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MM = Lousy Motivator

MM = Lousy Motivator




To quote Vince Lombardi: "What the hell is going on out here?"





Carefully read between the lines of this quote by Aaron Rodgers after the Cincinnati game: "We need to have a good week of practice. Offensively, our two weeks of practice have been average. We haven't practiced the way we're capable of practicing. Young guys and old guys alike need to focus in a little more in practice and practice like a professional. I'm including myself in that sentence, but we're two weeks into the season now and it's time to grow up and be a pro and practice and play like it. Charles Woodson played his butt off today and kept us in the game, but we need to have eleven guys on defense and eleven guys on offense playing and wanting it as badly as Charles does. We have to follow his example."


Maybe Aaron Rodgers should be coaching this team. Or maybe Charles Woodson.  Because Mike McCarthy is not getting it done. That's really what Rodgers is saying. Sure, he's putting it on the players shoulders, but who is responsible for the team being focused in practice?


Mike McCarthy is a lousy motivator and does not hold his players accountable. He makes excuses, laments the things that were done wrong and promises to fix it in practice, but it doesn't happen. We just see more of the same.


This isn't a new complaint from me. I'm not jumping down his throat after one bad loss. I've been saying this since his first season as Packers coach.


Play a horrible game, and you'll "work on it" in practice and be right back in there the next game - no worries about your job. Get called for 4 penalties and go to sleep that night knowing you'll just be asked to "clean things up."


I'm done with the penalties. I hold you, Mike McCarthy, solely responsible for that mess. The Packers are going to have a third straight penalty-ful (like plentiful) season? It's your fault, Mike. And just accepting blame in your press conferences isn't enough. Where is the discipline on this team?


And now we find out that the Packers head coach can't even get the players to focus in practice? Players are not acting like professionals in practice? Where is the accountability? What kind of leadership abilities is McCarthy displaying for the players to not take practice seriously?


In fairness, let's give Coach McCarthy a chance to explain. Here is what he had to say about the practices after the Bengals debacle. "But you go through it every year at the beginning of the year. I don't know of how many teams that I've been a part of that just jumped right out of training camp and were having great weeks of practice. I thought we practiced better this week than we did last week. I thought the defense has put together two good weeks of practice, solid weeks of practice. The offense has got some work to do and I think it's carrying over to our performance. So, you have new faces, you have different things, guys doing different things during the work week. It's a normal progression and we will clean up the problems that we had today, we will clean them up tomorrow and I can promise you we will have a hell of a practice Wednesday."


So Coach McCarthy is saying that all his teams have had lousy practices early in the season and that's normal. Blame it on "different things, guys doing different things during the work week. It's a "normal progression."  Really Coach McCarthy? It's normal for your QB to have to call out his teammates after game two for poor focus in practice? Normal?! Normal?! (Say that to the tune of "playoffs?!")


For a guy that was supposed to be a tough, hard-nosed Pittsburgh guy, when do you see him get in someone's face? The once a year he supposedly gets really angry is not enough for me. Sorry, but I like my coaches "old-school." When is Coach McCarthy going to do something more demonstrative than stand up at press conferences and promise to "get things cleaned up".


If you need a current frame of reference, check out the job Rex Ryan is doing with the NY Jets. He has completely changed the mindset of that team and those players. He is truly the Anti-Mangini (and Anti-McCarthy).


In a recent interview with Mike Vandermuse of the Green Bay Press Gazette, when asked about last season, McCarthy said, “Professionally it was the most frustrated I’ve ever been. Clearly the hardest year I’ve ever been through.”


Well Coach McCarthy, if you don't get this cleaned up fast, last year will start to look like a cakewalk.


You can find more of Jersey Al Bracco’s articles on several sports websites: Jersey Al’s Blog, Packers Lounge, NFL Touchdown and Bleacher Report.

You can also follow Jersey Al on twitter.

