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Point of Veau: McCarthy Should Take Same Tone with Players as Media

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Point of Veau: McCarthy Should Take Same Tone with Players as Media

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy grabbed headlines yesterday in Green Bay when he raised his voice and expressed frustration after being asked about veteran wide receiver Donald Driver's decreased playing time in recent weeks.

McCarthy went so far as calling the continuing questions about playing time amongst his deep wide receiving corps "a bunch of garbage."

"Every week to come in here and a guy scores three touchdowns one week and he doesn’t have any the next week, and that’s an issue?" said McCarthy. "I mean, what are we doing here? Those are good, positive things about your team. And I’m not going to continue to sit here and answer this thing every week. Like I said, I think it’s a bunch of garbage."

The head coach said he's not going to apologize for having too many guys to throw the ball to, and he's absolutely right, he doesn't have to––nor should he––apologize.

But his players aren't doing him any favors by complaining about the playing they receive or not getting the ball. McCarthy should take the same strong tone of voice with his players, because when they're airing their grievances, those are fair questions that he receives.

So is a question about Driver, a 13-year veteran and four-time Pro Bowl selection with seven 1,000-yard seasons to his name that's receiving some of the littlest playing time he's had in his illustrious career.

For his part, McCarthy said he addresses his issue with the team.

"That’s the opening speech, yeah," said McCarthy.

But his message is apparently not getting through to them. The last complaint came just over a week ago when tight end Jermichael Finley said the team has to go back and create ways for him to get the ball.

Wide receiver James Jones, following the Week 1 victory over the New Orleans Saints, said he "deserved" to be on the field more than he was.

By contrast, it is noted that Driver has not publicly complained and said he's fine with his playing time.

The problem, in my opinion, is partially due to semantics.

Finley used the term "have to" while Jones used the word "deserved" to voice his displeasure.

What the team "has to" do and which players "deserve" playing time are decisions reserved for the coaching staff, not the players. As the saying goes, the inmates should not run the asylum.

Perhaps this could be the first high-profile challenge for newly hired director of public relations director Jason Wahlers, teaching players the proper language and semantics to use with the media without stepping over the line. Saying they want and would enjoy more playing time is okay, calling for it is not.

Even though the Packers are a perfect 5–0, that doesn't mean the organization isn't without challenges they must meet on a daily basis. Dealing with success, although perhaps not as difficult as dealing with failure, is a challenge nonetheless.

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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.

PackersRS's picture

Well, without knowing WHEN McCarthy adressed this to the team, we can't say it isn't working.

If you look at the lockerroom videos after the Falcons game, the media asked Jennings, Driver and Jones, and they all had the same message, that they understood what the offense was all about.

http://www.packers.com/media-center/videos/Jones-just-wants-to-help-team...

http://www.packers.com/media-center/videos/Driver-cant-worry-about-catch...

http://www.packers.com/media-center/videos/Jennings-Al-Harris-is-driven/...

Of course, they didn't say they were happy, nobody will be happy, but it's like you said Brian, they at least changed the semantics. It's night and day to what Jones and Finley said.

Honestly, IMHO the issue is more media driven than anything else. Do they have basis for creating these stories? Of course.

But there wouldn't be any issues if the media didn't bring the questions themselves.

packeraaron's picture

"the issue is more media driven than anything else"

Yep.

James Rarick's picture

I agree it is media driven. With so many things to talk about, why focus on that?

wgbeethree's picture

Sure seems like the beat writers love to focus on the negative and rile up the fans. It's completely the media "making" a story as opposed to reporting them.

Here are quote's from the James Jones "complaining" interview.

Jones said the “main focus” is that the Packers won the game.
“I’m not saying I want the ball every play”
“I’m here, I practice hard, work hard, do what I’ve got to do and hopefully the opportunities come my way.”

Apparently focusing on that part of what he said won't get as many clicks/sell as many papers.

Here is the quote from Jermichael Finley's "complaining" interview.

"For sure, they took me out of the game. I don't know what I came out with, but hopefully we can go back and dial something up for the double teams. We've got to have something for it. We'll have to go back, not being selfish or nothing,but go back and dial up something so you can get your playmaker the ball in games like that when it's close."

It's pretty clear he wasn't complaining about not getting the ball in that game as much as he was saying that you have to be prepared for a similar situation in a close game.
What's wrong with that? The Packers certainly should "dial something up for the double teams""so you can get your playmaker the ball in games like that when it's close." Unless you think that it's a good idea to allow one of your best players to be schemed out of a close game that's exactly what you should do.

Bernard Shuford's picture

I agree. I think the media blew this up like crazy because they need SOMETHING. Now Wilde wants to make it look like MM was really pissed? Get a grip. :)

Wagszilla's picture

I like Wilde but he's making a mountain out of a molehill.

McCarthy barely raised his voice.

Jason's picture

What kills me about this is that when Finley and Jones complain they completely ignore how many weapons there are on this Packers team. It's easy to see how they perceive their production as "down." 12 different receivers last week against the Falcons.

Driver is smart enough (and wise enough) to know that he's just a cog in the machine and an older one at that. So he'll take what he's given especially if it means another ring. He's also a leader and I don't believe for one second we would ever see him make a public stink and have it carry over to the locker room.

With so many weapons it makes it easy to shred defenses as Rodgers can just pick the open guy. He doesn't try to force the ball into a tight space to make a play like another Packers QB we all have a love-hate relationship with. Rodgers instead let's the play come to him and punishes defenses because of it.

