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McCarthy joins elite list

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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
December 14, 2011
— Mike McCarthy completed his 100th game Sunday with a winning percentage just a tick behind the two Hall of Fame coaches in Green Bay Packers’ history.

In his understated fashion, McCarthy has fashioned a record of 66-34, counting the postseason, in his first 100 games. That’s exactly the same record that Mike Holmgren had in his first 100 games in the 1990s.


Their winning percentage was .660.


The Packers’ leaders after their first 100 games are Vince Lombardi, who was 73-24-3 for a winning mark of .745, and Curly Lambeau, who was 62-25-13 for .685.


Lombardi is considered by some to be the greatest coach in National Football League history. One of the league’s founders, Lambeau coached the Packers to six championships from 1919-’49.


Let’s face facts. McCarthy has moved into the conversation to be among the finest coaches in franchise history.


“Statistics show he has to,” safety Charlie Peprah said. “Those are pretty big names to start comparing to. But, at the same time, his stats speak for themselves. Let him stay a little while longer. He’s already done great.”


Lombardi won three titles in his first 100 games. Lambeau, Holmgren and McCarthy each won one.


At 13-0, the Packers currently are three games ahead of any team in the league.


Obviously, their objective is to win several more Super Bowls under McCarthy to go with the title from a year ago.


“Sure, I’d say that’s something everyone wants to achieve,” said Peprah. “We’re not thinking three-peat before we even get our second one. But if you just want to talk potential and hypotheticals, he’s got the potential to do it here.”


McCarthy inherited a 4-12 team from Mike Sherman, who was 58-42 (.580) in his first 100 games. After an 8-8 season in 2006, McCarthy made significant progress in his second season by finishing 13-3.


In their first 50 games under McCarthy, the Packers were 28-22 (.560). In their last 50, they are 38-12 (.760).


“We’ll win a lot of games around here with that guy,” said nose tackle B.J. Raji. “See that No. 12 (Aaron Rodgers) over there? That will probably be his quarterback for the next seven, eight years. Coach McCarthy will hopefully have some rings to help him.”


Raji was referring to an eventual berth in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for McCarthy. Lombardi and Lambeau are there, and Holmgren has a chance to be.


“Who knows about the Hall of Fame,” said punter Tim Masthay. “I just know he is one great coach and we’re on quite a run right now.


“I’m young, but I’ve been around a few coaches. He’s the most impressive leader of men I’ve ever been around. There’s a lot of reasons for that.?.?.?his ability to inspire and motivate, not just players but people throughout the organization.?.?.?and his ability to direct the ship and keep clear messages in front of the team.


“He really inspires confidence in everybody. It’s huge.”


Tackle Marshall Newhouse and Raji kept going back to McCarthy’s ability to change up his approach.


“He just knows how to balance it,” said Newhouse. “He knows what buttons to press. On top of all that, he’s a smart guy. He cares about his players. He picks the perfect time to (get after people).”


Nose tackle Howard Green, who has been cut 10 times, has played for seven coaches besides McCarthy: Dom Capers, Brian Billick, Jim Haslett, Nick Saban, Brad Childress, Holmgren and Rex Ryan.


He said McCarthy was the best, even better than Holmgren.


“The ‘Big Show’ is good,” said Green, referring to Holmgren. “This guy.?.?.?same caliber. One Super Bowl, one Super Bowl. But we’re on the verge of two right now, and ‘The Show’ isn’t coaching this year.”


Is McCarthy the type of coach who can lead players to run through the proverbial brick wall for him?


“I’m not going to say that,” Green said. “But he’ll tell you how to get through that wall.


“If you can get guys to respond to what you’re saying.?.?.?I think that’s a Hall of Fame coach.”


Green said he couldn’t name one player on the roster or practice squad that he would call selfish.


“Everyone talks about 16 straight,” said Raji. “No one talks about the fact we’re coming off a Super Bowl. Other teams, like the Patriots, weren’t coming off a Super Bowl trophy at that time. They were searching for one. (McCarthy) doesn’t get enough credit just for keeping us mentally focused without having an off-season.”


Masthay added: “I’m sure when guys are done playing their careers here, guys who played for Mike McCarthy will look back and say, ‘Man, that guy was good.’?”



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