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Mike McCarthy's All-Time Packers Roster

A couple years back I filed one of my first ever posts for CheeseheadTV. It was breaking down Mike McCarthy's ultimate 53-man roster. At the time I looked at it from the perspective of how I would mold a team if I were playing a game and needed to put together a roster to actually win a football game.

You can see my previous list here: https://cheeseheadtv.com/blog/mike-mccarthys-ultimate-roster-259

Now that Mike McCarthy's era is officially over in Green Bay, I wanted to take a look at this one last time and put together, once and for all, Mike McCarthy's absolute best 53-man roster. 

In this scenario I'm not looking to win a football game, rather I'm just trying to put together the 53 best players based on their time playing for Mike McCarthy. Here goes nothing:

OFFENSE: 26

Quarterbacks: Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre

No need to keep more than two—these two Hall of Fame quarterbacks are all any coach could ask for. The big question would be… who’s the starter?

Running Backs: Ryan Grant, Aaron Jones, Ahman Green, Eddie Lacy

This group would provide you everything you want in a stable of running backs. We also have our first change from the previous iteration, adding in Aaron Jones for Ty Montgomery. (Insert your joke about how Aaron Jones would never see the ball anyway... here).

Fullback: John Kuhn

There’s really only one logical choice for the Mike McCarthy era at fullback, and that’s John Kuhhhhhhhhhhhhn.

Wide Receiver: Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, James Jones

This is a beautiful list to look at. Good luck matching up with these group of wide receivers who can attack you at all levels of the field. The leader in receptions during the McCarthy era: Nelson, Yards: Nelson, Yards/Reception: Jennings, Touchdowns: Nelson, Catch %: Cobb, Yards/Target: Nelson.

Tight End: Jermichael Finley, Jared Cook, Donald Lee

Some people may want to name Bubba Franks, but he had one very injury riddled season with McCarthy. You could throw Jimmy Graham in the mix, but his 2018 wasn't very good at all. Donald Lee is one of the more underrated tight ends of the McCarthy era. Lee actually has the second most touchdowns and receiving yardage of any tight end in the Mike McCarthy era. You could probably make a strong argument against Jared Cook too, as he only had 30 catches for 377 yards and 1 touchdown in his lone regular season in Green Bay.

Offensive Tackle: David Bakhtiari, Chad Clifton, Bryan Bulaga, Mark Tauscher

An absolute embarrassment of riches at OT.

Offensive Interior: TJ Lang, Josh Sitton, Corey Linsley, JC Tretter, Scott Wells, Daryn Colledge

The depth at this position wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but we’ve seen a starting lineup of Lang, Sitton and Linsley play very well together. This leaves the roster a bit short-changed with only three true guards but I wouldn’t be too worried since Tretter or Bulaga could move to guard in a pinch.

DEFENSE: 24

Edge Rusher: Clay Matthews, Aaron Kampman, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, Nick Perry, Julius Peppers

It would be nice to have a full cupboard of healthy, talented edge rushers again. It would be pretty tough to argue against anyone in this group. The most sacks by an edge rusher in the McCarthy era that's not on this list is Mike Neal with 19. 

Interior Linemen: Kenny Clark, Mike Daniels, Cullen Jenkins, B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett

I, for one, would absolutely love to watch both Daniels and Jenkins play together in their prime. Both are absolute disrupters on the interior and would consistently be penetrating offensive backfields. This group offers a good blend of pass rush, as well as enough beef to holdup in the run game.

Linebacker: Nick Barnett, Desmond Bishop, AJ Hawk, Blake Martinez

This... isn't great. Before anyone's too upset with AJ Hawk... please note he had 926 tackles in the McCarhty era... the next closest inside linebacker was Nick Barnett with 414.

Cornerback: Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Al Harris, Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde, Jaire Alexander

Green Bay would be able to matchup with any receiving corps in NFL history with this group. With the positional versatility and unique skill sets that these six defensive backs possess, there isn’t a defense, scheme or play that couldn't be called. Imagine the exotic blitzes that Pettine could call with Woodson in the slot.

Safety: Nick Collins, Morgan Burnett, HaHa Clinton-Dix

It's pretty incredible how empty this position has been overall outside of Nick Collins. Yes Burnett and HaHa had some solid play at times, but outside of Collins there wasn't a true game changing safety in McCarthy's entire era. Green Bay can get by with keeping three due to the flexibility of Hyde, Williams, and Woodson.

SPECIAL TEAMS: 3

Kicker: Mason Crosby

Punter: Jon Ryan

Long Snapper: Brett Goode

For fun… here would be the 53 man lineup just based on most starts in the Mike McCarthy era:

Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre,
Running Back: Ryan Grant, Eddie Lacy, Brandon Jackson
Fullback: John Kuhn
Wide Receiver: Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, James Jones
Tight End: Jermichael Finely, Donald Lee, Andrew Quarless
Offensive Tackle: Bryan Bulaga, David Bakhtiari, Chad Clifton, Mark Tauscher
Guard: Josh Sitton, TJ Lang, Daryn Colledge, Lane Taylor, Jason Spitz
Center: Scott Wells, Corey Linsley
Edge: Clay Matthews, Aaron Kampman, Nick Perry, Julius Peppers, Brady Poppinga
Interior Defender: Ryan Pickett, BJ Raji, Mike Daniels, Cullen Jenkins, Johnny Jolly
Linebacker: AJ Hawk, Nick Barnett, Blake Martinez, Brad Jones
Cornerback: Tramon Williams, Charles Woodson, Sam Shields, Al Harris, Micah Hyde, Damarious Randall
Safety: Morgan Burnett, Nick Collins, HaHa Clinton-Dix, Atari Bigby
Kicker: Mason Crosby
Punter: Tim Masthay
Long Snapper: Brett Goode

