The Green Bay Packers lost at home on Sunday to the Arizona Cardinals. This is a story in itself as the Packers were at home, facing a 2-9 team and a rookie quarterback. That, however, turned out to be a footnote on the day, as shortly after the game Green Bay called in Mike McCarthy and fired him.
Pundits and talking heads will provide their opinions on the timing of the firing and whether or not he deserved better. All of that aside, the fact remains that he is no longer the head coach. So where do the Packers go from here?
The interim head coach will be Joe Philbin. Most recently, Philbin was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2012 to 2015 and served as assistant head coach in Indianapolis before joining the Packers. Most Packer fans have a sour taste in their mouth knowing Philbin’s lack of success in Miami, but they may not know his whole story.
After serving as Offensive line coach at Iowa, Philbin made the jump to the NFL as an offensive line coach with the Packers. It was his first NFL team, to which he moved up through the ranks and served as offensive coordinator between 2007 and 2011.
Besides a familiarity with the team, Packers fans can take solace in one tidbit of information. Philbin’s last year as offensive coordinator for the Packers in 2011 resulted in Aaron Rodgers best statistical year. Rodgers had career highs in completion percentage, yards, and touchdowns while posting a 15-1 record and winning the league MVP.
Now, that is not to say Philbin is the long-term answer. Right now, Vegas odds have New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels as the most likely candidate. This is okay. What the Packers need right now is stability, and a familiar face in Joe Philbin fills that void. Rodgers may have a comfort level with him given previous success, and this could lead to the offense finding its groove.
The Packers close out the season with two home games and two away games. The Bears and Jets on the road, sandwiched by the Falcons and Lions at home. During those games, the Packers need to protect their assets, but also explore what they have.
Geronimo Allison is on the IR and Randall Cobb has been riddled by injuries, likely not returning next season. It will be next man up as it always is with Green Bay WRs. This is an important time for young guys to showcase their talent. Marquez Valdez-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown, and Jake Kumerow all will be leading candidates to fill roster positions next season. A level of trust built with Rodgers during these four games could spell important roles in the future.
The season may be lost, but there is one thing to keep your eye on. Since 1990, there has only been one quarterback to throw two or fewer interceptions with a minimum of 350 attempts. That was Tom Brady in 20126, but he only played in 12 games. For players who have played in a minimum of 15 games, the fewest interceptions is a three-way tie with four interceptions.
Through week 13, Aaron Rodgers has thrown one interception…
Until next time, Soosh out.