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Cardinals 20 Packers 17: Game Balls & Lame Calls

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Cardinals 20 Packers 17: Game Balls & Lame Calls

The Green Bay Packers returned home but continued on their tear of uninspired play and awful execution and, instead of flying home losers, drove home losers.  From their own stadium.

Pack it up, this season is over and this is a really, really bad football team.  Josh Rosen outplayed Aaron Rodgers in a game the Packers had at home and in a must-win situation.

On to the day's good and bad.

Game Balls

Davante Adams

Phenomenal catch for the Packers' first score.  More great awareness and effort by #17.  Whether you call him elite or not, he's this team's best pass catcher and always seems to be in the end zone with the ball.

The first down catch/run late in the first half is another example of why Adams is so key to the offense.  He doesn't give up on a play and turns a short gain into a first down.  Effort often wins! 

And so, of course, Adams wasn't done.  An incredible highlight reel grab on the second touchdown drive to keep the ball moving.  

Lame Calls

Right Side of the Offensive Line

Special mention since this area cost a big play in the fourth quarter.

Bryan Bulaga is always questionable to finish a game.  Byron Bell has been well below average all season.  Justin McCray is no better.  Injuries forcing continued changes.  

A run right by Jones early in the second half was blown up.  Why they bothered to try running at Jason Spriggs and McCray is beyond me.  Spriggs with a holding call on the long Cobb catch, negating a needed big play.

This is one area of the roster that has been problematic all season long.  

The Green Bay Packers

This team makes my work here very easy.  And not for good reason.

Throw this season in the trash.    

Time to start over.  Absolutely pathetic product trotted out at Lambeau Field today but the team made a huge statement by letting go of head coach Mike McCarthy on Sunday evening.

It's too late this year but team president Mark Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst are looking for improvements and a return to successful times.

Let the discussion begin about who might replace McCarthy on a permanent basis and how soon it will be before the Packers are contenders again.

-- Jason is a freelance writer and has been on staff since 2012.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (79) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

It seams like a pretty underwelming year for HC candidates. I'm hearing Bruce Ariens and John Harbaugh mentioned too much.

I want a young innovative offensive mind to bring this offense up to date. I also think it's important that the candidate has a track record of relating to young people. The whole Pittsburgh tough stoic thing does not work anymore. You have to see others as people to be a leader now. MM acted like a statue with a dozen slogans chiseled on the base

ThirdStringSafety's picture

I'm no expert, but I'd love to see them take a look at Joe Lombardi, QB coach in New Orleans ... at least as OC if not HC. I know things didn't work out very well in his short stint in Detroit, but the work that he's done with Drew Brees in his twilight years has been very impressive. If he could draw the same out of Rodgers, that would solve at least some of our problems. Plus, if I remember right, he might have some sort of familial connection to the Packers organization... :)

dobber's picture

The question that needs to be asked is whether Drew Brees is because of Lombardi or whether it's because of...well, Drew Brees...and Alvin Kamara...and Mark Ingram...and Michael Thomas...

Stic's picture

All I k ow is I want an asshole.
I'm tired of all this nice, great guy should have his job forever crap.
I'll take Belichick for a thousand, Alex.

RCPackerFan's picture

Game Balls - No one.

Lame Calls - Everyone.

It was quite obvious that at the end of this game there would be a lot of changes made.
I will be the first to admit that I did not expect them to happen yesterday.

But they have happened.

Moving forward I want to see More of the rookies and young players. I would be all for putting a few veterans on IR to allow young players to play. Bring up some from the PS to see if they can contribute. Put Bulaga on the IR. Put a few others on there. Maybe bring up Donnerson and Pankey see if they can do anything in games.

Now is the time to see who can help next year since this year is over.

My initial thoughts are for a HC. I want someone that has been in the NFL. Not that a college coach might not be the best pick, it just seems more NFL coaches have more success. (no stats to back that up just going off of the top of my head).
I want an offensive minded coach that can come in, and do what Nagy did for the Bears. I also want to retain Pettine and honestly most of the defensive staff. A couple of reasons that McVay and Nagy have had success is due to having a good DC. McVay has Phillips and Nagy has Fangio.
I think Pettine is a great defensive mind and will continue to build a top 10 defense if given the talent.

