The play-call that shook all of Packerdom. Imagine if we had lost!!
Needless to say, I’ve gone round and round with several different Packer fans regarding Mike McCarthy’s decision to call an empty set shotgun formation on 4th and 1 in the 4th quarter of last weeks game against the Chargers. The argument is that it is a stupid call because it frees the defense of having to worry about the possibility of a running back, doing any number of things – going off tackle, taking a sweep, a short wheel route, swinging out into the flat, ect. (This seemed to be the contention of Greg Bedard at JSOnline earlier in the week, but today it seems he’s changed his mind.)
I have to say, I used to be the WORST play-caller-second-guesser. (Just ask my Packer Transplant co-host…) But over the last two years, I’ve seen the light.
The play-caller spends a huge amount of time looking at the defenses’ tendencies, how they play down and distances, what types of personnel they put of the field in different situations, ect. It’s easy to watch a play not work and question the wisdom of the person who called the play.
Successful football plays have two components. The call and the execution of that call. The call in question on 4th and 1 was sound. The execution was not. Even without the benefit of the coaches tape, one need only look at the broadcast film (available here, forward to the 3:54 mark) to see Donald Lee open at the top of the screen on the slant, and at the bottom of the screen, James Jones WIDE open after Driver rubbed his defender off. Who knows why Favre felt the best bet was a quick throw right into the middle of the defense, but that was the read he made, and he pulled the trigger.
McCarthy was questioned about the call, and he stood up for himself, as he should. He also intimated what the film shows, that Brett had better options that he simply missed.
Just remember the two parts of a successful play before criticizing the play calling.