In this week's "Tuesdays with McCarthy," the head coach discusses penalties, his offensive philosophy, and his first football memory, among other topics.
Three fan questions will be selected each week and presented to Coach McCarthy. Go to the Green Bay Packers’ official Facebook page on Monday mornings to post your question.
Jessica from Wausau, WI
Q. Do you view yourself differently as a head coach, now that you’ve won a Super Bowl?
A. Personally, I don’t view myself any differently than when I arrived here, except that I’ve been extremely fortunate to be part of a growing family. Clearly, that’s been the best part of moving to Green Bay, the blessing that’s been put into my life with my wife Jessica and all of our children. Professionally, it does give you more confidence when you win the Super Bowl, I think that’s obvious. The Super Bowl is the goal everyone strives for and you gain experience through adversity and achievement. I believe that makes you stronger and more confident as a head coach.
Timothy from Montevideo, MN
Q. What can you do to help avoid penalties?
A. Marty Schottenheimer taught me this: Our job is to emphasize and to emphasize some more. As coaches, we’re problem-solvers, and our job is to give solutions. More importantly, we must be proactive in giving players the answers and solutions to any kind of situation they’re going to encounter during the course of a game. We’ve been very proactive with our approach toward penalties. We have game-education segments throughout training camp and every Thursday morning’s team meeting is about game education. We have referees at practice every day and penalties are charted at every practice. Following practice, that day’s penalties are addressed with the team. It’s a continued emphasis with our football team.
Michael from Oshkosh, WI
Q. Can a receiver get one foot down in bounds and then the same foot down in bounds again and it be a legal catch without getting the other foot down in bounds?
A. No, the receiver has to get both feet down in bounds, or touch a knee, an elbow, or another part of his body other than his hands or feet, to the ground for it to be a catch.
Q. When and where did you develop your philosophy of offense?
A. I developed my offensive philosophy during my time as an assistant coach. As an assistant, you’re striving for the opportunity to become a coordinator. I’ve always felt that every coach should spend a year as a quality control coach. My time in that role clearly served as the foundation for my beliefs as a coach. In that role, you break teams down, not only on offense, but you learn about defense and are able to develop a well-rounded education. During my time at Pitt, I also had the opportunity to work with special teams. My belief is that the development of the quarterback position is a major factor in how an offense should be structured. I learned from Paul Hackett, and he worked alongside Bill Walsh and Tom Landry, that the offense is built around making the quarterback successful. The quarterback has the ball in his hands on every single play, so it’s important that we manage the time we spend with him to make sure he’s the most prepared. When push comes to shove, he’s the one we need to count on. That’s where my philosophy of offense starts; it starts with making the quarterback successful. A good running game is one of the best ways to ensure that the quarterback is successful; it takes the pressure off the quarterback to have to make every play and win every game. I’ve been in the same offense since 1989 and it has truly evolved. I’d be curious to know how many coaches can say they’ve been in the same offense since 1989.
Q. Are you a ball-control guy, an attack guy, a schemes guy? How would you describe your philosophy of offense?
A. We have to be capable of all the components in your question, but our starting point is to attack. We have an up-tempo philosophy, and from the first day we get together, our goal is to run as many plays as possible. Specifically, we want to run more than 72 plays a game and if we do that, we feel our offense is going to be extremely productive.
Q. What’s your first football memory?
A. Watching Steelers games as a kid. Sundays in Pittsburgh were about watching the Steelers. My first memory of playing football was on a little patch of grass behind a grade school. Back then, it seemed like it was 100 yards, but it was probably 30 yards long and 15 yards wide. Everybody had helmets that were hand-me-downs and I had a Len Dawson uniform, the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, because they sold out of Steelers jerseys. The first time I saw a Packers helmet was when one of the kids playing ball had one and I thought the “G” stood for Greenfield, the name of my neighborhood.
Q. When did you become aware of the Green Bay Packers?
A. I can distinctly remember a substitute teacher in fourth or fifth grade talking about a great coach, Vince Lombardi. The teacher probably played football because he was a bigger man. His talk that day was about discipline and I remember him drawing up the Green Bay Packers sweep on an old chalkboard. When I got older, I saw a clip of Vince Lombardi talking about the Packers sweep and I realized that was obviously where the teacher had learned his lesson plan from.
Q. What do you like about living in Green Bay?
A. I love everything about living in Green Bay. I think Green Bay keeps life simple, and that’s the way life is supposed to be. When I think of Green Bay, I think of family, friends and football. I don’t want to work anywhere else. Jessica and I have built our home here and this will be our home for the rest of our lives.
Q. Had you considered another career before you knew you wanted to be a football coach?
A. I’m having the same conversation with my daughter right now. She has to pick a major and I know exactly what she’s going through. My background was in business because that’s all I knew. My father worked hard; he was a policeman, a fireman and owned a bar. He also had a few rental properties and handled many construction projects. My undergraduate background was in business administration, so when I went to grad school at Fort Hays State as a football graduate assistant, I enrolled in the MBA program. I really didn’t know what I was getting into with the coaching profession. I knew coaches worked, but I was spending 60 or more hours a week in the football department. After the first semester, I was told that I needed to make a decision to either be a full-time student in the MBA program or remain in football. I knew I wanted to stay in football, I had a taste of it, and I knew I wanted to be a coach. I decided to pursue and complete my master’s degree in sports administration.
For last week's "Tuesdays with McCarthy," click here.