Skip to main content

Would Mike McCarthy Make Sense in Detroit?

Our Brandon Justice opines on whether or not former Green Bay Packers head man Mike McCarthy would be a fit in Detroit

As of Dec. 12, 2019, Matt Patricia is still the Lions' head coach. 

At 3-9-1 with three games remaining on the schedule, there’s a possibility the second-year Detroit head man doesn’t make it past January in Motown.

Earlier this week in a segment featured on NFL Network, former Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said he is eyeing a return to the NFL after his 13-year run in Green Bay ended over a year ago.

"It's a very selfish profession," McCarthy said in the interview. "Coaching in the NFL, I think that's a given. But what I've found through this transition is ... our family needs this. We need to do this ... just 'cause of everything that's happened, and this will be a great opportunity for us."

As the Lions prepare for a possible new hire and McCarthy seeks a new franchise, does the pairing make sense?

The success McCarthy had in Green Bay cannot be understated, no matter how poorly it ended.

To spend 13 years anywhere as a head coach in the NFL is an accomplishment in and of itself. 

But to spend those years winning four straight NFC North division titles from 2011-14, six division crowns total, an NFC Championship and a Super Bowl ring is extremely rare with all the parity in today's game.

At the time of his firing in 2018, McCarthy was just two years removed from capturing his sixth NFC North title as well as his fourth trip to the NFC Championship Game.

During his tenure in Green Bay, he had only three losing seasons, while managing to make the playoffs nine times.

In those same 13 years, the Lions totaled nine losing seasons and three playoff appearances, including zero postseason wins.

Maybe McCarthy isn’t a home-run hire for franchises with high expectations like the Cowboys.

However, to say he’s anything but overqualified for the Detroit position would be crazy.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Lions Articles


Lions Have Not Had Winning Season Since 2017

The Detroit Lions finished with a record of 9-7 back in 2017.


NFC North Roundtable: Underrated Lions Player

NFC North roundtable explores players possibly receiving too little hype.


What Can Detroit Lions Expect from TE James Mitchell

Detroit Lions rookie tight end James Mitchell should be a player to watch at training camp.

And yes, McCarthy had Rodgers in his prime.

So, perhaps McCarthy gets too much credit for all the success the Packers garnered during his time there.

Or maybe, just maybe, Rodgers receives too much credit, considering McCarthy came in to Green Bay as a highly credentialed quarterbacks coach yet receives little to no praise for his aid in developing the future Hall of Fame quarterback.

All things considered, Lions franchise passer Matthew Stafford's play isn’t far off from the level of production Rodgers gave McCarthy. 

NFL Network listed the 31-year-old as high as the sixth-best quarterback in the league before a back injury ended his 2019 season.

And before we go any further, let’s first address the obvious: anyone hired as the Lions' head coach is going to need to fix the defense.

McCarthy, as an offensive coach, would need to pair himself with a high-end defensive mind that can reshape Detroit’s 24th-ranked defense.

If he can do that, his hiring would be promising.

There’s no telling -- at the time of this piece being published -- if Patricia will be canned at season's end.

All signs point toward him getting a third year on the job in 2020.

But should the position open up, remember this: McCarthy is the exact opposite of Patricia. 

He's an offensive-minded coach that brings a wealth of experience as an NFL head man, and he would likely love nothing more than to get a crack at the team that fired him twice a year.

Read Next: Could Odell Beckham Jr. Be a Fit in Detroit?