in that capacity from 2015-2017.
After he left Seattle, he joined the Dallas Cowboys staff. Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli was so impressed with Richard, he gave up the defensive play calling duties this season. While the Cowboys have struggled this season that is no fault of their defense. The Cowboys currently rank second in total defense.
Richard seems like an up and coming coaching star in the NFL. Hiring him might be what the Packers are needing.
Vic Fangio, Chicago Bears Defensive Coordinator
Fangio is a long time NFL defensive coordinator. He has coordinated defenses for five NFL teams during his NFL coaching career. He learned under former Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers, which might scare some Packers fans. But unlike Capers, he has adapted to today’s NFL offenses and has done a great job.
The Packers had a chance to hire Fangio last off-season as their defensive coordinator. Instead, he stayed on with the Bears after John Fox was fired and agreed to be Matt Nagy’s defensive coordinator. Fangio currently has the Bears defense ranked third in total defense.
Left Off the List
Mike Pettine, Green Bay Packers Defensive Coordinator
Some fans have called for Mike McCarthy to be fired and for Pettine to be elevated to the head coaching position. While the Packer defense seems to be getting better under Pettine, it shouldn’t be enough for him to earn the head coaching position. Pettine struggled as the Cleveland Browns head coach, like many have, but it seems like he is at his best when he is a defensive coordinator. There is a chance that a new coach could keep Pettine on. But if McCarthy is let go, it might be best for the team if they start from scratch in regards to the coaching staff.
Jim Harbaugh, Head Coach University of Michigan
Like him or don’t like him, Jim Harbaugh is a winner. Currently, Michigan has an 8-1 record and have a chance to make the college playoffs. His record at Michigan is 36-12 and is the biggest reason they have become a national power again.
He isn’t just a great college coach though. He coached the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014. During that time he accumulated a 44-19 record. He also led the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance in 2012. He left San Francisco because of a reported power struggle with the 49ers front office. He might not have that problem if he comes to Green Bay though. Although Brian Gutekunst has the title of general manager, the head coach doesn’t report directly to him. Instead, the head coach reports directly to president Mark Murphy.
David Shaw, Head Coach Stanford University
Shaw is a disciple of Harbaugh’s and has a background in the NFL. He was assistant on the staff of the Philadelphia Eagles, Oakland Raiders, and the Baltimore Ravens at one time. His father, Willie, is a former longtime defensive coordinator in the NFL.
He has been the head coach at Stanford for the past eight seasons. He has been rumored for other NFL openings, but seems pretty comfortable at Stanford. It might take working with one of the best NFL quarterbacks to entice him to leave, something the Packers have. While as the head coach of Stanford, he has accumulated an impressive 78-26 record.
Left Off the List
Lincoln Riley, Head Coach University of Oklahoma
Riley is currently the hot name from the college ranks. He helped develop Baker Mayfield into a Heisman winning quarterback. He has a very creative offensive mind and in his only two seasons as the Sooners head coach, he has a 20-3 record. His passing game would bring a lot of new concepts to the NFL. Some believe that if he worked with Rodgers, the Packers offense would get back to elite status.
Although he has been very impressive in his two seasons at Oklahoma, he still only has two seasons as a head coach. Also, he has never worked in the NFL, at any capacity. In our opinion, hiring him would be a major risk for the Packers.
Who would you want as the next Head Coach of the Green Bay Packers?