Mike McCarthy says he wants to play Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions to win. Earlier this week, McCarthy said “We have full intentions of being 15-1 come Sunday afternoon.”
He should absolutely play to win – with Matt Flynn as his starting quarterback.
There is no reason for McCarthy to put his starting quarterback, and the league’s likely Most Valuable Player, in the lineup against the cheap-shot artists that reside along the Lions’ defensive line. The last time these two teams met, on three separate occasions, Rodgers was hit well after the play was over. Twice it happened directly in front of an official without a flag being thrown.
I have no doubt McCarthy wants to honor the integrity of the game, much the same way Lovie Smith did when playing his starters to try and beat the Packers last year during their Week 17 matchup. But Smith also knows and respects McCarthy’s team and the way they play the game. The same can’t be said about Jim Schwartz’ crew, who have a reputation for playing, to quote Brian Urlacher, “to the echo of the whistle.”
It just makes no sense to put Rodgers on the field against this band of marauding malcontents in a game that can do absolutely nothing to advance the Packers goal of winning another world championship.
Asked earlier this week how he planned on approaching playing time for his starters, McCarthy responded:
I don’t have an answer for you. I need to see how the players come in here tomorrow. It usually takes to Tuesday to put a prognosis on who’s available, who’s at risk and who isn’t. I’m not going to stand here and tell you we want to give away opportunities to win a game. We’re going to play to win the game next week. I’m not real excited about a division opponent coming in here and thinking we’re not going to do everything we can to get to 15-1.
We all saw Matt Flynn direct the Packers to a near-victory last season against the Patriots. McCarthy should give his young quarterback another opportunity to lead the Packers to victory and to get them to 15-1 in the process.