Mike McCarthy

Despite reports to the contrary — that the higher-ups in the Green Bay Packers organization had privately admitted the team was soft — coach Mike McCarthy says the Packers are indeed tough.

Then again, he was asked that question by a reporter, so what is he going to say? We’re weak? We’re soft? No, probably not, but here’s his response anyway.

“I think it’s a load of nonsense because I think the proof is in the pudding. If you watch the tape and the film and you win 12 games a year and you don’t win the Super Bowl, people have to question something. I get that. That was the line that some people took and hey, when you play good football teams week in and week out, you’re always looking for a hole in your opponent. And sometimes when people don’t see too many holes, the easiest and biggest target to go after is a man’s will. His toughness. And that’s the beauty of our game. Your will and your toughness are challenged every day. So to ever label an NFL football team as not being tough? I mean, there are some teams that are tougher than others. Most teams think they’re tougher than everybody else. That’s part of the DNA of our sport. But I’m very, very confident in the toughness of our team. The way we train and the way our guys go after it, I’ve been around long enough that I have a pretty good barometer of how to gauge where your football team is. And I like where we are.”

Great story. Compelling and rich.

Obviously, this lack-of-toughness opinion stems a lot from the playoff loss to San Francisco and, to some degree, the equally-embarrassing debacle against the Giants the year before.

Whether toughness is the problem isn’t really clear. You could, and I would, argue that San Francisco just had more talent. You could argue, and I would, that the Giants’ Tom Coughlin has outcoached McCarthy the last two times they’ve met in the playoffs.

What we do know for sure is the San Francisco game was more about lack of preparation than anything else. In other words, sheer stupidity or as we like to call it — buffoonery.

The Packers didn’t practice for the read-option and, more importantly, they weren’t prepared for Colin Kaepernick to run on passing plays because they were too busy playing man coverage downfield.

So, in essence, McCarthy was outcoached by Jim Harbaugh much like he’s been outcoached by Coughlin in the playoffs.

Maybe instead of questioning the Packers toughness, journalist types should start questioning coaching ability and, specifically, preparation on the big stage. Oh, but then they couldn’t be buddies with their heroes anymore, so that will never happen.

Mike McCarthy
Green Bay Packers