Packers: Mike McCarthy Must be Given the Benefit of the Doubt

The Green Bay Packers are at a crossroads. The season is on the brink and head coach Mike McCarthy has eight games to get his team back on track.

On the line is an impressive seven-year streak of making the playoffs. But some feel that for McCarthy, his job could even be at stake.

Of course, to me, those calls are ludicrous.

The Packers have been struggling and 4-4 is an incredibly disappointing record for a team this talented.

Obviously, losing Clay Matthews for three games, losing both of your running backs and at one point, the top three corners, made things challenging for Green Bay. But this is the NFL and the Packers know better than most, that injuries cannot be an excuse.

That being said, calls for McCarthy’s job are premature. For one, given his record, the Packers still have a strong chance of turning things around.

In his tenure, the Packers have stared 4-4 three times. Just once did they make the playoffs (2009). But the other two instances came in 2006, McCarthy’s first year (the team finished 8-8) and 2008, Aaron Rodgers first year as the starter (Green Bay ended 6-10).

But in 2009, Green Bay won seven of its last eight games and while it’s hard to see this year’s team doing that, you never know what can happen with some health and a little momentum. McCarthy has also rallied the Packers from 1-2 starts to make the playoffs three times. And twice, they have been .500 or worse midway through the season and still made the playoffs.

And sitting at one game back in the division and just a half game back in the wildcard behind Detroit, things are far from over.

Whether you support McCarthy or not, what happens in the next three games will be essential to the Packers hopes this season and that’s because they are all on the road.

Green Bay plays at Tennessee this Sunday, then at Washington and at Philadelphia on a Monday night. Realistically, the Packers need to win two of these three games. If not, they would be 5-6 and that might mean having to win out to make the playoffs.

But even if Green Bay doesn’t turn it around and doesn’t make the playoffs, McCarthy still doesn’t deserve to be fired, nor do I think he will be.

The Packers have gotten to this point because of consistency and continuity.

Now, if Green Bay misses the playoffs two straight years, then it may be time, but McCarthy deserves the benefit of the doubt. And most of all, he deserves a chance to fix whatever has gone wrong wit his team.

chris peterson

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