Who Will Take Mike McCarthy's Place?

Who Will Take Mike McCarthy's Place?

After 13 seasons, the Packers are in the market for a new head coach.


When the Packers fell to the Cardinals 20-17 on December 2nd, I, along with most of Packer Nation, was aghast.

These weren't the Cardinals of Bruce Arians' heyday, or even of the storied Kurt Warner era. No, these Cardinals were led by a rookie quarterback who had thrown more interceptions than touchdowns and had a completion percentage of 54%. Their head coach was equally a rookie, and had prior to arriving in Green Bay, two wins to his name.

He left Titletown with his third.

In my mind, that was the straw that broke the camel's back.

Green Bay had seen a great deal of adversity throughout the 2018 season, and some heartbreakingly close defeats. It's not unfair to ask if the Packers could have a virtually reversed record, something like 8-4, if a few more penalties and turnovers broke their way. After all, even before dropping against the Cardinals, the Packers had lost to or tied the Seahawks, Rams, and Vikings, all playoff contenders, by a combined 5 points.

But losing to an Arizona team that has nothing to play for but draft position and its own pride seemed too much to me, and apparently too much to CEO Mark Murphy too.

Within hours, Head Coach Mike McCarthy was out of a job.

And while many rejoiced, I think they fail to see that the situation is much larger than just one man.

Was McCarthy's play calling stale and his tolerance of complacency backbreaking? Yes. But he was also a good coach, finishing with an overall winning record of 0.618. That's fourth best in a franchise history that spans 100 years. And while winning percentage isn't a perfect statistic, you'd be hard-pressed to totally discount it, especially factoring in the adversity the Packers faced from other quarters.

Just as former Packers safety Damarious Randall said: "They traded away all their good players." Certainly, that argument is there to be made, and it's one that I have made. Under General Manager Ted Thompson the Packers were lax to resign guys in the secondary that had a proven track record, such as Casey Hayward or Micah Hyde. That theory of dispensability has continued to some degree under Thompson's successor, Brian Gutekunst, with the Packers trading both Randall and Pro Bowler Ha Ha Clinton-Dix this season.

What's more, schematically there were things that weren't directly McCarthy's fault, namely in the retention of defensive coordinator Dom Capers far past his prime, but ultimately came down on his head as the leader of the organization. The ironic thing is that the Packers have actually improved defensively this year under new coordinator Mike Pettine, despite the sour win-loss record. They currently rank 12th defensively overall.

All of this to say, now that Mike McCarthy is gone, and Joe Philbin is (temporarily) leading the Packers offense, things won't necessarily be all sunshine and roses. Football is a team sport and just as getting rid of Thompson wasn't going to be a silver bullet, neither will be this move with McCarthy.

Someone has to fill his shoes. Someone has to take up the mantle, and what will be most important is hiring someone who can work creatively with Aaron Rodgers and Co. to put up the points that have been sorely lacking. After all, an offense that features such talent as Rodgers, Davantae Adams, and Aaron Jones, not to mention standout tackles like David Bakhiatri and Bryan Bulaga should regularly be putting up 30 points per game, not struggling to eke out 17.

Even more to that point, the defense needs to continue to come together. Mike Pettine has the Packers' young secondary working well, but given the amount of draft capital that's been invested into that area of the team in recent years, they need to be playing at top-notch quality. It's going to take a special kind of head coach to get them there.

I don't know exactly who will be McCarthy's successor. I'm doubtful Philbin will retain the role, given his mediocre experience at the helm of the Miami Dolphins and given that he's already been tenured in Green Bay for so long. Many have spread whispers that Josh McDaniels would leave his cushy gig in New England for the Packers, though given his past failures leading the Denver Broncos and his spurning of the Indianapolis Colts not 10 months ago, I'm somewhat doubtful that he's the right choice either.

