What’s With Mike McCarthy And Clock Management?

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Mike McCarthy

Duuuuuuuuuh?

Although Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy gave his usual there’s-nothing-to-see-here, I’m-right-and-you’re-wrong explanation, that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be questioned for the way he handled the end of the Packers loss to the New England Patriots.

As you probably know, with more than 20 seconds left and no time outs, the Packers faced a fourth-and-1, down by four. Quarterback Matt Flynn managed to get one play off, got sacked and the game was over. The Packers only got three plays off in the final 53 seconds.

The final play took so long because Flynn was calling it as the clock ticked down. In other words, the Packers weren’t prepared and it’s their coach’s job to make sure that doesn’t happen.

You’d think when the Packers took their final time out, they would have called several plays, knowing the clock was likely to keep moving from that time forward. So why didn’t that happen?

After the game, McCarthy suggested he was happy with the way the end of the game played out.

“It was either first down or fourth down,” McCarthy said. “The clock was running. There were 20, 21 seconds let. You have to see at that point if it’s a first down. It wasn’t clear right away. So on fourth and 1, you take a shot. Matt operated it properly.”

Flynn operated it properly only because the team wasn’t prepared for the scenario that played out. The Packers should have had a play called so they could have lined up and had time for one or two more plays if they picked up the first down.

Instead, it took the offense 18 seconds to even get set, which I would say is borderline unacceptable, at best.

PFT’s Gregg Rosenthal had the same take.

The Packers should have had a plan for what they would do if they were short of a first down in that scenario. They could have dove for a first down, clocked it, and huddled before the final play. They could have thrown to the sideline and taken a couple cracks at a score.

It’s no secret McCarthy has issues with clock management. You need look no further than the end of the Packers loss to the Chicago Bears, earlier this year.

What makes the situation more frustrating is McCarthy’s defiant attitude about it. Frankly, if you think the way the end of the game played out was acceptable, you’re a fucking idiot.

So, either McCarthy is dumb or he thinks we are. Otherwise, he wouldn’t keep trying to serve up these steaming I-know-it-all pile-of-crap statements.

Mike, overall, you coached a great game, but face it already. You have issues.

Correct them.

About The Author

Monty McMahon is one of the founders of Total Packers. He is probably the most famous graduate of UW-Oshkosh next to Jim Gantner.

10 Comments on "What’s With Mike McCarthy And Clock Management?"

  1. Shawn iltarion

    We called TO on 2nd and 18. Are people seriously suggesting we should have called 3 plays in advance? Sorry, no team in the NFL calls 3 plays in advance. Or are we suggesting MM should have foreseen we would end up with 4th and 1 with the clock running out?

    If we take Greg Rosenthal’s suggestion and dive for the 1st down, granted we make the 1st down, by time we line up again and get the ball spiked, there is going to be less than 10 seconds left on the clock, and we would have been stuck running the same damn play that we ran the last play of the game. Huddling would have helped? How?

    If we take the other suggestion and do a quick out, well, the defense is going to be looking for this exact play. If we don’t complete it, its game over. If we complete it but don’t get out of bounds, probably game over. That’s a risky play. I say you just take a shot at the endzone right there from the 15, which is what we did.

    Regardless, since when we finally did go to the endzone Flynn was sacked, the clock would have ran out whether we had ran another play and stopped the clock or not.

    The bottom line is that we couldn’t afford the sack on 1st and 10 immediately after calling our 2nd TO, and on 3rd down, with the clock running, Donald Driver had to get out of bounds or he had to pick up the 1st down. Since he did neither, we were pretty much stuck with taking one shot at the endzone.

    It is easy to find things to complain about from the comfort of your couch. Sorry there actually is some chaos during the game, and it isn’t a 100% lock step perfectly orchestrated exercise. Its football and shit happens. Check the stats and you’ll find that teams that trail by 4 or more points within the last two minutes lose around 90% of the time. Even if you have Tom Brady or Peyton Manning as your QB, it is an unlikely task to drive for a winning TD on your last drive. In other words, it was plays prior to the final drive that made the difference.

    The Packers won’t lose to the Bears, especially if the Bears win tonight and seal the division.

    • jeremy

      “It is easy to find things to complain about from the comfort of your couch.”

      That’s very true and something I say a lot. However, not getting a play off at that time is inexcusable for even a college team.

  2. lebowski

    A good take iltarion, but you can’t say huddling wouldn’t have helped. Getting set to run that final play would have made a world of difference… as it was, it looked like the offensive line was in chaos. Which, granted, is par for the course, but still…

  3. Gary

    MM has always had issues with time management. For example, the end of the first half of this game he should have taken a timeout when the Patriots had a 3rd and goal from the two with 1:48 left on the clock. They score a TD we got time to move the ball down the field, if they hold them to FG thats a moral victory after that debacle on the kickoff. They still have the lead and get the ball back at half time. As Charles Barkley would say “thats terrible”

  4. Shawn iltarion

    MM NEVER calls TO at the end of the 1st half. So, this was nothing new and shouldn’t have surprised anyone. By the way, though I don’t agree with the philosophy, most coaches in the NFL don’t call TOs before the half. In fact, since the Packers had the lead at the time, # of coaches that call TO to reserve time at the end of a half WITH THE LEAD, probably zero.

  5. big t

    I don’t have a problem with the last timeout as much as i do the 2nd. I don’t hear anyone talking about it either and its driving me crazy. We had just got a 1st down with 1:05 left in the game and the clock running and mm calls a timeout. No reason to call a fucking timeout there, we can run the clock all the way down to 30 secs and then if you have to burn one then go for it. Then you can take a couple shots to the endzone and if you complete a pass a little short then you still have your last timeout. Mike always panics it seems like, immediately after our 2nd timeout we get sacked to make it 2nd and 14 and we have to burn our last one, no excuses for that. 3 plays in 53 seconds is some of the worst coaching football ive seen this year. I will say that mm coached a great game other then that last drive in my opinion. But all that mean jack shit now.

  6. What was wrong with MM’s explanation? They didn’t know if they should run up and spike the ball or if they had to run a play. Simple as that… Perhaps Rodgers would have made his best judgement about the spot and called something nice and quick, but there’s no way MM can call a play from the sidelines without knowing the situation….

  7. Bert

    I think the only thing you can blame MM for is not calling two plays during their second timeout. Had he done so, the packers would not have had to burn their third timeout following the sack. Calling timeouts on two consecutive plays is just really poor planning.

  8. Shawn iltarion

    If you don’t call TO after the sack, then another 15 seconds goes off the clock. The refs have to mark the new spot, the offensive lineman have to line up at the new line of scrimmage and the WRs have to come back from being downfield and get lined up. Then, after running at least 15 more seconds off the clock, if you throw incomplete on 2nd and 18, the clock is stopped, but now you have 3rd and 18, two plays to get 18 yards or game over. Or worse, you could throw short, pick up 4 yards and not get out of bounds, then have 3rd and 14 with the clock still running, in which case, you’d have almost no choice but to use your TO anyway, except more time would have ran off the clock than if you would have called TO in the first place.

    I can agree the first TO at 1:05 is the one that you could question. We should have kept going or spiked the ball and stopped the clock. If we couldn’t get 10 yards in 3 downs, then we were going to run out of time anyway.

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