Packers Training Camp Countdown: 19 Days

Every day until the start of camp on July 26, we'll provide one juicy nugget to whet your appetite for the return of football. We'd give you more but the CBA forbids two-a-days. Sorry. As he enters his eighth season, Mike McCarthy somehow seems unappreciated despite his success and longevity.

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy won a Super Bowl just a couple years ago. Yet, somehow, he seems unappreciated.

He doesn't talk a big game, like Rex Ryan.

He doesn't have a famous last name, like Harbaugh.

He doesn't exude charisma. He rarely talks in sound bytes.

He's overshadowed by his quarterback.

What McCarthy is is a winner.

He's got a Super Bowl ring.

He's won at least 11 games in four of the last six seasons. One of those exceptions ended under a shower of confetti.

Among active coaches, it was McCarthy who was the quickest to 75 wins. His .656 winning percentage (including playoffs) ranks third in the league among active coaches with at least 50 games.

What do you want from a coach?

— You want your team to have a chance to win a championship every season. McCarthy has led the Packers to four consecutive playoff berths. No other NFC team can say that. He's done that with an astounding 32-10 record against the NFC North. Only New England (34-8) has been better against divisional foes.

— You want your team ready to play. Over the last four seasons, the Packers have outscored their opponents by 200 points in the first quarter. That's Green Bay's best period over that span. By coming ready to play, the Packers rarely get blown out. Over the last three regular seasons, they have lost just one game by more than a score. Over the last six seasons, the Packers have lost just three games by more than 12 points.

— You want your team to be resilient. The Packers lost at Seattle in controversial fashion in Week 3 and at Indianapolis in painful fashion in Week 5. Rather than fall apart, the Packers rattled off five consecutive wins and nine in 10 weeks. Needing two wins to get in the playoffs in 2010, the Packers won six in a row to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

— You want your team to persevere. The Packers were hammered by injuries in 2010 and 2012 but offered no excuses and just kept winning.

— You want your team to win games rather than lose them. With a second-ranked 68 giveaways over the last four seasons, the Packers haven't given away many games. With a third-ranked 133 takeaways over the last four seasons, the Packers have won plenty of games.

— You want your coach to be an X-factor. It might not be as shiny and new as the read-option, but McCarthy's offenses challenge the opposition by stretching the field vertically and horizontally and playing with a pedal-to-the-metal approach with the play clock.

"At the end of the day, our job ultimately is to put the ball in the end zone," McCarthy said. "I don't play keepaway. I think there's two schools of thought when you play football. Some guys like to shorten the game, play great defense, play field position and try not to lose it. I want to play as fast as I can and throw as many punches as I possibly can and beat you as bad as I can. That's the way we play."

— You want your coach to be unafraid to make big decisions. He did that by going with Aaron Rodgers over Brett Favre after a brilliant 2007. He did that by scrapping defensive coordinators and schemes after 2008. He did that again by sticking with Dom Capers after 2012. He did that with his massive offensive line shakeup this offseason.

— You want your team to develop its young players. McCarthy helped turn Rodgers into a future Hall of Fame quarterback, and McCarthy built a staff that grooms young (cheap) talent to replace older (expensive) free agents.

— You want your coach to be respected. What's maybe the most unlikely thing is the team still listens and responds to McCarthy. He's entering his eighth season as coach, a remarkable figure in a league in which 13 coaches were hired in 2012 and 2013. Only Bill Belichick (2000, Patriots), Marvin Lewis (2003, Cincinnati) and Tom Coughlin (2004, Giants) have been with their teams longer.

McCarthy's message and approach haven't changed. Yet, the players are buying in. McCarthy noticed his team had a "different edge" and a "higher sense of urgency" after the playoff failures of 2011 and 2012. Not a story was written and not a mention was made of the perfect attendance during the offseason. That's because that's the status quo of McCarthy's offseason program. The players come and they work. They get better on the field and they stay off the crime blotter off the field.

No, McCarthy isn't perfect. You can't win the Super Bowl every year but the playoff losses to the Giants and 49ers were humbling in their one-sidedness. He got away from an effective running the game in the playoff loss at San Francisco. Sometimes, he puts too much faith in his players, whether it's kicker Mason Crosby or the offense in the first half of last year's loss at Seattle. His record in fourth-quarter comeback situations is dismal.

Still, McCarthy should be considered one of the game's top coaches. His teams are prepared schematically, emotionally and physically. Week after week after week, he's put his team in position to win. Because of that, he's continually put his team in position to win it all.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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