Green Bay Hires Mike McCarthy As Coach
By CHRIS JENKINS
AP Sports Writer
GREEN BAY, Wis. â€” Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson didn't hire new coach Mike McCarthy as a way to get Brett Favre back for another year. But McCarthy's ties to Favre certainly didn't hurt his chances of getting the job.
After being named coach Thursday, McCarthy said he would be the envy of other coaches if the star quarterback decides against retirement.
"I don't think there's a coach in the National Football League who wouldn't love the opportunity to work with Brett Favre," McCarthy said. "We had a very positive working relationship in 1999, and I'm definitely looking forward to working with him again."
Thompson gave McCarthy a three-year deal to replace Mike Sherman, who was fired Jan. 2 after a 4-12 season, the team's worst in 15 years.
McCarthy, who becomes the league's youngest head coach at 42, worked with Favre as the Packers' quarterbacks coach in 1999.
Favre struggled that year, throwing 23 interceptions to 22 touchdowns in an 8-8 season that led to the firing of coach Ray Rhodes. But Favre played much of that season with a sprained and swollen thumb on his throwing hand.
Now, coming off an even worse season, Favre hasn't committed to playing next year and has hinted that the team's offseason moves would play a role in his decision.
It's McCarthy's job to try to talk him into coming back. He said he tried to call Favre on Thursday, but they "missed each other."
McCarthy runs the pass-centric West Coast offense familiar to Favre and says he'll likely be calling the plays himself.
And he says Favre won't have to bear as much of the offensive burden this year.
Favre threw a career-worst 29 interceptions this past season, and admitted several times that he was trying too hard to make up for the absence of key players the Packers lost to injury.
"Our offense will probably be a little different than what they've run in the past," McCarthy said. "Brett Favre doesn't need to go out there and win every single football game. I don't think you should ask your quarterback to do that."
Provided he comes back, that is.
Thompson had said in his Jan. 2 news conference, somewhat defiantly, that he didn't consult with Favre before firing Sherman because it wasn't proper to consult with a player on such an issue.
But he said Thursday that he spoke to Favre on Wednesday morning before hiring McCarthy.
He's not setting any sort of deadline for the quarterback to give him an answer on retirement.
"He's working through that," Thompson said. "I haven't said, `Do this,' or whatever. He's a good man."
After his year in Green Bay, McCarthy was the New Orleans Saints' offensive coordinator from 2000-04 before moving last season to San Francisco, where the 49ers finished 4-12, ranking last in the league in yards per game (224.2) and 30th in scoring (14.9 points per game).
Statistics didn't matter to Thompson, who praised his new coach as a "macho," no-nonsense tough guy from Pittsburgh.
Of course, that didn't stop Thompson from asking deep philosophical questions during his interview with McCarthy.
"It wasn't like chick movie stuff," Thompson said. "But it was on some levels and topics that are not normally discussed."
Thompson and McCarthy both said they came away from their weekend meeting feeling comfortable with each other, both personally and professionally.
Thompson also interviewed Cleveland offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon, New York Giants defensive coordinator Tim Lewis, Dallas offensive coordinator Sean Payton, San Diego defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, Chicago defensive coordinator Ron Rivera and the Packers' current defensive coordinator, Jim Bates.
McCarthy said he would be meeting with Bates to decide if he will stay on with the Packers after engineering a turnaround for the defense last season.
"I have a great respect for Jim Bates," McCarthy said.
Thompson â€” who said he is far more comfortable evaluating players than he was firing Sherman or having to decide who would be the team's next coach â€” seemed relieved that the interview process was over.
"I wasn't comfortable, first of all, in having to release Mike Sherman," Thompson said. "I don't like to do stuff like that. I'm not comfortable. That's not my nature. I don't think it's anybody's nature."
January 13, 2006 - 4:02 a.m. Copyright 2006, The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP Online news report may not be published, broadcast or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.
This is from sf49ers.com
Mike McCarthy enters his first season as the 49ers offensive coordinator. He was named to his position January 27, 2005.
With innovative game plans that feature both chain-moving power and quick-strike passing, McCarthy is widely known as one of the top offensive minds in the NFL. McCarthy is a reputed developer of quarterbacks, having tutored Brett Favre, Jake Delhomme, Jeff Blake, Marc Bulger, Matt Hasselbeck and Aaron Brooks.
McCarthy joins San Francisco after serving as the New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator since 2000. After leading the NFC in scoring in 2002 with 432 points and 49 touchdowns, the Saints had another record-breaking season in 2003. The 340 points the Saints scored that season was the eighth-highest in club history, and all four of the teamâ€™s scoring totals since 2000 under McCarthy rank in the club's all-time top 10. Under McCarthyâ€™s direction, the New Orleans offensive unit set 10 team records and 25 individual records.
Until McCarthy's hiring, the Saints hadn't produced a 1,000-yard wide receiver in eight years, but under McCarthy, Joe Horn caught 437 passes for 6,289 yards and 45 touchdowns and was selected for four Pro Bowls over a five-year span. Also until 2000, the team hadn't generated a 1,000-yard performance from a running back in a decade. But a Saints' running back has since reached the milestone each of his last five seasons. Two runing backs, Ricky Williams and Deuce McCallister, achieved this honor.
Following the 2000 season, McCarthy was chosen as the NFC Assistant Coach of the Year by USA Today. While coaching quarterbacks at Green Bay in 1999, the Packers ranked seventh in the NFL in passing and ninth overall in total offense with quarterback Brett Favre passing for 4,091 yards.
McCarthy also spent six seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, serving as quarterbacks coach the last four years. As an offensive assistant in 1993-94, he worked closely with Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana. As quarterbacks coach from 1995-98, McCarthy's signal callers threw just 52 interceptions - the lowest total in the AFC during that period despite Kansas City using three starting quarterbacks during that span (Steve Bono, Rich Gannon and Elvis Grbac).
Before joining the Chiefs, McCarthy coached at the University of Pittsburgh from 1989-92 under Paul Hackett. McCarthy spent his first three years working with the quarterbacks before tutoring the wide receivers during his final season at the school. McCarthy's top pupil at Pittsburgh, QB Alex Van Pelt, broke Dan Marino's school records for career and single-season passing yards.
A collegiate tight end, McCarthy was an all-conference selection (1985-86) at Baker University (KS). McCarthy captained the school's 1986 team that finished as an NAIA Division II National runner-up. After his playing career, McCarthy joined the coaching staff at Fort Hays State (KS) as a graduate assistant from 1987-88.
The Pittsburgh, PA native was born November 10, 1963, and has a daughter, Alexandra.