Report: Panthers interviewed former Packers coach Mike McCarthy for head coaching vacancy

Jason Owens

The Carolina Panthers interviewed former Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy for their head coaching vacancy, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.

The interview took place after Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts, according to the report.

McCarthy was the head coach in Green Bay from 2006-18 before the Packers fired him after Week 13 last season. Carolina recently fired longtime head coach Ron Rivera in similar fashion, parting ways with the veteran coach before the end of the season.

McCarthy’s legacy in Green Bay

McCarthy compiled a 125-77-2 record in Green Bay and coached the Packers to a Super Bowl title after the 2010 season. He started in Green Bay two seasons before Aaron Rodgers took over the starting quarterback job and came under fire for not accomplishing more with one of the game’s all-time greats under center.

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His conservative play-calling in the 2015 NFC championship game loss to the Seattle Seahawks is viewed by many as a primary reason the Packers didn’t play for another Super Bowl title that year. Reported clashes with Rodgers over the Packers offense ultimately played a role in his departure from Green Bay.

The Panthers reportedly interviewed Mike McCarthy on Sunday. (Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
The Panthers reportedly interviewed Mike McCarthy on Sunday. (Amy Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Big changes for Panthers

The Panthers are in the midst of a dramatic transition period under second-year owner David Tepper as he shapes the franchise based on his vision.

Rivera coached the Panthers from 2011 through Week 12 of this season, a tenure that included four playoff appearances, a Super Bowl appearance and two Coach of the Year awards. With the Panthers en route to a second straight season missing the playoffs, Tepper decided it was time for a change.

Cam Newton question lingers

The quarterback position will mark the next big decision in Charlotte with franchise cornerstone Cam Newton’s future in doubt. Newton is approaching the final year of a five-year contract, and the Panthers could save significant salary-cap space if they release him before next season.

Newton, 30, has won an MVP and been to the Pro Bowl three times as a member of the Panthers. Injuries after years of taking hits as a runner have taken a toll on his availability and performance.

Newton struggled as a passer much of last season before a shoulder injury eventually cut his season short. A foot injury cost him all but the first two games of this season.

Whomever the Panthers hire as head coach will have to be on the same page as Tepper regarding Newton’s future with the team.

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