We need a creative offensive mind who does more schematically to get guys open schematically.

dobber's picture

"I want an offensive minded coach that can come in, and do what Nagy did for the Bears. "

Oh...so a coach who excels at scoring on a short field, but struggles to maintain long drives?

RCPackerFan's picture

How much of that is the players vs plays?

What I have seen from Nagy is he has taken a young QB that was awful his first year and improved him. His scheme is really good though.

I want someone that runs a good scheme.

Old School's picture

I think that's somewhat of a mischaracterization. I mean, it's always easier to score on a short field, not just for Nagy.

The Chicago Bears offense does not beat itself with penalties, turnovers, dropped passes, bad throws, and unnecessary sacks. The Packers could learn from this.

Handsback's picture

Easy part is over, now the hard part begins. The new HC will not be inheriting a King's ransom. More like a few gems mixed in a bag of fake jewelry.

There should be no game balls for the Cardinal game. Start looking at who steps up for the last few games and label them keepers. Everyone else....bye, bye.

Last question, do you think there's an NFL team GM that would want to trade for Rodgers?

Guam's picture

Rodgers is all but untradeable due to the cap hit the Packers would take. I believe the hit would be $32 million (remainder of his $40 million signing bonus) which would all come due if he is traded next year. That would wipe out any cap space the Packers might have and require that Cobb, CMII and all other Packer free agents not be resigned. We will have Rodgers for at least the next 2-3 years.

Old School's picture

You are correct, Guam. The hit we would take makes him untradeable for a while, unless we could get him to restructure.

More importantly, at this point, we have no alternative to Rodgers. THAT should be our #1 priority this offseason. Fortunately, we'll be drafting early.

When you look at the success of Mahomes, and Trubisky, and Wentz, and Prescott.....it's pretty clear to me that you can win with a young QB. Lamar Jackson sat on the bench for the first half of the season and now he's won three in a row. Watson, in Houston, is having a really good year.

The notion that we HAVE to have Aaron Rodgers under center to win games is nonsense. Nonetheless, he's still a very capable QB and he's going to be ours for a while yet.

HankScorpio's picture

"Last question, do you think there's an NFL team GM that would want to trade for Rodgers?"

Yes..probably 20 or so. They would be getting a 35 yr old QB that is a dead lock for the HoF on very team-friendly contract terms.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Yessirree, though hard to say how many. Would it have to be a good team that's missing a QB if the acquiring team is going to fork over 2 or 3 firsts, maybe a 2nd or two? I mean, AR is a win now proposition. $46M dead, negative $19.5M cap savings hit for GB. Ouch for GB.

The acquiring team would get AR with cap hits of $15M, $21.1M, $22M, $25.5M, and $25.5M. And no dead money except roster bonuses (already included in the cap hits above) that they'd have to pay, notably $13.4M due early March of 2019 and a $19.5M bonus payable in 2020 but which guarantees in 2019.

Old School's picture

I think your calculations are incorrect.

Rodgers deal has minimum salaries.....which are assumed by the team that trades for him....and $100 million in guaranteed money, which the Packers are on the hook for. This is what makes a trade highly unlikely, although it is possible that Rodgers might agree to a restructuring that would shift the guaranteed money into seasonal salaries....but that would also make him less attractive to other teams.

Bottom Line: Rodgers will almost certainly be a Packer until we have a viable alternative.....which we don't have right now. THAT should be the single biggest priority in the offseason, IMO.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

The Packers are not on the hook for guaranteed money. They are on the hook for the signing bonus which was about 57 million.

You can see all the details here: https://overthecap.com/player/aaron-rodgers/1085

Trading him does not really become feasible at all until after 2019.

Old School's picture

Yes, I misspoke. I meant the signing bonus, not the guaranteed money. And trading him is not feasible until after one more season, minimum, and probably two.

fthisJack's picture

couple things. I would look at bringing Van Pelt back maybe as OC to make our QB do the happy dance. and take a look at some young college coaches that have good offensive schemes like a Matt Campbel at Iowa Statel. that is all.