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Comments (30)

Stan's picture

Ask yourself this, why is it we always play harder in bigger games, but when it comes to these small games we have no focus, no desire, we play with no fire. It's just "business as usual" which is what McCarthy brings to the team (read the recent Press-Gazette article on McCarthy). Our coach says the same shit if we win or we lose. So instead of a kick up the ass, it's just back to coaching the fundamentals...... Last time I looked our team wasn't made up of robots McCarthy, sometimes a little motivation goes a long, long way.

Jersey Al's picture

I officially approve of this comment!

Packnic's picture

Vince Lombardi would be disgusted that his name was used in an article like this. By all accounts, Vince was harder on everyone after a win than a loss. Demanding perfection and professionalism from your team means you have to return the favor. Flying off the handle, cussing out reporters and players, benching your starters and generally acting like a fan doesn't do anything but present a scared and weak front from the head of the team. I personally like my coaches to have an even keel about them and have their players back... kind of like Dungy, Tomlin, and Belichek. Who coincidentally have won like 6 of the last 7 Super Bowls.

Jersey Al's picture

Couldn't disagree with you more on ALL counts. And if you don't know how Vince Lombardi would have handled this, then you need to read up on your Packers History.

IronMan's picture

Thats where you have me wrong. I couldn't care less how McCarthy conducts himself at press conferences, etc.... All I want is for him to hold the team accountable so I don't see the same mistakes over and over again. Why is that too much to ask?

How can he do that? Well, he's the coach, so he needs to figure it out. If it means fining players, making them run until they puke, coddling them and telling them it will be ok, whatever. I don't care HOW he fixes it. I just care THAT he fixes it, which he hasn't.

And as for those who say, "You don't know what goes on behind the scenes." Well, whatever it is, isn't working.

Jersey Al's picture

Yes. Accountability.

PackersRS's picture

Yeah, I thought things had changed since last year. They changed in CHI's game. But everything that was wrong last year came back yesterday. I also blame MM. The talent is obviously there. The passion, isn't.
MM has no identity. He's not a Wade Phillips type of guy. He's not a friend of the players. And he's also not a Bill Parcells type, he's not demanding and disciplinary. The closest type of coach that reminds me of MM is Romeo Crennel...
About Paknic's comment, it depends on what kind of players you have and how they react. Ours obviously need the constant discipline to respond. Our leader on the field is Barnett, and he's a joker. He's a great character, but not the kind that opponents fear. Just look at the tweets with Chad Johnson. Exactly like Ray Lewis, Antonio Pierce, James Farrior...
This team has killed my mood. Before this game, if they had problems, I had faith they could overcome. Now, they must prove to me for at least 3 weeks in a row that they can contend. I'm officially a skeptic.

Jersey Al's picture

We were very lucky to win game 1. We get outplayed at home by a middle of the road team to lose game 2. How can you be anything but a skeptic, at this point?

You're right RS, the Packers have to convince us.

Greg C.'s picture

You may be right Al, but I'm withholding judgment on McCarthy. As Packnic said, sometimes it is better for coaches to be more even-keeled. Also, it's hard to tell what really goes on behind the scenes. By all accounts (from reporters as well as players), the Packers had by far their most physical training camp in a long time this year, but you wouldn't have known it by watching the team in week two--unless it was TOO physical and they are suffering a letdown.

The bottom line is W's and L's and whether the coach is getting the most out of the talent he has. In '07, they went 13-3, which was pretty darn good. Last year they went 6-10 but were snakebitten by injuries and maybe some bad luck. I'm not sure if another coach could've gotten more wins out of that team. So I'm looking at this as McCarthy's truest test. He got the first question right (against the Bears) and blew the second one (against the Bengals). Fourteen more to go.

I'm impressed that Rodgers said what he did about practice. It is concerning that he felt coompelled to say it in the first place, but it's good leadership on his part.

Jersey Al's picture

Football is based on emotion. I can't have a Mr. Rogers leading my team. I know I'm old school, but I don't want a "kinder, gentler" head football coach. I'll never change my mind on that.

Rodgers: I like that he said what he did and I especially like that Aaron pointed to Woodson as the example they all should follow.

