On Thursday, February 12th, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy officially announced the changes to his team's coaching staff. Earlier, we covered the specific changes,which include the restructuring of playcalling duties, the promotion of a few returning Packers coaches, and the hiring of two new members of the staff.
Below is a partial transcript of McCarthy's comments regarding the changes.
These changes I'm excited about, I've enjoyed my time the last two days being involved in the defensive meetings. I will split my time evenly between the offense, defense, and special teams. It's a change for myself, it's a change for a number of guys on my staff
Regarding the changes on offense:
(Assistant Head Coach) Tom Clements will be the playcaller. (This is) the biggest change for me personally ... I'll put a couple different options together. I thought the playcalling was something i'd still be able to do. But the commitment Monday through Friday, I didn't think it would work. (New offensive coordinator) Edgar (Bennett) basically has responsibilities that Tom and Joe Philbin have had in the past. Alex (Van Pelt) has the responsibility of working with the quarterbacks and receivers together ... we think these adjustments will continue to help us grow.
Discussing his first few days since making the change:
I think I have a lot more to offer. I've enjoyed the last two days going through the cutups with the defensive assistants and the staff, giving offensive input ... (I will be) more directly involved with the implementation of the defensive schemes, the development of the schemes.
On the decision to promote Ron Zook:
The Special Teams needs to improve, it's definitely an area of concern in the past. We have to continue to develop our players to play as quickly as possible ... the standard of play from our veteran players is not where it needs to be.
Was it difficult giving up the primary playcalling duties?
Yeah, it's hard to do. (Public Relations Director) Jason (Wahlers) had to drag me in here today, I didn't want to do this ... the way we're structured, the way our quarterbacks are, it's a lot different from what was called three years ago. I feel very good with there Aaron is. Not only Aaron, but our veteran offensive linemen, our veteran receivers ... I feel very good about the mechanics and the opportunity to get better ... we haven't gotten into the gameday responsibilities (yet) ... I can still call a play if I need to.
Why were these changes made now? Was this in response to the loss in Seattle in particular?
The reason to do this is about winning championships. That part never changes.This is not the first time I've thought about this. I think our staff is ready. It's an opportunity for our guys to grow. I feel we'll be better offensively from that. I know I have a lot more to offer our football team. One game doesn't make the decisions on what you do with your program.
On Clements' ability to call plays:
I think you have to take a close look at Tom Clements' career. Tom's called plays as a quarterback in the Canadian Football League, he's called plays in the NFL ... Aaron has an excellent relationship with Tom and Alex Van Pelt ... the fit with Aaron is of the highest priority. That's why I thought this was the right decision.
Discussing the transition to the new staff and responsibilities:
It's gonna be seamless. We'll be a little more creative with how we practice. We spent a ton of time together with the QBs and receivers ... the way we game plan and the way we meet, the big changes we made last year, we felt we hit a home run there. We're not gonna change a whole lot there. These changes on our staff won't be big for our players.
On whether he considered making these changes in the past:
I think about making changes every year. I start with myself and I go through it. Where I was prior years is really irrelevant. This is something I've always felt very strongly about. When I went to TT and told him about the changes, their first comment was "whoa, you're really going to give up the playcalling?"
More on the special teams:
We made the change on ST with Shawn, he was a big contributor to us and our success. It was a difficult decision clearly on a professional level and personal. It was about the evaluation process ... to make sure our team was moving forward. Change is a constant in this league ... we're about improvement and about growth. Ron Zook is someone I've had history with ... Jason Simmons was an excellent contributor. With that, I'm gonna be the third guy in the room now. The're's gonna be change there, I can promise you that.
Ron and I and Jason , we'll start the first page of the playbook and go through it. It's the same process I went through with Shawn ... It's important to be creative. I feel like we're very creative in our program here
On the hiring of Jerry Montgomery from Oklahoma:
Jerry Montgomery ... it was an opportunity to add another defensive assistant ... the areas where we feel like we can use another guy and improve our responsibilities ... we had a number of candidates come through ... called (Oklahoma head coach) Bob Stoops on Thursday, he was very gracious. Jerry has a lot of energy, did a great job in the interview ... Jerry will be a great fit for us, especially coming from such a great program at Oklahoma.
Is he looking forward to the changes in responsibility:
Absolutely. Just in the defensive cutups for the whole day yesterday, usually you're in and out ... I'm excited about it. I don't know how excited they are about it ... it's been great. It's gonna make us better. I'm very confident in that. that's why i did it. It's fun to call plays, as far as my job responsibilities go, it's probably my favorite part ... but this change and the confidence I have in Tom and Aaron, I feel great about it and we'll be better for it.
On whether the changes could lead to other teams hiring Packers assistants for bigger jobs:
I hope so. I think any time you give someone the opportunity to get more responsibility, it feels very good for our program ... I hope people take notice. This has been a successful program for nine years. One of the best things is our development of young players, our assistants get a lot of credit for that.