Stic's picture

Now your talking. Lol
I asked a couple qb needy teams. No takers.
Arod is NOT universally loved.
Whod a thunk

Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

I was at the bar watching the Pack play uninspired, boring, and plain bad football. As Crosby’s kick sailed wide, the Bears were moving down the field beautifully on a backup QB’s check downs and touch passes. Where we ran a dive into the strength of the Vikes line last week, the Bears were running a successful double reverse pass with 3 seconds left. It occurs to me that the missed FG saved me from having to watch additional lame call opportunities.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

It sure was rough to have the TV cut to the Bears and they are mixing it up and showing creativity to tie the game.

Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

Also, I hope we get this off season right. A few years spent on the wrong coach with an aging, short-throwing, $130MM QB will take me back to the Hadl years. Fixing QB1 and bringing in an exciting offensive minded coach may get us back where we want to be without a complete overhaul.

RCPackerFan's picture

Completely agree!

A new offensive mind that can make things easier for QB1 will help QB1. Running a scheme that gets guys open easier will go a long ways.

I don't think this is a big turn around. I think the right coach and a few players could get us back next year. But the key is getting the right coach!

Old School's picture

There are plenty of people who think our roster is bad, devoid of talent, etc. I disagree and think we've got a pretty good roster.

On offense, it is imperative that we get our next starting QB on the roster. We'll have Rodgers next year, and probably the next, but we need to start transitioning to the post-Rodgers era. I don't think he's the QB he was during the last half of 2016 anymore.

We have four pretty decent linemen under contract, although Bulaga does have injury concerns (he has played 85% of the snaps, though). After those 4, we don't have any NFL quality linemen. I've seen enough of Spriggs...he's not a player.

I like our RB situation, I like our TE situation. After we release Cobb, we're going to have a depth issue at WR and could use some help there. But still not as important as getting a franchise QB. That should be our first pick in the draft.

Defensively, our D-line is pretty good when healthy. Martinez could use some help inside because it's unclear if Ryan will return and Burks looks more like a situational guy at this point.

I'm assuming Perry and Matthews will be gone and we'll be looking for replacements, both in the draft and FA.

The secondary needs more help. We don't have a starting caliber FS, or SS. After the three youngsters, I'm not sure we have NFL quality CBs. That should be the biggest priority on defense.

RCPackerFan's picture

Honestly we have a really good core group on our roster.

What they have -

The core of our team is Rodgers, Jones, Adams, Bakhtiari, Linsley on offense. They have the toughest positions figured out. QB, LT, C. They have a top tier WR and a stud RB.
Taylor had a down year but has been good the previous 2 years. I like the looks of MVS and EQ. They are players they can build around. Assuming Graham returns he can still be a valuable player especially once Rodgers and him build more chemistry with each other. Tonyan might be a guy to keep an eye on. Moore might improve in his 2nd year as well.

On Defense the core is Clark, Daniels, Martinez, Alexander. The defense will be built around them. King, Jackson, Burks, Lowry are players that can be core players as well. King needs to stay healthy and Jackson with a year of experience could be much better. The combination of Alexander, King and Jackson could be dynamic. But they have to stay healthy.

What they need-

On offense, we need more OL help. Until I have a suitable replacement for Bulaga, I keep him. McCray is a really good 6th OL but they need a starting RG. And a better backup OT. I'd like to see them draft a young athletic TE. Need to rebuild that position.

On defense they have to get pass rushers and Safety's. I hope Pettine returns because he is getting a lot out of nothing really.
I'd like to see them resign Breeland. I'd like to see them resign Mathews too. While he isn't the pass rusher he once was he is still a good defender and has become a good run stopper. He is a good player and we need to keep good players. Just need more pass rushers.
They need more help/depth at ILB and DL too. Hopefully they can get a veteran and draft a S.
While it sounds like a lot, adding more then 1 pass rusher and a S will go a long ways to improving our defense.

