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.
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