TD's picture

<blockquote cite="comment-5624">

<strong><a href="#comment-5624" rel="nofollow">Jersey Al</a></strong>: Football is based on emotion. I can’t have a Mr. Rogers leading my team. I know I’m old school, but I don’t want a “kinder, gentler” head football coach. I’ll never change my mind on that.&lt;/P</blockquote>

Football, like most sports, is a game of execution. If you block well, tackle well, and don't turn the ball over, you're usually going to win a lot more than you lose, regardless of the demeanor of the coaches, or the players. Having said that, determination and a genuine desire to beat the crap out of the guy lining up across for you goes a long way. I do like teams that play with a chip on their shoulder and a swagger in their step. But that's confidence and toughness which are character traits and not emotions. But how many times have you seen a team come out on the field (or court) completely jacked, and ride a huge wave of emotion to a big lead for a quarter or half, only to eventually lose late when they've burned all the emotional energy they had, and end up with nothing left in the tank ... and then wind up unable to execute and wind up losing. The problem with relying on emotion and constant adreniline rushes to carry you through an entire game is that both require a tremendous amount of energy to sustain, and often there just isn't enough in the tank for an entire team to burn on that all the way. At the end of the day, they still have to execute for 4 quarters, and they need to have the stamina to do it just as well in the 4th quarter as they did in the 1st. Holmgren was intense, and required intensity from his players ... but Holmgren's teams won when they executed. Same with Bill Walsh. Same with Don Shula. Same with Tom Landry. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Bottom line for me is this ... can MM get his team to execute at a high level consistently, regardless of the game conditions or anything else for 4 quarters of each game in the 16 game regular season ... not if he can get every one of the players on the roster so jacked up to play every week that they are ready to run through walls for him when they come through the tunnel. If he gets that kind of reaction, and they execute at a high level for 4 quarters, great! All the more fun to watch. But its not emotion that carries a team ... its proper execution. Something this team has not been particularly good at for the last 19 games. Penalties, dropped passes, missed blocks, blown coverages, are common threads that run through that 19 game stretch. My concern is not how 'fired up' McCarthy gets the guys to play ... its weather he can coach these guys up to not keep repeating the same mistakes over and over and over again. Given the two games I have seen this season, where the mistakes that have been made look a whole lot like the mistakes I saw for 16 games last year, I'm not optomistic about it.

Jersey Al's picture

OK, but the article was not really about emotion, it was about the ability to motivate. I like my coaches to show some passion and emotion, but of course, they also have to be able to coach.

packerguy59's picture

I'm not sure if Mike McCarthy is a good motivator. It's too bad that he calls the offensive plays. By not calling the plays it would give him more time to focus on the team. Also the team is one of the youngest in the league. They need more veteran leadership, especially on offense. The team desperately misses the leadership of Mark Tausher!!! Ted Thompson needs to start signing veteran free agents with great leadership skils. If Thompson fails in Green Bay, this will be his undoing.

Jersey Al's picture

Leadership does appear to be a problem. But it has to come not just from the players, but from the head coach, as well.

packerguy59's picture

I agree with you Jersey Al! Find someone else to call the offense and focus on the team. Statr getting in players' faces and hold them accountable. Threaten to trade them to the Raiders! The worst franchise in the NFL. It is the grave yard for coaches and players. That will get their attention!!!

PackersRS's picture

Agree on the Raiders thing. That'll straighten them! God, I needed some humor. Thanks, man!
Could also be the lions or KC, as they lost to that Raiders, AT HOME! See, there're worse teams than us!

packerguy59's picture

Thank you for providing me with a laugh Packer RS!!! The Raiders are the WORST organization in football. The Raiders have more talent than KC or Detroit! Just because KC lost to the Raiders they are worse than the Raiders! Come on Packer PC! The Raiders traded their number 1 2010 draft pick for Richard Seymour. Seymour has 1 year left on his contract and the Raiders are not sure if they want to extend his contract. Why would trade a number 1 pick (which will be a high Pick) for a player that you are not sure if you want him long term? Even the KC has made better moves than that. Packer PC Jersey AL do your homework?

