Wednesday, 12 Dec 2018
Sport

The Packers need to replace Mike McCarthy with an innovative mindset Aaron Rodgers

So much for the Cleveland Browns having the NFL's most attractive head coaching vacancy this coming offseason.

Baker Mayfield Coaching in Cleveland is nice.

Aaron Rogers Coaching in Green Bay is better.

The Packers will be in the market for a coach Mike McCarthy on Sunday. Once the Packers play, the real intrigue will begin.

This is a storied franchise. This is the team that Vince Lombardi coached. This is one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history.

Coaches should be eager for luck.

But the Packers must be choosy. This is a big name. This is about getting the right coach. Rodgers operates. This is about finding an innovator. This is about following the lead of the Los Angeles Rams, who hired Sean McVay to work with a quarterback Jared Goff, and the Chicago Bears, who went with Matt Nagy to develop young quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Those teams are getting results, and their blueprints are what all franchises with head coaching vacancies now must follow.

Rodgers is not a young quarterback like Goff and Trubisky. He is a future Hall of Famer. He is a Super Bowl winner. He is a two-time league MVP. And he turned 35 Sunday.

But he needs help from his next coach. He needs an offense that looks like the offenses of the Rams and Chiefs, with concepts that have trickled up from the college game. Rodgers needs an offense that helps him. Too often, to make extraordinary plays.

The Packers need their version of McVay or Nagy. That means looking at the league's most promising offensive coordinators. It also means looking to the college ranks.

Lincoln Riley has said that he has no plans to leave Oklahoma to coach in the NFL. Could the Packers change his mind? Maybe not. But working with Rodgers would be an opportunity that he could not pass up.

If Riley is unavailable, the Packers' search should focus on NFL offensive coordinators. There's New England's Josh McDaniels, who spurned the Indianapolis Colts after last season's Super Bowl. That should not deter the Packers. If McDaniels is willing to leave New England, the Packers should consider him.

But McDaniels might even be too traditional of a choice. The Packers would be wise to consider the New Orleans Saints 'Pete Carmichael Jr., the Chiefs' Eric Bieniemy, the Tennessee Titans 'Matt LaFleur and the Minnesota Vikings' John DeFilippo.

Bieniemy succeeded Nagy as Andy Reid's top offensive lieutenant in Kansas City. Yes, that's Reid's offense, and Reid gets plenty of credit for the rapid progression of second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes. But Bieniemy has soaked it all up, and it also has a share of that credit.

DeFilippo was in Philadelphia last season the Eagles' quarterback coach – working for Doug Pederson and offensive coordinator Frank Reich, now the head coach of the Colts – to help oversee a Super Bowl-winning offense popular throughout the league. LaFleur has McVay in Washington and Los Angeles. Carmichael has spent years working for Sean Payton and with a quarterback Drew Brees in New Orleans.

There are other possibilities. If John Harbaugh is fired in Baltimore, he is a Super Bowl winner like McCarthy, who would need to be considered. If Bruce Arians, who left the Arizona Cardinals after last season, would he be willing to return to the NFL to coach the Browns, as he said, would he be willing to listen to the Packers about the possibility of coaching Rodgers?

Coaching Rodgers is not easy. Just ask McCarthy, who was last in 13 seasons in Green Bay, won a Super Bowl and got the Packers to the playoffs. But the conversation this season became not only about the possibility of a second straight non-playoff season, but also about the notion that it should have won more than one championship with Rodgers as his quarterback.

This is a coaching job of consequence and the candidates to fill it will be an interesting group.

Read more on the NFL:

Flare tempers, but Patriots let their loudest speak against the Vikings

The Giants win a thriller over Bears, which is not necessarily a good thing

NFL Week 13: News, updates, analysis, injuries and more

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