Packers Head Coach Candidate: Pete Carmichael


Pete Carmichael has been an offensive coordinator with the New Orleans Saints since 2009, making him the NFL’s longest tenured offensive coordinator.

“I trust him about as much as anyone,” Saints head coach Sean Payton said in September.

Few outside of New Orleans fans would likely recognize the coordinator if he walked past them in an airport. Fellow Saints coaches wax poetically about how important he is to the success of the offense, but Carmichael doesn’t seek the spotlight and seems comfortable as an offensive coordinator.

Would the challenge of leading a storied franchise like the Packers and working with quarterback Aaron Rodgers be enough to lure Carmichael away from a comfortable situation?

The details on Pete Carmichael

Most recent job: Offensive Coordinator, New Orleans Saints (2009-present)
Record as a head coach: 0-0
First job: Assistant Offensive Line Coach, New Hampshire (1994)
Packers connection: Offensive assistant for 2000 Cleveland Browns team that included former Packers Doug Pederson and Keith McKenzie. Former Packers defensive line coach Mike Trgovac and Carmichael coached together in Washington in 2001.

The background on Pete Carmichael

Carmichael was one of the first hires on Sean Payton’s staff, joining New Orleans in 2006 as the quarterbacks coach on the recommendation of Tony Sparano and under offensive coordinator Doug Marrone.

When Sparano was hired as the Dolphins’ head coach in 2008, he made a strong push to hire Carmichael – still the quarterbacks coach in New Orleans – as his offensive coordinator. Carmichael chose to stay with the Saints, and was promoted to offensive coordinator the following season when Marrone left for Syracuse.

Since 2009, Carmichael has remained the steady offensive coordinator between the play caller Payton and Brees. Much like Joe Philbin’s role in the Packers offense, Carmichael is the Saints’ gatekeeper of scheme, terminology and tactics on offense under Payton.

“He’s the one who primarily guides the offense in understanding what’s going on each week for each opponent,” tight end Ben Watson said of Carmichael this summer. “If there’s something that needs to be changed, he’ll come down to the tight end room and say, ‘We’re going to run this play this way.’ He’s the OC, and I would agree a lot of people don’t know him.”

The Packers opportunity wouldn’t be the first head coaching job Carmichael has shown interest in. He has interviewed with a few teams to be a head coach – most notably the Bears in 2013 (a search that concluded in the hiring of Marc Trestman).

Pete Carmichael’s biggest moment

Two strong personalities like Sean Payton and Drew Brees can’t coexist for as long as they have without an intermediary. Perhaps that’s why McCarthy and Rodgers didn’t last longer. For what it’s worth, Carmichael appears to be that intermediary in New Orleans.

If you’ve angered Carmichael, you’re much more likely to hear a quiet, “I’m disappointed in you,” rather than a fiery explosion on the sideline.

“When you get Pete upset, you know you really did something wrong,” running back Mark Ingram recalled. “He’ll pull a ‘Dang!’”

It’s that quiet strength that’s helped keep the ship sailing in New Orleans and has helped put the Saints back in contention after a few down years.

In Pete Carmichael’s own words

For being the NFL’s longest-tenured offensive coordinator, Carmichael is a man of few words. His quarterback can fill in the gaps.

“A lot of people don’t know this, but I’ve been with Pete Carmichael now for 17 years,” Brees said to The Athletic in September 2018. “He is by far the longest tenured coach that I’ve had a chance to be with for that length of time. Starting as really an offensive assistant to becoming the quarterback coach to then the offensive coordinator. He’s been in a position where on many occasions he’s had to call the plays for us. He’s always done a phenomenal job.

“There’s no guy that works harder on the job on a daily basis than Pete Carmichael and on a weekly basis. I just have so much trust and confidence in him. Really, he’s a comforting face for me to see every time I walk into that building and just the relationship we’ve been able to build over the last 17 years is pretty amazing when you look at it.”

What are the chances Pete Carmichael is the next Packers head coach?

Jon’s Rating: 2/5

Your estimation of Carmichael probably depends on how much you view his success as being part of the Saints’ overall success or because of the Saints’ overall success.

That’s the rub with hiring any non-head coach from a successful organization. How do you know you’re whether you’re getting the sizzle or the steak?

The Eagles and Bears poached Andy Reid’s proteges and have had success. The Dolphins took Joe Philbin from the Packers and crashed and burned.

Carmichael certainly has the resume of a successful coach, but how do the Packers know if he’s really the main source of that success?

They really can’t, even with an interview. Carmichael could show a lot of things by speaking with the Packers. He could demonstrate his success as a culture builder or his philosophy as a coach but demonstrating his results would be hard. To me, that alone makes him a difficult candidate to recommend.

Gary’s Rating: 0/5

Perhaps I’m looking for something that isn’t there, but the similarities between Carmichael and Packers interim head coach Joe Philbin seem to jump out. Both were understudies of successful head coaches who were offensive wizards and called their own plays. Both draw seemingly unending praise and respect from their players.

Both feel like their ceiling as a coach is as an offensive coordinator.

I believe both Philbin and Carmichael are both fine men. Their track record as a successful coach is in the 99th percentile of football coaches across America. If the average fan had either in their living room on a Sunday afternoon, they’d go to bed a much smarter fan than they woke up.

If the Packers are interested in a coach like Carmichael, they already have their own version in Philbin who understands the organization’s culture. Carmichael may be interviewed, but he’s not a strong candidate in my estimation.