Notebook: Former McCarthy Pupil Leads Panthers

On Sunday for the first time as a head coach, Mike McCarthy will face one of the many quarterbacks he has worked with during his NFL coaching career when Jake Delhomme and the Carolina Panthers visit Lambeau Field. - More Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 28


On Sunday for the first time as a head coach, Mike McCarthy will face one of the many quarterbacks he has worked with during his NFL coaching career when Jake Delhomme and the Carolina Panthers visit Lambeau Field.

The pair worked together for three seasons (2000-02) in New Orleans when McCarthy was the offensive coordinator for the Saints and Delhomme served as a backup. Carolina played in Green Bay last November but Delhomme missed the game because of a season-ending elbow injury sustained in September.

Sunday's contest will be the sixth time in McCarthy's head-coaching tenure that the opposing quarterback is one he worked with during his coaching career. Since 2006, Green Bay has faced Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck twice ('07 playoffs and '06 regular season), Rams quarterback Marc Bulger twice (2006, 2007) and 49ers quarterback Alex Smith in '06.

"I learned a ton from Mike," Delhomme said. "He was fantastic, an absolutely wonderful teacher. I had three years with him of the offseason and during the course of the season, and I really think Mike was tough on me in a way.

"Mike would always quiz me and stayed on me. I used to do a quarterback tip sheet for us and he had a high level of expectancy for it to be good and I didn't want to let him down. I'm really glad I was able to be with Mike. I think he's a fantastic coach and I think he helped me grow up a lot as a player."

Delhomme signed with Carolina as a free agent after the 2002 season and led the Panthers to the Super Bowl in his first season as the starter. He earned Pro Bowl recognition in 2005, quite an accomplishment for a player who entered the league as a non-drafted free agent out of Louisiana-Lafayette and spent two seasons playing in NFL Europe.

"He definitely came up the right way in the NFL in my opinion," McCarthy said. "He had to work for everything that he has achieved. It's really a credit to him as an individual. He was a very, very raw prospect, but always very ambitious and very hard-working. He had a unique, natural leadership ability about him.

"I'm very fond of him. He's a man's man. He's been successful and it's a credit to his hard work."

Although Delhomme clearly enjoyed his time working under McCarthy, he joked that one memory from training camp stands out as one he was not as fond of.

"I did have a problem with it in two-a-days because it was in south Louisiana, it's hot as could be and we're out 30 minutes before everybody else in full gear running over bags and everything," Delhomme said, referring to some of McCarthy's quarterback school drills. "I was like, 'Mike, you've got to be kidding me.' It was some discipline, I'll tell you that."

Driver to be honored

Wide receiver Donald Driver will receive the President's Volunteer Service Award during a pre-game ceremony on Sunday for his contributions to the community encouraging kids to stay active and healthy.

One player from each team in the NFL will be presented with the award this weekend as part of NFL PLAY 60, the league's youth health and fitness campaign that encourages the importance of staying active for at least 60 minutes a day.

All Thanksgiving weekend games will raise awareness of the childhood obesity epidemic and showcase the NFL and its clubs' commitment to help reverse the trend. Each home stadium will feature NFL PLAY 60 banners and on-field stencils.

{sportsad300}One of the team's most community-minded players, Driver has made more than 400 appearances in the community during his career. He formed the Donald Driver Foundation in 2000 and has sponsored an annual Donald Driver Football Camp in Houston, Milwaukee, and Cleveland, Miss., a free event for children between ages 7 and 17.

Driver has also supported numerous other football camps, local Pop Warner football and is a frequent speaker in Wisconsin schools on the topic of fitness and making good decisions in life.

Home cooking

Sunday's game will be the first of back-to-back games at Lambeau Field, the first and only time the Packers will play at home in consecutive weeks this season.

After hosting the Panthers, Green Bay will host the Houston Texans next Sunday for the first time in franchise history.

"We've got to win one game," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "This week we've got to win one game to get into a rhythm, and after that we've got to win another one and go from there.

"This is a very important game for us, and an important two-game stretch. We have two home games and we play a very good football team this week."

This is the first time since 2000 that the Packers only had back-to-back home games once during the season.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content