Let's Talk About Mike McCarthy and Brian Hoyer
When news broke Wednesday afternoon that the Packers had tried to sign former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brian Hoyer, internet reaction quickly adopted one uniform tone: angry disdain for Mike McCarthy.
“But McCarthy said the Packers were fine at quarterback!” they screeched. “What a hypocrite! He said they’d never sign someone outside the building! Clearly this shows something’s amiss in Green Bay.”
This is not only an inaccurate sentiment, it’s wildly unfair to McCarthy, the Packers, and the process of putting together a roster.
Criticizing McCarthy with outdated information
First, McCarthy did say he was satisfied with the Packers’ quarterback room. That is factually correct. However, the timing and context of his remarks needs to be considered.
McCarthy made his remark about the quarterback room on October 17, the Tuesday after Aaron Rodgers was injured in Minnesota. Though Brett Hundley gamely tried to fill in for Rodgers that Sunday, he was ultimately no match for a vicious Vikings defense.
McCarthy opened his Tuesday news conference with an extensive answer praising Hundley’s preparation for such a moment and other likewise supportive remarks. I believe this remark is largely propaganda, as much as McCarthy might have believed it. He simply had to support Hundley because that’s what head coaches do.
However, that statement was support was followed immediately by a question about bringing in a free agent quarterback, a question to which McCarthy rightly and fairly took umbrage. McCarthy gave a snappy answer not because he was irritated with the idea itself, but because of the context of the question. That should be clear to anyone who watched or listen to the full news conference. It’s just simply inaccurate and unfair to take his remark as a blanket rejection of the idea of signing a free agent quarterback at any point.
McCarthy doesn’t speak for the whole organization
To that point, the McCarthy and the Packers’ organization needs to be given some benefit of the doubt here. Even if McCarthy intended his remark to be taken as a full-on, blanket rejection of free agent quarterbacks from October 17 and all dates moving forward, it’s ultimately not up to him. Sure, he has some input on personnel decisions, but it’s not like McCarthy’s opinion given two days after the loss of his all-universe quarterback is the definitive stance of the organization. There is room for disagreement.
Similarly, it’s entirely unfair to not allow McCarthy individually and the Packers organization as a whole to change their minds about their stable of quarterbacks. As I wrote at the time, the Packers can ill afford to embrace bad quarterback play just because they’ve devoted a lot of time to developing a particular player. Is it really so hard to believe that McCarthy, Ted Thompson, or anyone else in the Packers organization may have just changed their mind about Brett Hundley and Joe Callahan? Or is McCarthy bound to something he said two weeks ago just because he said it forcefully?
Allow people to change their minds
If anyone is operating hypocritically in this situation, it’s the people criticizing McCarthy for his remarks based only on the appearance that the Packers actions appear to have contradicted him at a later date. It’s absurd to hold the Packers, a team that rightly or wrongly still believes itself to be in playoff and Super Bowl contention, could change its collective mind about a player acquisition strategy.
People can change their minds. Let’s change our minds to be better than this kind of lazy criticism.