Mike McCarthy had been the Green Bay Packers head coach for almost 13 seasons when he was fired Sunday. Known as an offensive mind, he reportedly clashed with Aaron Rodgers over play calling and spent much of this season on the hot seat as the Packers drifted to 4-7-1 and out of the serious playoff picture.
Green Bay, in seeking to replace the man who won 125 games for them spanning more than a dozen seasons, could certainly do a lot worse than two former Seahawks assistants with strong resumes — prepare to hear once again the most familiar of names.
Darrell Bevell: Would be a homecoming of sorts
Bevell’s ties to the Packers, their state, and their division make him a natural fit — if Green Bay decides to keep a head man with offense in his background.
Bevell was on the Packers’ coaching staff as an offensive assistant and as Brett Favre’s quarterbacks coach from 2000-2005. He then spent five seasons coordinating the Minnesota Vikings’ offense before joining the Seahawks... where he helped direct some of this franchise’s biggest wins over the Packers.
Bevell’s Seahawks offenses ranked top 10 in scoring and top 10 in ball protection for four straight years from 2012-2015.
In addition, just for another tie to the area, Bevell was a star quarterback at Wisconsin, where he held records broken by none other than Russell Wilson.
Hiring someone like Bevell would be an easy sell to those Packers fans willing to overlook the heartbreak he’s helped cause them, and an inferior usage of personnel on the fateful play of Super Bowl XLIX.
Bevell, 48, has been taking the year off.
Kris Richard: Would put an eye on defense
So many times, a team will replace a long-tenured, offensive-minded coach with one noted for defensive chops. We saw this in the NFC West most clearly, over the past ten years.
Seattle: Mike Holmgren (O) in 2008 to Pete Carroll (D) in 2010 (minus a disastrous transition)
San Francisco: Jim Harbaugh (D) in 2014 to Chip Kelly (O) in 2016 (with similar transition troubles) followed by Kyle Shanahan (O) in 2017
St. Angeles: Jeff Fisher in 2016 (D) to Sean McVay (O) in 2017 (they forgot to lose a year via hiring error in between)
Arizona: Bruce Arians in 2017 (O) to Steve Wilks (D) (with a point differential at -135, maybe they’re building something that will last, or transitioning poorly).
Anyway, here’s a McCarthy fact that will probably explain part of the dissatisfaction with him: the Packers’ defense has not ranked in the top 10 by scoring or by yards in any of the past eight seasons.
Making a move for Kris Richard, who’s young (still only 39!) could make a lot of sense. He wouldn’t be subject to the same kind of power struggle with Rodgers, he’s been a defensive coordinator for three seasons, and those three were among Seattle’s best.
Richard joined the NFL in 2010, following Pete Carroll from USC. He coached defensive backs in Seattle through 2013, helping develop the Legion of Boom entered the league (Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor were drafted in 2010, Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell in 2011).
With Richard as defensive coordinator, the Seahawks led the league in scoring defense in 2014 and 2015, and while Richard is not the DC in Dallas at the time, he has helped guide the Cowboys to second place in scoring defense at the moment, without any of the big names that defined his stay in Seattle.
Richard would not be a hard sell in Green Bay, considering the Packers would never have to play his defenses again.
Bonus candidate: Why not Brian Schottenheimer?
If the Packers are inclined to look his way, Schottenheimer’s turnaround of the Seahawks offense (from 22.9 ppg to 26.6) and observable work with Russell Wilson’s footwork (link) make even him a dark horse candidate. Carroll won’t step in the way if Green Bay moves to hire Schotty, listen to him say so himself:
It makes it hard at times on us, but I want the next guy coming in to know the exact same thing: If you come here, we’re going to help you be the best that you could possibly be. In my mind, everybody is going, everybody is moving on. And I’m hoping that they get those chances. So I’ve been that way for a long time and we’ve endured it. It’s worked out. It gives us a great chance to really have a great place for someone to come to, also.
Admittedly, the theoretical hire is a stretch. The Packers may prefer to take a ride on the coaching retread carousel, choosing someone more established to work alongside Rodgers’ final seasons.
But if they decline to use the NFL’s coach recycling program, don’t be surprised to hear the names of some old Seahawk friends.