Mike McCarthy Ranked 10th Among NFL Head Coaches

Mike Ehrmann

It's the time of the year for arbitrary lists in the NFL media, and in a ranking of the top NFL coaches, Mike McCarthy finishes in the 10th spot.

The Green Bay Packers head coach, Mike McCarthy, seems to be a lightning rod for criticism. When things go wrong on the field, the head coach is usually one of the first to take blame from fans and from the media, a group with which McCarthy is often gruff and sometimes ornery.

Add in the fact that McCarthy maintains the play-calling duties, and you can see why he is in line for even more criticism than the average head coach. Still, McCarthy's team won a Super Bowl just a few seasons ago, and his offenses consistently rate among the best in the NFL in yards and points.

In Rotoworld's ranking of the top NFL head coaches, Mike McCarthy ranked 10th among the 32 candidates for those reasons, among others. Here is a look at what they had to say about McCarthy:

McCarthy has only known success as a head coach. He’s also only known Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers as his quarterbacks. McCarthy can be unimaginative, and slow to adjust. His defenses have consistently underperformed. The San Francisco 49ers can attest to all three points. That’s why the timing couldn’t have been better than 2013 for McCarthy to remind people that he’s not just a push-button coach. McCarthy did some of the best work of his career in the seven games Rodgers missed with a broken collarbone, managing and manipulating Matt Flynn just enough that the Pack could eke out two wins and a tie. It was a reminder of the success Flynn had during Rodgers’ previous absences — and a reminder that Flynn has been utterly futile as an NFL quarterback everywhere else he’s been. McCarthy is never going to be a fearless leader, blazing new trails and trends. But he’s been the right coach at the right time for the Packers, and that’s harder to find than you think.

Certainly, McCarthy was put in a difficult situation when Aaron Rodgers was hurt, primarily because the team's only veteran backup (Seneca Wallace) was injured the very next week and forced Scott Tolzien into action. All things considered, McCarthy pulled Tolzien in favor of the recently-signed Flynn at the right time in the Vikings game, and helped Flynn perform well enough to keep the Packers alive.

That is not meant to say that the criticisms of McCarthy are invalid; they're far from it, in fact. Being "unimaginative and slow to adjust" are exactly the kinds of issues that Packers fans have complained about regarding McCarthy's in-game management in recent years, and with good reason. (Also, the way he uses that challenge flag sometimes is maddening.) Still, it is just as important to remember the positive things that McCarthy brings to the table - especially his skill at game-planning during the week and managing his personnel.

As for the rest of Rotoworld's top ten, it consists of the following coaches, in order:

1. Bill Belichick
2. Pete Carroll
3. Jim Harbaugh
4. Sean Payton
5. John Harbaugh
6. Chip Kelly
7. Andy Reid
8. Bruce Arians
9. Tom Coughlin

Now this top 10 seems a little more debatable. I encourage you to critique this list in the comments as you see fit, and tell us where you think McCarthy actually fits in the grand scheme of NFL head coaches.

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