The closing of McCarthy's chapter in Green Bay, storied and classy as it was, means a whole lot of uncertainty in the months ahead. The Packers had never fired a coach midseason before. Let's hope that Murphy's doing so is an indicator that the franchise is ready to make serious, quantitative change, not backslide into a bygone time.

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A Letter To My Dancers

Everything your dance teacher wants you to know.

When anyone (especially a child) chooses to invest their time, talent, and passion into dancing, it's nothing to take lightly. These kids spend more time with me at the studio than they do at home with their parents. Before long, they're my "kids," too. When I only have an hour to lead a warm-up, teach choreography, and rehearse a number, there isn't much time to express the thoughts and feelings I'd necessarily like to. Being a dance teacher is the most spectacular and rewarding job - and I want my students to know that. Between the great rehearsals and the frustrating ones, the competitions and recitals, and the endless hours we spend together each week, there are just a few reminders I need to share with them.

Dear Dancers,

Please love yourself and love what you do with every ounce of your being. Do it with so much passion that your heart wants to burst. Dance is the most special thing; it's something we are privileged and lucky to have, so don't take it for granted.

Please believe in yourself. You are worthy. You are talented. You are strong and capable of everything you set your mind to. Strive to be the best version of yourself every day, not the reflection of the girl next to you. Dance like you. Move like you. Experiment and find what makes you, you. Be an individual. Trust me when I say I don't want 20 carbon-copied robots. I want you.

Trust that I have your best interest in mind. Sometimes my choices and decisions won't make sense, you might be confused, hurt or frustrated, but keep the faith that I'm on your side. I don't want to see you fail, and I'll do everything in my power to help you find the success you're looking for.

I want you to succeed, but for me to do that, you need to tell me what you need. Do you need the counts again? Do you need me to review the transition to floor one more time? If you understand, tell me. If you don't, tell me that, too. Be vocal, be present, be smart, and be prepared. Practice on the sides. Pay attention to the small details. Ask questions. Don't be late, and definitely don't forget your choreography. Take responsibility for your responsibilities and lead by example. Do you have any remote idea how many children look up to you? Who want to be just like you someday? Dance just like you? Kids watch, listen, and copy. Make sure the behaviors you're teaching them are behaviors you're proud of.

Make memories with your dance family while you still can. Cherish every 9 a.m. Saturday morning rehearsal, every competition you attend, every fundraising event, and every team sleepover. It'll be gone so fast. You're going to miss these days. Please, enjoy them.

Don't compare yourself to other dancers. You are you, and nobody can do "you" better than yourself. Don't wish away your abilities by secretly wishing you had Suzie's feet, Betsy's port de bras, or Charlie's center. The only thing you need to worry about is being a better version of yourself than you were the day before. You are your only competition, so don't be too hard on yourself. Be kind to your mind and body. You work day in and day out to perfect your craft and artistry. You work to mold and create yourself. You'll be rewarded with time if you keep fighting and don't give up. Usually when you want to throw in the towel, it's after you don't get the part you wanted or you don't make the team you hoped to. What you need to understand is the answer isn't "No," the answer is "Not yet." You know you're trying and working hard, and those efforts don't go unnoticed -- even if it seems they are.

Please, remember that it's not going to always be fair. You're going to be let down, and you're going to feel disappointed from time to time. You're not always going to win the trophy. You're not always going to get the featured solo part, and not everyone can be the front row and center dancer. This doesn't mean you're "bad" and this doesn't mean you're not "meant" to dance either.

Quite frankly, it's just how it works, you guys. It doesn't mean I don't like you, and it doesn't mean the dancer who does have the solo is my favorite. The dancer just might be more talented. Yeah, I said it. They might have better lines, straighter knees, or stronger stage presence, and that is entirely okay. You're going to run into this for the rest of your adult life. Someone is going to be smarter, more qualified, more desirable for a particular job or position. So instead of despising and resenting these dancers (and especially me), try to learn from them instead. You'll learn more from each other than you could imagine. But if you take away one thing from this, know that you are still worthy of my best training, my best analogies, my best choreography -- whether you are featured, in the third row, or even off-stage for the turn section.

