The Packers have made a shocking mid-season change, firing head coach Mike McCarthy, the team announced in a statement posted to Twitter.
The team also announced that offensive coordinator Joe Philbin would take over as interim coach. While McCarthy was widely known to be on the hot seat, an in-season change is still a surprise because of his history with the team. The change comes immediately after the Packers’ embarrassing home loss to the Cardinals, where they lost as massive favorites.
A source told Adam Schefter of ESPN that the team brought McCarthy in immediately after the game and let him go, and that McCarthy was “not expecting it” (Twitter link). The “writing was on the wall” already, but today’s loss was the “final straw” for McCarthy, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link), who notes that McCarthy will be “very desirable” as a free agent.
McCarthy has been linked to the Browns’ opening in recent weeks, and he should be considered a strong candidate for that job. This was the 13th season in Green Bay for McCarthy, who won a Super Bowl with the team back in 2010. There have been rumors for a couple years now that McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers haven’t seen eye-to-eye, and things appeared to reach a boiling point in recent weeks with multiple tough losses. First-year Packers GM Brian Gutekunst has already made a ton of changes, and was never as loyal to McCarthy as longtime GM Ted Thompson was. Philbin is in his first year back in Green Bay after coordinating the offense from 2007 to 2011. While he’ll be a stable presence for the time being, he probably isn’t a serious candidate for the full-time job.
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