Deja vu all over again

McCarthy says all the right things, just like Sherman and Rhodes

Introduced as the 14th head coach in Green Bay Packers history on Thursday, Mike McCarthy made a good first impression, though it was not commanding or dominant.

The soft-spoken McCarthy outlined his mission statement, talked about his roots growing up in the eastern part of the country, and even recalled his time as an assistant coach with the Packers in 1999.

Come to think of it, he sure gave the impression of a former Packers' head coach on the day he was introduced as the head man six years ago. That coach, of course, was the recently fired Mike Sherman.

McCarthy was also described as a player's coach with a no-nonsense approach at his initial press conference by the man sitting next to him, general manager Ted Thompson.

Thinking back to a January day in 1999, that sure sounded like Ron Wolf's description of then new Packers' head coach Ray Rhodes. As it turned out, that description could not have been farther from the truth.

Finally, McCarthy comes to Green Bay having been lauded for his expertise developing quarterbacks during his 13-year NFL coaching career. He has been tabbed as a brilliant offensive mind and an engineer of a version of the west coast offense, most recently holding the title of offensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers.

The Packers hired a coach with a similar background, coming off a 4-12 season, in 1992 just prior to their return to the glory. The guy they hired that year was none other than Mike Holmgren.

Debates will rage on in the coming days as to whether or not McCarthy was the right hire, but one thing is certainly clear. He fits the mold of what the Packers have done over the past 15 years. In a sense, that is a good thing because the Packers amassed a streak of 13 non-losing seasons during that time (snapped this year). In another sense, it may be a bad thing because the Packers need a change in philosophy now more than ever.

While it appeared Thompson may veer in a different direction based on what he has done in his one season as general manager of the Packers, he reverted back to a familiar plan. Candidates like Jim Bates, who would have brought an energetic, defensive approach, and Sean Payton, who has served time under the legendary Bill Parcells and could be the next Bill Belichick, were left to pursue other head coaching jobs.

McCarthy, among a non-distinguished list of seven candidates interviewed by the Packers, did not necessarily separate himself from the pack, but was hired because Thompson had a "feeling" he was the guy.

"I kind of like a little bit of that Pittsburgh macho stuff," said Thompson referring to McCarthy's hometown area. "I like the fact that I think he's a tough guy. I think he's a player's coach, but also understands the bounds of that."

McCarthy said and did the right things on his first day as Packers' coach and should be given every chance to succeed. He no doubt will be a great person for the community of Green Bay and employs the same blue-collar personality that could make him an even bigger legend than Holmgren should his years in Green Bay reach a championship level.

Make no mistake about it though, McCarthy follows the trend of the past three Packers' coaching hires, and whether not that will translate into success, for this team at this time, remains a big question mark.

Matt Tevsh

Editor's note: Matt Tevsh is a regular contributor to and Packer Report. E-mail him at

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