With potentially 3 picks in the top 50 we could come away with a lot of the help we need. Also with a GM willing to go get veterans we could get all the help we need in one offseason. With a new coach and hopefully a new offensive scheme we could see a big time improvement. Hopefully!

Old School's picture

Three picks in the Top 50.

One for a QB. One for a safety. I don't understand the need for a pass rusher when we're near the top of the league in sacks and sack %.

Rebecca's picture

"There are plenty of people who think our roster is bad, devoid of talent, etc. I disagree and think we've got a pretty good roster." You like the running backs, tight ends, defensive line. Only Aaron Jones has shown anything better than average. Jamal Williams is extremely average. What else have we got at rb that you like?

You like the tight ends, but Graham has been a huge waste of money, Kendricks is a blocker, Lewis plays a few snaps here and there. Tonyan is intriguing but he's not proven either. So you like maybe a dozen players out of 53 or let's just say the standard 22 starters. Where is the winning roster coming from? After Kenny Clark and Jaire Alexander, Blake Martinez and maybe Ryan, who else on the defense has done anything, and what is it that they've done?

Maybe there's a lot of potential players on this roster you like, but as far as difference makers, maybe we'll get lucky, maybe not.

Bure9620's picture

Rodgers has not played well and missed throws but Hadl he is not.

Old School's picture

I remember Hadl. He won the MVP the previous season, but old QBs and new HCs are not generally real successful. It has happened, but it's failed more often than it's succeeded.

fthisJack's picture

that trade killed the Packers for at least a decade.

Old School's picture

Well, it hurt for a while. This was in the era prior to free agency and the only ways to improve your team were the draft and via trade and we traded away a lot for him.

Nonetheless, the Packers had decent teams within just a few years of that trade. Decent, not playoff caliber.

ErnieErnie's picture

Lame calls only go to Rodgers and his receivers. Yes they dropped balls right in their hands. Yes they are not used to winter play. Yes the wind was blowing. and yes Rodgers got frustrated and just gave up.

This team gave up passing yards to Rosen. He is horrid. Got news for the Cards, your going nowhere with this stillf, he is not very bright. Better look for his replacement in the next draft.

Packers clean house now: Perry, Belaga, Brice, King, Cobb, Spriggs are taking the team down

ollie418's picture

Game Ball:

Mason Crosby for missing the field goal and putting the final nail in MM firing.

I was rooting for a loss all game. MM need to go. Glad it was done now!

Since '61's picture

No game balls for losing to the Cardinals.

Lame calls: No flag when Rodgers received a blow to the head. Plus no one on the Packers sideline calling for a flag.

3rd and 23 for Cardinals deep in their own territory and of course we can’t make a play and get off the field. Reminded me of 4th and 26 in Philly.

Lame calls on everyone but Alexander. Terrible job by management and coaching resulting in a poor product on the field. Thanks, Since ‘61

Stic's picture

I watch every game. Every week. The officiating is so inconsistent its maddening.

How do they find good enough officials for the playoffs?

Stic's picture

I watch every game. Every week. The officiating is so inconsistent its maddening.

How do they find good enough officials for the playoffs?

cheesycowboy's picture

Has anyone seen Aaron Rodgers twitter response regarding MM getting fired on his birthday? two words. "Love it".

HankScorpio's picture

I just looked at Rodgers' twitter feed. Radio silence on the coaching move. Thankfully. it would be a very classless move to dance on MM's grave and not give me the warm fuzzies about Rodgers.

If he has those thoughts (I believe he does), he damn well better keep them to himself. Unless he wants to confirm his status as a 5-star diva.

Razer's picture

I agree. Rodgers owes much of his success and career to McCarthy. To acknowledge anything less would be dishonest and classless.

mrtundra's picture

MM owed a lot to ARod because ARod could actually win tough games, once in a while.

Stic's picture

The homers still love TT and mm.
Only need to review the 2013-2016 debacles to see the foolishness of such a stance.

Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

The “Love it” tweet was a re-tweet of an AR post from a while ago about a completely different topic. The re-Tweeter was putting out fake news.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

What response?

fthisJack's picture

Rodgers play this year has been just plain rotten. his passes are way off the mark and his penchant for going for the big play and overthrowing the receiver is epic. the worst thing I see is his bad fricking attitude. after every missed throw he's throwing people under the bus with his demeanor and body language. he should really be kicking himself for his sub standard play. he needs to in the mirror and realize he needs as much work as any of the rookies and get rid of the attitude!

jeremyjjbrown's picture

It's fine that you think so, but AR had not tweeted at all and especially not in response to MM firing when this thread was started.

zoellner25's picture

Game ball to Mark Murphy and Brian Gutekunst

Razer's picture

Mark Murphy is a classless ass. This is a poor football team that lacks talent and depth. Our OLine depicts this perfectly. McCarthy should have been let go at the end of the season because nothing would help this team for the remainder of the season.

Murphy controlling the HC hiring will handicap Gutekunst going forward. Coaching philosophy and talent acquisition need to dovetail but this is not what Murphy has in place. We have a big opportunity for a new coaching mismatch.

Old School's picture

Are you aware that Pro Football Focus ranks 4 of our offensive linemen as being better than average at their position.?

If we lack talent and depth, then why are we firing the coach? He has nothing to do with that.

PeteK's picture

I really don't care what they rank. I watched the games , guards are terrible and Bulaga is always hurt.

Bert's picture

I really don't care if we hire a "young offensive minded HC" or not actually. Just a good HC who can hire a good OC is fine with me.

Razer's picture

Firing McCarthy seems to please many and yet it represents a low point for this organization. He didn't deserve this kind of knifing in a rebuild season. Yes the team wasn't doing well, but the holes on this team are gaping and nothing was going to save the season. Murphy should have let the season play out.

Many of us cheered when Capers got axed only to see Pettine (who I like) struggle to make a defense out of the lunch meat left behind by Thompson. Lets see what the new HC can do with an Oline that isn't good, WR who are rookies playing with a QB who isn't interested in using the whole team or field of play. Yes McCarthy should go at season's end and we rebuild some more but a public punch in the face on poorly stocked team is not Packer worthy.

Our steady decline since the 2014 Seattle game is a failing from the top down. Unfortunately, this organization is not built on good footings and we may have seen the best of Packer football for a while.

Guam's picture

I am still trying to figure out the timing of this termination. According to the WSJ, even McCarthy expected not to return next year, but thought he would get to finish out this season. I does seem un-Packer like to terminate a 13 year HC three quarters of the way through a season. Not your typical classy Packer way to handle a departure.

I suspect Murphy may be on the hot seat as well (due to the decline Razer pointed out) and this is his way of showing decisiveness. The Executive Committee may not be done with this re-organization yet.

calabasa's picture

A mid-season HC firing is a first for the Packers in 100 years.

Old School's picture

The timing? We're getting worse. The team that lost to the 2-9 Cardinals, at home, played worse than the team that started the season, worse than the team that lost to New England and the Rams. It was our worst showing of the season.

Rebecca's picture

Yes, but we have a talented roster and a very successful head coach. There must be something else going on then. What would that be? What excuses can you come up with?

Minniman's picture

In hindsight guam, with 2 ex-head coaches hired as OC and DC then the writing was there that MM could be fired any time and the contingency was in place.

It was still surprising, but maybe the Packers organization wanted to give Joe Philbin some "clean air" games to see what he could produce (and perhaps road-test how Rodgers reacts with a new but experienced head coach).

Samson's picture

Find the right HC. -- Cut the deadwood loose, both coaches & players. -- Invest in free agency vigorously. -- Conduct the best draft ever in GB in 2019.

