Each week, readers are invited to submit questions about the Green Bay Packers via Twitter using the hashtag #PackersMail. We'll continue that throughout the offseason. Here are some of the topics that came up this week after coach Mike McCarthy announced he would give up play-calling duties and made several changes to his staff:
Do you think or have you heard that maybe McCarthy was some what persuaded or forced to give up his call playing duties? #PackersMail— Barry Meyer (@backbeatbeats) February 12, 2015
Demovsky: Perhaps McCarthy was anticipating that question during his press conference on Thursday but before it could be asked, he said that both general manager Ted Thompson and team president Mark Murphy were surprised when he informed them of his plans. Said McCarthy: "Their first comment was 'Whoa, you're really going to give up the play-calling?'" Murphy has said repeatedly that he leaves the football decisions to Thompson and McCarthy, so it's unlikely he intervened. And there's been no indication before that Thompson has ever forced McCarthy to do anything with his coaching staff. Three months ago, the Packers gave McCarthy a contract extension that runs through the 2018 season, so clearly they were happy with the way he was doing business.
Demovsky: Considering how closely Tom Clements has worked with McCarthy over the season, it's hard to anticipate any radical changes. To that end, Clements said Thursday, "I think Mike and I along with the other guys on the staff see the game the same way. We approach the game the same way." It's funny how McCarthy has been criticized for taking his foot off the gas in the NFC Championship loss to the Seahawks, yet in the past he's been criticized for not running the ball enough.
Demovsky: Those are two separate issues since Edgar Bennett is not doing the play-calling. Instead, Bennett will slide in Clements' old role, an offensive coordinator without play-calling duties. It's more of a big-picture, overseer type of job. McCarthy gives each one of his assistants an area of concentration. Last season, when Bennett coached receivers, his responsibility was third-down plays. The Packers ranked third in the NFL last season in third-down efficiency. Bennett also has coached running backs, his old position, so he has a wide view of the offense that should serve him well in his new role.
Demovsky: McCarthy has said how interested he is in the personnel side of things yet has maintained that he doesn't want to be a coach and general manager. He respects Thompson's role and the work the personnel department does. The changes McCarthy has made would indicate that he's more interested in becoming more involved with the other areas of the coaching staff rather than the personnel department.
Demovsky: It was interesting to hear McCarthy say that new defensive front assistant Jerry Montgomery will be defensive coordinator Dom Capers' "right-hand man," but it would be a mistake to think that means they're grooming Montgomery for that role. Montgomery is only 35 and has never coached in the NFL before and, even in college, h'se never served a full season as a coordinator. Also, there's no indication that Capers is nearing the end of his career. He's 64 years old and appears to be in great physical shape. He has spoken admiringly about the career of one of his mentors, Dick LeBeau, who is still coaching in the NFL at age 77.
Demovsky: If the Packers were going to trade Randall Cobb, it would have had to happen by Oct. 28, which was the trade deadline last season. After that, all trading ceases until March 10, which is when free agency begins. At that point, Cobb would no longer be property of the Packers to trade. Theoretically, they could sign him to extension before free agency and then trade him later, but they would have to know they could work out a deal before that. Those kinds of moves don't happen in the NFL.