ESPN.com surveyed 30 league insiders in order to rank the NFL’s 32 head coaches, with Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy finishing in the second tier, tied for sixth.
The survey and rankings were done by the sports giant’s Mike Sando and can be seen here (subscription required).
Coaches were graded by each of the 30 respondents on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being the best and 5 the worst. McCarthy scored a 1.77, tied with Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The first tier included three coaches: Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots, Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks and Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints.
On the second tier were Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs, Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants, McCarthy, Tomlin, Jim Harbaugh of the San Francisco 49ers, John Harbaugh of the Baltimore Ravens, John Fox of the Denver Broncos, Jeff Fisher of the St. Louis Rams, Chip Kelly of the Philadelphia Eagles, Bruce Arians of the Arizona Cardinals, Lovie Smith of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals.
McCarthy earned high marks for his offensive prowess and overall leadership, in part because the Packers have won with different emphasis placed on the run and pass through McCarthy’s tenure in Green Bay.
But the Pack’s defensive woes in recent years hurt his rating.
“I like him as a head coach and would love to work for him,” one veteran assistant coach said of McCarthy. “I think Mike is a great offensive coordinator who has done some pretty good things as a head coach, but defensively and on special teams, they have never done well enough up there. There is something missing in the program.”
A former general manager said McCarthy needs to “fix the staff defensively.”
One general manager who put McCarthy in the top tier pointed to his offensive flexibility.
“You look at him as an offensive playcaller and he was grinding the s*** out of the ball when he was in New Orleans and then he changed things up. He developed a passing game in Green Bay and he is just the same guy all the time—strong leader.”
Of the rest of the coaches in the NFC North, Marc Trestman of the Chicago Bears was in the third tier, 22nd overall. Mike Zimmer of the Minnesota Vikings was at the top of the fourth tier at No. 24 and Jim Caldwell of the Detroit Lions was also on the fourth tier at 27th.