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What a Difference a Week Makes for Mike McCarthy

Just last week, I heaped praise on Mike McCarthy, and the defensive coaches as well, for formulating a great game plan, and showing some creative play-calling, in the defeat of the Cowboys.

That was then, this is now.

Can anyone name me one creative offensive play call, out of 65, against the Minnesota Vikings? Virtually all the sweeps and outside-the-tackle plays from last week disappeared. Screen pass completions — were there any? Long gainers – one play of 20 yards or more, the 26-yarder to Jordy Nelson. Trick or gadget plays — zero. Quarterback rollouts (as opposed to flush-outs)? Did Big Mike call one play that might have surprised or confused the Vikings’ defense? I can’t think of any.

I can hardly count the number of 2-yard, 1-yard, no-gain, and lost yardage plays the Packers had – which constantly put them in third down and medium or long distances to go. Wait, I can too – there were 22 of them: two plays for two yards, seven for one yard, five for no gain (not counting incompletions), and eight plays for losses of one to seven yards. Ridiculous.

I don’t know that not losing Aaron Rodgers would have changed the outcome any. The two “drives” that Rodgers took part in were: three plays and punt and six plays and punt. Then Brett Hundley came in: three plays and an interception, then three plays and punt. The Packers were flatter than pancakes from the outset.

McCarthy did nothing to try to give the team a lift. If it weren’t for the momentum-changing fumble caused by Kenny Clark, and returned 63 yards by Clay Matthews early in the second quarter, this game could have been a serious rout.

Did Packers Concede?

Long-time Packers fans saw Brett Favre throw a lot of interceptions in losing efforts. But I can’t remember Favre ever giving up on a game. I watched the Packers do that on Sunday. Sure, they were hurting and they were short-handed, but they got to being down by two scores, 23-10, with 10:47 still left to play. Three uninspiring plays and a punt. But the defense held and Minnesota also punted after three downs.

The Packers have the ball at their own 34 with 7:22 remaining. Nine offensive plays followed, including five incompletions, mostly very short throws, and a sack. The only gains were for 11, six, and four yards. Turnover on downs.

But the defense came through again – I had forgotten how hard they played to the end – with the Vikings again going three plays and a punt. The Packers take over with 3:20 left on their own 4-yard line. Time is of the essence, right?

With 96 yards to go, Big Mike has Aaron Jones run up the middle twice in a row. This was followed almost exclusively by short throws, and mostly incompletions, en route to a 15-play drive that ended with Hundley throwing an interception from the Minnesota 12 with 21 seconds left.

While 15 plays is somewhat impressive, this is how prevent defenses work – you are allowed to move the ball, but time runs out on you. The play-by-play account lists 10 of those plays as being “short” passes, and only two “deep” balls — an incompletion and a 19-yarder to Davante Adams. The way I view it, with this play selection the Packers conceded the win to the Vikings.

You never saw that happen when Brett was on the field, and I doubt that you saw it in the entire Holmgren era either. I’ll grant you that the new Brett – Hundley – bears some responsibility, but in such a critical game with a division rival, I call it chicken-shit loser-mentality coaching.

Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.



  1. Empacador October 17, 2017

    This is why it pays to know your target when heaping praise. Randall has an interception in each of the last 2 games, still is a shitty DB. McCarthy seemed to call plays that worked against Dallas which is the exception rather than the rule, but as of the Viking game he reverted back to form. He is still and always will be McCarthy. For McCarthy, when someone has a big game, it is almost as if the person having the big game is an aberration, and McCarthy simply goes back to the status quo the next game. It seems with him, the “system” allows the player to find success, rather than tailor his system to player skills or abilities.

    I don’t wish injuries on anyone, I really don’t. But sometimes you hope maybe a player would go down so McCarthy is forced to change his approach. Hate that Rollins got put on IR, rather see him get benched or released and be done with the failed expirement. But at least that will prevent them from trotting his carcass out there and being a huge liability on an already suspect defense.

    And that is McCarthy in a nutshell. Unless someone or something forces his hand, he will continue to do what he does with regard to his staff, his players and his play calling. Which is defy all sane logic or understanding.

  2. Gort October 17, 2017

    Not just McCarthy. Thompson selects the personnel and Murphy allows those guys to remain in their jobs.

    Like I said before, there is plenty of blame to go around.

  3. Gort October 17, 2017

    Back to Rob’s post, even before Rodgers got hurt, the offense was flat like lefse. Not the first time we have seen that in a McCarthy team.

    Lots of folks are starting to notice that Rodgers superb play hides numerous other deficiencies.

  4. MMTTDCSUCK October 17, 2017

    The whole Packers brain trust needs to go period. When that ginger gap-toothed fuck realizes that “REVENUE” is dwindling . . . something may happen. Until then? Status Quo. This is where the rubber meets the road. When all of the Pundits actually start talking the truth as they are FINALLY doing now after Rodgers injury. While Rodgers was still playing they held their tongues because of Rodgers abilities. Now, as has been stated numerous times this team SUCKS. Shit will start hitting the fan. I know the pundits for the most part are cheerleaders and rabble rousers who basically keep their mouths shut so that each teams revenue continues it’s flow. But when catastrophic events occur on teams, it seems to sharpen their pen’s and their tongue’s. Knowing full well that they now have a free run on the truth for that team for a while. I am trusting that the “pundits” keep up the pressure and perhaps crank it up even more on these charlatans in Green Bay . . .

  5. TyKo Steamboat October 17, 2017

    Don’t let this distract you from the fact that Fat Mike is one of the best coaches in the NFL

    1. Empacador October 19, 2017

      Aside from having two HoF QBs to work with, exactly HOW is he one of the best coaches in the NFL again? What is his record as an offensive coordinator, and when he doesn’t have Favre/Rodgers? I know marijuana is legal in Colorado but seriously, put down the bong before you post.

  6. Cheese October 18, 2017

    “Time is of the essence, right? With 96 yards to go, Big Mike has Aaron Jones run up the middle twice in a row.”

    THIS. RIGHT. HERE. Put the dagger in your opponent so you can guarantee a trip to the Super Bowl? Use your league MVP quarterback to get a single first down? Nah, lets run it right up the middle into a congested line THREE TIMES IN A ROW with Mr.Chinafood and punt the ball away. Brilliant playcaller!