As your teacher, it's my job to teach. Learning (and learning correctly) requires close attention to detail, incredible focus, and a plethora of corrections on my part. Yes, I will go out of my way to critique you, and I will continually tell you what needs fixing until it's fixed. I might have to tell you over and over and over again. And you know, I might even get frustrated with you once in awhile because of it, but here's what you need to understand: This doesn't make me mean or a bad teacher. This doesn't mean I hate you. What it does mean is that I see potential in you and I want to help. I just have to ask, do you see what I see in you? Do you see the talent and abilities I see?

Corrections are good. Success is an incredibly long and never ending process that takes time, but the corrections I give you are helping you get one step closer. So next time you catch yourself getting upset about receiving the same critique week after week or you want to complain about how mean I am, please remember that my intent is not malicious. I'm doing my job.

It's also my job to instill perseverance, dedication, discipline, trust, humility, confidence, creativity, bravery, and strong work ethic into you. I want to push your limits. Test you. Challenge you. I want to mold you into the person you want to be. Even though you probably don't even know who that person is, I do.

There are so many possibilities, opportunities, and challenges that are out there once you enter the world of adulthood. The dance world is so much bigger than your studio, competition routines, and conventions. At the end of the day, no one remembers or cares (especially your future employers) if you won a quadruple diamond platinum plus on your lyrical solo in 2016. They don't care about your first place overall at Showbiz. They don't care if you're Teen Miss Winner of the World. They don't care. What people do care about is your character, your heart, and how you made them feel.

Dancers, I will always support you. Whether you want to pursue a professional dance career in Los Angeles or New York City, in a company overseas, on your college dance team, I will support you. Whether you want to teach dance or choreograph locally in town, I will support you. Whether you don't want to dance at all and maybe be an engineer or a cosmetologist, I will support you. I will always fuel your dreams, goals, and desires, no matter where they'll take you.

I love you and I'm proud of you.


Your Dance Teacher

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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8 Old Katelyn Tarver Songs You Probably Haven't Heard

None of her new songs will ever go as hard as "Chasing Echoes" and that's a fact.


Years ago, I found (through iTunes recommendations) a pretty cool female artist. Later found out she was on "Big Time Rush", and then I found out she had some new songs out. I decided to give her new songs a listen, and they're good. However, I prefer some of her older stuff, which sadly isn't on Spotify. Fortunately, YouTube exists, and I'm here to share the best ones.

1. "Wonderful Crazy"

This is just a fun, upbeat song for when you're having a good day. Would recommend playing in your car with the windows rolled down.

2. "Rain"

I have a very specific memory of a time when this song blessed my life, but for all intents and purposes, it is a beautiful and happy song.

3. "I'll Make It Real"

This is a beautiful song with a wonderful message about staying true to yourself. I used to listen to it on the way to school every day my senior year of high school.

4. "Something In Me"

Featured in the greatest show of all time, "South of Nowhere" season 1 episode 6. A very relatable breakup mood.

5. "Love Alone"

This is definitely the second-hardest-hitting song she's ever released. The fact that this is not on Spotify or even iTunes anymore is just not fair.

6. "Favorite Girl"

This one's cute and upbeat, a definite crush mood. Not on the same level as "Love Alone", but it's still underrated.

7. "Closer to My Heart"

Another cute love song. I'll tie it with "Everything" for cutest love song on her first album. Highly recommend both.

8. "Chasing Echoes"

Facts are facts and the facts are that Katelyn Tarver's new stuff could never go as hard as "Chasing Echoes". I can't even begin to explain how deeply these lyrics cut through me when I was fifteen. Even now, this song can take me all the way back. She is robbing us by not making this available on streaming services (or even to purchase). Katelyn, bring this song back, I am begging you.

Anyway, I'm still enjoying the new stuff and am excited to see what's next.

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