PackersRS's picture

Wow, I sure am glad that we're discussing the Raiders and the Chiefs and not the packers!
Here's a line to show how bad KC is: They drafted an elite 1-gap DT, just to change to a 3-4. And worse, they traded a 2nd rounder and are paying millions to MATT CASSEL, a weak armed, system Qb that cannot make reads right, that got a 18-1 team and failed to reach the playoffs. The Raiders may be more comical, but I assure you, KC and Detroit sucks as bad, if not worse, than them.

A line for Detroit? 0-19 and counting, and their owner is even worse than Undead Al. Undead Al actually has won 3 SBs, how many William Darth Clay Sidious Ford has? Worst franchise in sports are the Lions without a doubt. That being said, I actually like what Detroit has done this year, but they haven't improven their lines, so they won't win much.
BTW, Seymour is still a top 10 DL in this league, no matter if his contract is expiring or not. He is a great improvement, and is 30. You can talk about paying that much to Tommie Kelly and Javon Walker, but not about Seymour. And it was a 2011 draft pick, not 2010.

Jersey Al's picture

Thanks for the laugh!

Favre Haiku's picture

This team stunk it up
From the top to the bottom
Season teetering

Jersey Al's picture

Haiku ninja strikes again!

Geurts's picture

I like McCarthy. But if we keep get so many fuckin PENALTIES I'm going to start not liking him really soon. I hold him responsible for that. That is my main complaint with him. The penalties are drive killers and enable the opponent to keep the drive alive, it is sickening!

Jersey Al's picture

Three years of the same problem is too much. That's what motivated me to write this...

RonLC's picture

Finally caught up with you over here, Great stuff Al. My firm belief is to call it like it is. At 69, I remember every Lombardi rant well. I'll guarentee he would have been in Barbre's face as soon as he reached the sideline. On the other hand, Barbre would never have made a Lombardi team either. The O line problem goes back to the first Detroit game last year. Nothing has been done to address that problem. Oh, wait a minute! they just signed Dane Randolph to take Meridith's place on the Practice Squad. All is well in title town


You are absolutely right, MM is no motivator.

Jersey Al's picture

Thanks Ron. I need some support up here from guys who remember how it was...

TD's picture

<blockquote cite="comment-5677">

<strong><a href="#comment-5677" rel="nofollow">RonLC</a></strong>: You are absolutely right, MM is no motivator.

With all due respect this whole motivation thing just seems silly to me. Motivation, ultimately, has to come from within. These guys are professionals, at the very pinnacle of their profession. If they themselves can't get themselves motivated to perform at a high level, nothing any coach is going to say is going to do it for them. I suppose on any given Sunday, a coach might be able to give a Hubie Brooks like speech and get a group of 53 guys motivated to exceep their potential for a particular game, but really ... with adults ... I don't know a single person who goes to work each day expecting their coach to motivate them to perform up to, or beyond, expectation. What they DO expect is to know what is expected of them, and they expect that everyone will be held accountable for meeting (or not meeting expectations). Perhaps its a distinction without a difference ... but I think setting expectations and holding people accountable is something very different than providing motivation.

Jersey Al's picture

No offense, but that sounds like every bad management book I've read. How can you equate an average person going to work with an NFL athlete? Those are too different worlds.

RonLC's picture


You might want to read one of Bart Starr or Jerry Kraemer's books and hear how Lombardi was able to motivate, not only them, but the whole team. I see Holmgrem grabbing Schoeder by the face mask as a kind of sideline motivation that encourages a player to get back on course. Their are far too many Nick Barnett's and not enough Charles Woodsons to have you philosophy applicable to pro football players.

Jersey Al's picture

Tell him, Ron...

Jersey Al's picture

While Minnesota just has better players, I have had it with MM for a while now. Everything I said here:

still applies...

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"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."
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