And finally, the top 10 players with most games played in the Mike McCarthy era:

  1. Mason Crosby
  2. Aaron Rodgers
  3. Brett Goode
  4. AJ Hawk
  5. Clay Matthews
  6. Tramon Williams
  7. John Kuhn
  8. Jarrett Bush
  9. Jordy Nelson
  10. Josh Sitton

Overall the Mike McCarthy era was filled with memorable players, plays, and ultimately a Super Bowl victory. As we look ahead to the Matt LaFleur era, this was a fun look back at some of the greats that played for Mike McCarthy and his staff. I hope you enjoyed this look back as much as I did!

__________________________

Andy Herman is an avid Packers fan and season ticket holder. He has graduated from National Football Post's and Sports Management Worldwide's NFL Scouting courses and is the owner of the Pack-A-Day Podcast. Find him on Twitter @sconniesports.

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Fan friendly comments only: on Comments (21) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Portland Mark's picture

After watching Jon Ryan make AJ Hawk and the rest of the Packer special teams look stupid in the .... well you know which game... I don't ever want to see his name in green and gold again LOL.

MITM's picture

Well he's our alltime leading tackler so. You could do alot worse with a guy at #5 overall than to end up being the alltime tackles leader for one of the oldest NFL franchises - and the only ILB to make a Pro Bowl (SB year, well deserved also) in Green Bay since God knows when. Also what did he miss 1 game in 9 years? Not bad.

PatrickGB's picture

You forgot the rest of the special teams players. Like gunners, punt and kick returners, ST tacklers etc.

Andy Herman's picture

You have Tramon & Cobb as returners and you have more then enough depth everywhere to fill out a special teams' squad. It's not like these starting caliber players couldn't play special teams' they just didn't because they were too valuable to the team or they were playing too many snaps on offense.

CAG123's picture

Whoa! Definitely Atari Bigby over Burnett he was a force to be reckoned with in that secondary and receivers had to think twice before going over the middle with that guy lurking around.

BradHTX's picture

Rubbish list. Doesn’t include Jeff Janis at any position.

Hell, I’d consider it a rubbish list if it didn’t include Janis at EVERY position.

J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

*Janis should also be topping off the depth chart on that WR list. Also, I thought we all agreed that Janis was to switch his position, mid-career, to TE. I'd put Janis at the top of the All Time MM roster at TE just based on hype/ potential alone! And where does Cole Madison fit in all of this?

Lphill's picture

Mike Daniels not even close to Cullen Jenkins, Desmond Bishop and Nick Collins were both on their way to pro bowl careers if not more before injuries, AJ Hawk who played a different position than at Ohio State was one of my all time favorites.

Coldworld's picture

Nick Collins particularly.

Dontworrygopackers's picture

id like to see u say that to mike daniels face

Oppy's picture

Nick Collins developed into a generational type talent at Safety- only Polamalu and Reed were better overall safeties during that time and neither had the insane range that Collins brought to the table. He could cover 2/3 of the field- from sideline to far hash.

Desmond BIshop was a good not great ILB who Packers fans over-valued because we hadn't had a ILB who packed a lot of pop in a long time.

Jonathan Spader's picture

I think Charlie Peprah is an underrated Packer safety in the MM era on your underwhelming safety list.

You mentioned Hyde for versatility is Damarious Randall worth a mention as well?

Coldworld's picture

Perhaps almost as a could have, should have been?

Jonathan Spader's picture

My could of couped have should have list also includes Quinten Rollins & Jonathan Franklin. Not sure if Letroy Guion or Johnny Jolly belong on that list.

J0hn Denver's Gavel's picture

Remember when Capers/ MM forced BJ Raji to play out of position all those years? Then Raji started to dislike playing the sport of football sooo much, he turns down MILLIONS to not play in the NFL, choosing to play the role of wet nurse to his ailing mother instead? Raji's salary that year had the potential to set up generations of his family financially. instead turning it down to sit at his mother's bedside, fetching water for her.

McCarthy truly was a motivator of men.

Dawg0808's picture

Can't really argue much of anywhere with your choices. Names you picked bring back some fabulous memories including McCarthy as well!

Tundraboy's picture

Brad Jones??

Tundraboy's picture

Sorry Brad. Just being honest.

Dontworrygopackers's picture

mike mccarthys greatest accomplishment is winning Super Bowl 45. he will forever be in the packer hall of fame( along side ted thompson and dom capers). u can blame bostick for that loss to seattle but i say mccarthy coaching/julius peppers dropped TD pass was as bad as brandons botch ...

Dontworrygopackers's picture

im glad to see jarrett bush again. i remember getting so pissed at him for doing dumb shit on special teams for so many years and celebrating it. then he turns around and make multiple plays in the biggest game of his life including the last pass break up of big ben!!!

Ryan B Dub's picture

Johnny Jolly was a force to be reckoned with. All those passes defensed were amazing to watch. Tipping the scales. I thought he really got a raw deal, and really needed another chance to bring it home. Green Bay had a hole on the depth chart on defensive line when he was suspended.

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