The guys complaining need to get their heads on straight and realize 1,000 yard seasons aren't the reason for playing in the NFL. Winning the Super Bowl is and many players would love to just be on the Packers roster because they know they have a great shot at making the big game for many years to come.

PackersRS's picture

Steve Young says that, even after the SB, Jerry Rice was complaining about not getting the ball enough. And almost every ball went Rice's way.

Asking for a receiver to not complain and to understand that there are other guys is excessive. If a receiver doesn't want the ball, is because he doubts his ability.

These Packers receivers are the most selfless group maybe ever assembled, they like each other and root for each other, just see Driver in the SB.

Those guys know about how talented the group is, but each of them think they're the best, and that's how it's supposed to be. That doesn't mean that they should complain all the time, and they are not. They are simply responding to questions brought to them.

That doesn't mean that they are distractions on the team. They may say they're not as pleased when interviewed, but they haven't nor will complain to coaches or to Rodgers, they fully know what their role is. But they, as receivers, should and will aspire to a more prominent role in the offense.

AJKUHN's picture

I think this will become more of a non issue as the weeks go on. Jones and Finley have both had career days and will "get it" that they will have ups and downs. (Besides, dropping a ball in the end zone should snap Finley out of it). If McCarthy has addressed the public side, you can be sure any locker room issues are being handled between him and Edgar Bennett. (just watch Jordy on the Larry McCarren show). What other story can the media do about the Packers right now? You can only talk about how awesome AR12 is playing so many times.

Franklin Hillside's picture

Instead of telling his recievers to shut it, McCarthy has obviously met with Rodgers and instructed him to make sure at least one Packer receiver has a huge game per week.

Rodgers is to go down the list, and then start over at the top. To his credit, Rodgers has obliged. We are back to Jennings. Monster game for him on Sunday.

Sam's picture

Finley's complaint bothers me the most because I'm pretty sure it is all motivated by his desire to increase his worth. Jones on the other hand is locked up and I believe he just wants to produce for the team. Jones and Drvier have been solid Packers on and off the field. I do think they all need to just shut up and get open with Rodgers running the show they will all get their chance to shine.

Bohj's picture

This is not much of an issue in my book. The receivers are all friends and support eachother as aforementioned. They play the card game Hearts and talk smack to eachother. They're competitive. You want that. You want your receiving core competing to get open and pushing eachother for more catches. Great!! Todays media is overwhelming. You can't take a shiot without a mic in your face these days. The media tries to get you when you're the most emotional after the game. Of course there's going to be some filters that have fallen off. Even if McCarthy says it every day. You just battled physically for 60minutes in a football game. Emotions win. Thank God we have veterans to calm the stable. Lookin at u Driver.

Jim Hurly's picture

Is Keyshawn Johnson advising our receivers?

Jim Hurly's picture

Just gimme the damn ball!

TedTheSledge's picture

The questioning about Driver is different though and goes beyond snaps and catches. The drafting of Cobb, re-signing of Jones, and extension of Nelson all point to the team preparing for life after Donald. This seems obvious even if not publicly stated given his age. What did Wilde hope to hear with his question? That the coach admit publicly mid-season that they were phasing fan favorite DD out in favor of younger guys so he could write a heartfelt story on the cruelty of the business? Or maybe make the case that they are wasting $$ and a roster spot for a public relations based decision? I sensed some "gotcha" in the line of questioning that went beyond snaps and catches.

All IMO of course ... and yes I think as a beat writer Wilde blows schnauzer compared to Demovsky and Silverstein.

Ruppert's picture

Great comment.

Bottom line is, Driver's decrease in numbers is warranted. He's 36. There is no surprise here. Is he running downfield, wide open, 15 times a game waving his hands and being ignored by the QB? No.

I'm a big fan of Donald, but this team has some serious weapons on the perimeter that can go the distance on any play. And those guys just plain deserve the ball before the trusty, cagey vet.

The team is a better team for it.

Somebody in the media was bound to ask about this and get barked at. Wilde will survive, hurt feelings and all.

Cole's picture

This is just about the scummy media trying to stir up controversial articles. That's basically the only purpose they serve is to ask the same questions over and over to try and get one soundbite worthy of starting drama, not to ask well thought out questions that actually get the coach to make thoughtful comments. It's pretty pathetic, but hey that's how it works. That's why athletes and coaches hardly say anything interesting because they know the bloodthirsty media will twist it and then they'll have to hear about it for another three weeks.

Honestly, that's why I like shows like Packer Transplants where Aaron actually asks thoughtful questions in hope's of the interviewee giving insight or perspective on an issue that wasn't there before.

The media are bottom dwellars who only care about sensationalizing everything and getting clicks. Hense, why McGinn is one of the few readable journalists left out there.

If you ever listen to Mike and Mike it's barely even about sports. 95% is talking about dramatic bs (vick, romo, plaxico, etc) that true football fans don't care about.

jim's picture

right on.... it appears that despite some outstanding games last season, driver may be losing a half step and his competition for playing time in green bay is getting stiffer. yet, does driver say anything? no. being the professional that he is, he takes the high road and he talks team, and in spite of that, the media felt it necessary to drag his name into the mud when inquiring about his lack of playing time. i can appreciate wide receivers wanting the ball...like mc carthy said, he would be disappointed if they didnt want the ball..., but i feel they need to tone it down with the media. its a team sport, and some of the media will open up any wound it can find to sell its stories.

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