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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