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Packers Notebook: McCarthy Frustrated with Fourth-Quarter Performance

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Packers Notebook: McCarthy Frustrated with Fourth-Quarter Performance

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was steamed in his post-game press conference on Sunday following his team's 27-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, vaguely referring to "recurring issues" he would address but would not elaborate on the topic.

By Monday, McCarthy had calmed down and shed further light into what made him so peeved in the aftermath of a second consecutive loss at Lambeau Field minus the team's starting quarterback.

"What I'm disappointed in, and it's gone on all year, is our fourth-quarter performance," said McCarthy. "We're not playing our best football when it counts, and I'm obviously frustrated with it. We don't have the drill for it, particularly on Mondays.

"But it's something we've been emphasizing, and to see it happen again yesterday is obviously disappointing and frustrating. We'll continue to look at it, emphasize it, and that's a big part of our job."

The Packers' fourth-quarter defense in particular has been been problematic, especially in the last two games.

With Green Bay down by 14 in the fourth quarter on Sunday, the Eagles regained possession of the football with 9:32 remaining and proceeded to snap the football 16 times on its way to running out the clock.

Just six days prior, with the Packers down by four points in the fourth quarter, the Chicago Bears took possession of the football at their own 11-yard line with 9:48 remaining on the clock.

The Bears drove 80 yards in 18 plays to kick a field goal to go up 27-20 and left just 53 seconds on the clock for the Packers.

But for anyone expecting McCarthy to address the issue by firing defensive coordinator Dom Capers or to send a message by making changes in the team's defensive lineup, it didn't happen.

Perhaps part of the reason the Packers can't make any changes to their defense is they're barely healthy enough to field a team at all, after suffering six more injuries in Week 10.

"We're analyzing everything, but I really don't know how many personnel changes you could even consider right now," said McCarthy, "because we're trying to make sure we have 46 (healthy players) for the game, and that's what my board looks like right now."

In addition to three long touchdown passes allowed by the Packers defense, McCarthy once again made mention of poor fundamental tackling, an issue that has seemed to plague the team since 2011.

"Our issue yesterday, we didn't tackle," said McCarthy. "We do tackling drills every week. It will be heightened again this week."

According to ProFootballFocus.com, the Packers had six missed tackles on Sunday, two of them coming from inside linebacker Brad Jones.

The Offensive Line Shuffle

The Packers are waiting to see how offensive linemen Evan Dietrich-Smith and Don Barclay are faring after each exited Sunday's game with knee injuries.

McCarthy could offer no updates as to their health on Monday, but he knows the offensive line will be stressed, at least in the short-term, without two of their preferred starters.

"They're going to have to move around," said McCarthy. "We're not going to know probably until the end of the week. Obviously the New York Giants defensive line factors into this and how you prepare for them. That's all part of the guessing game and the chess match."

After Dietrich-Smith went down, T.J. Lang shifted to center and performed admirably considering he had never played at center in a game environment in his entire life.

Barclay also shifted over to right guard while Marshall Newhouse filled in at right tackle.

After Barclay went down, undrafted rookie Lane Taylor took over right guard duties as the Packers were down to just five healthy offensive linemen.

The Packers do have one more offensive lineman in reserve, but one that also comes with a whole lot of question marks.

Derek Sherrod is now on the team's 53-man roster, but he was on the inactive list Sunday when the Packers were not yet comfortable in putting him out on the field.

Asked whether Sherrod will be ready to play soon, McCarthy replied, "I don't know. I hope so. He looks good, but let's be honest, practice only takes you so far. He's going to have to step up at some point and be ready to go, and it'll probably be without game-like action."

If Dietrich-Smith is forced to miss any lengthy amount of time, the Packers may have to promote center Garth Gerhart from the practice squad.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (18) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

RC Packer Fan's picture

IF EDS and Barclay can't play. I will say that the Packers won't win. Without the OL playing like they have been, the running game will suffer and they will not allow Tolzien to have enough time to do anything in the passing game.

I believe EDS's injury is what changed the game against the Eagles. Before he got hurt they were running the ball effectively. After that they didn't...

Jake - State Farm's picture

Gee I wonder if its Pickett, Raji and Jolly who are running out of gas in the 4th? Its only because they are overweight to begin with and not atypical defensive linemen and they have to be on the field longer as running backs are going wide, making great yardage, and recievers are wide open keeping drives alive for a long period of time.

This D cannot get off the field again this year.

Tarynfor12's picture

How can they be out of gas when they the Eagle T.O.P. going into the 4th quarter was 14 minutes.Being tired or out of gas isn't an acceptable reason or excuse for that blundering looking the fool play displayed.

Bert's picture

I would suggest getting Wilson into the rotation at DL as he is pretty good against the run. Lattimore would also help provide fresh legs at LB. The OL will be in trouble if EDS is out as the OL depth just isn't very good once people get shifted around. It would be nice if Sherrod played himself into a prominent role as any OL upgrade would help.

jack in jersey city's picture

trouble is that sherrod hasn't played football in 2 years and looked pretty bad before his injury

Evan's picture

"and looked pretty bad before his injury"

Hardly a fair or conclusive assessment.

RC Packer Fan's picture

Especially when you consider he was a rookie and that was the year they had the lockout and they didn't get to practice in the offseason at all... A lot of rookies struggled early on that year..

Evan's picture

And the little time he did have to practice they had him working a lot at guard...but, sure, he sucked.

Ranch Tooth's picture

Every week this season gets worse as far as injuries. It's unprecedented.

McCarthy seems to want to make changes, but the injuries are forcing his hand. It will be VERY interesting to see what this roster looks like when camp opens next year.

RC Packer Fan's picture

The hardest part is how do you evaluate
where your needs are with the injuries? How do you factor in Brian Bulaga who hasn't been healthy the last 2 years. Or Perry who has been hurt the last 2 years.

1 thing we do know already though, is that they are going to need TE and S.

TommyG's picture

Without EDS our running game noticeably suffered. If we don't get him back I'm afraid we are done.

RC Packer Fan's picture

yup

Longshanks's picture

Yeah, that's a critical loss because there's really no true center on the roster anymore. Apparently Van Roten is on IR. Huge loss. Feel bad for Tolzein going into this game away but me thinks he's not going to play with injury excuses in his mind. He's playing to win with whoever is out there.

Longshanks

Bibbon Hazel's picture

They Suck!

C's picture

I'm not sure any combination at offensive line will help on a consistent basis at this point. I was at the game, 6th floor box seat. The Eagles were starting with 8-9 in the box and creaping the safety within 7-10 yards from the line of scrimmage prior to the snap on the strong side of the formation. And the one safety back was literally only 15 yards off the line of scrimmage.

Good news - make it to the 2nd level and there's nothing but daylight.

Bad news - until Tolzein or whatever QB we trot out there stretches the field with completions there will be no daylight.

I'm used to seeing 2 safeties 20-30 yards deep against Rodgers. Never seen anything like the pre-snap 9-10 guys in the box against the Eagles. More of the same coming.

4thand1's picture

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. MM's biggest defect is he can really get pig headed. Took him 2 years to draft a top notch running back, staying with the status quo. They also said the defensive backfield was deep and strong. They are going to prove everyone wrong no matter how long it takes these bums take to get better.

PadLevel's picture

Right on! What we are seeing now is the horrible aftermath of the "Graham Harrell" experiment. Had McCarthy cut his losses sooner and invested in a viable backup, we probably could have survived this stretch. But their ego/arrogance/pride made them blind. I still believe Vince Young would have atleast made some plays with this feet and put us in a position to win. But what do I know? The geniuses - McCarthy and Teddy T got this. We can sit back and relax.

TommyG's picture

I was, and still am, surprised that Vince Young was let go in favor of Wallace. Perhaps MM and TT were more comforatable with an unknown quantity rather than the known(and very bad) one. VY did have a flash in the preseason and I thought that would give him a ticket to the bench for the rest of the season.

In defense of MM and TT, nobody could've figured that both BJ Coleman and Graham Harrell would be total losses. Perhaps we are seeing fall-out from that situation in that they are now moving much faster to make changes and not giving things time to develop.

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