Much has to happen but, a return to the top of the North Division isn't really that far off.

stockholder's picture

No Balls! The packers have officially fired their escape goat. And now the blow outs will begin. The sabotage started in 2014. A GM that patched a hole, rather then stock the team. (Ding Dong don't call us will call you. ) Murphy what have you done? Gute had a vision for this team. How can anybody believe what these guys tell us? With a new coach and a aging QB , the revolving coach will start. Your wish list just got longer. The fact we brought in Tes made no difference. The fact that nothing was done to improve the offensive line is just idiotic. The depth at OLB and hope for a edge rusher, never happened. The dumping Dix, Randall, and Montgomery only showed the stupidity of putting someone in charge with No experience. The only dividend this draft paid off yet is Alexander. The media machine is playing with the minds of this administration. Common sense is about using your Nut first. Emotion, drama and over paying has beens, will not make this team better. The waste of the administration has shown their results. That the people in power are losers. They pay scouting services, believe agents, and only want to act AFTER polls. It's time to clean house. As long as I have to watch S**t. End the celebrity contracts. Bring in the kids! Enough of spoiled babies that can't produce. This team is torn apart by bad moves. People looking out for their own skin first. The packers are a way of life to them. Pulling out all the stops to winning football isn't a gamble. It's a devotion of love and hard work. Something nobody is doing at lambeau.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

It started earlier than that. TT had very few good drafts this decade.

Old School's picture

Yeah, that probably explains why we were in the Championship game in 2014 and 2016.

PeteK's picture

How quickly everyone forgets. It's a team game; sure a great QB is the most important ingredient , but its still very difficult to get to the SB.

calabasa's picture

I just like the image of an escape goat.

albert999's picture

Hire Joe Lombardi as HC/OC

4thand1's picture

Joe Lombardi got out coached by freaking Jimbob Cooter!

albert999's picture

Pat Fitzgerald HC?

mrtundra's picture

Game Ball: to Pleasant for not catching a certain INT that hit him in the hands. Quite often it is the little things make the difference between winning and losing.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I remember hearing about how Collins and Woodson would have the whole secondary at the JUGS machine. I guess that doesn't happen anymore.

Old School's picture

Pleasant is an example of a guy who isn't an NFL player who is being pressed into action. I would add Spriggs to that list, and Brown.

egbertsouse's picture

I’m OK with the timing of the firing. Why make him play out an ugly lame-duck finish? As far as a HC, I just hope that Philbin doesn’t win a few games and Murphy gets all warm and fuzzy and hires him and we end up with Mini-Mike for a few years.

Ferrari Driver's picture

McCarthy is likely upset and probably torked over being fired in this manner, but expect him to be one of the first replacement hires for some team (Browns may be a good bet).

He was a fine person and had a great deal of success in Green Bay. I wish him well.

Lphill's picture

special teams have been awful hopefully Zook will get the Hook too. the sooner the better.

Old School's picture

How many games has special teams cost us?

1) A missed field goal led to the tie in week two.
2) The multiple missed kicks against Detroit contributed heavily to the loss.
3) Tramon's fumble.
4) Monty's bonehead move.
5) Two failed attempts to down a good punt inside the ten against AZ.

I could go on and on. Returns called back because of penalties. Fake punts that succeeded.

I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that with better special teams play, this 4-7-1 team could be 7-5.

PatrickGB's picture

“I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that with better special teams play, this 4-7-1 team could be 7-5.”
Agree, but that doesn’t help us now. While I could not agree more with your post, I think the problem is too big to lay on the STs alone.

Lare's picture

Funny, but if McCarthy had fired Zook last year during the coaching staff overhaul then he may still be HC in Green Bay.

packerbackerjim's picture

Bad teams find ways to lose games.

White _tornado's picture

For gods sakes I hope we didnt hurt McCarthys feelings. I wouldnt be ale to sleep at night if that were the case.

MM sealed his own fate! Between his boneheaded game management decisions and his piss poor assistant coaches it was only a matter of time.

wildbill's picture

Come on, all head coaches leave at some point regardless of their record . Jim Johnson, Mike Holmgren, Tuna, etc. The only issue for me is they didn’t wait to the end of the season, doesn’t seem the Packer way

wildbill's picture

Come on, all head coaches leave at some point regardless of their record . Jim Johnson, Mike Holmgren, Tuna, etc. The only issue for me is they didn’t wait to the end of the season, doesn’t seem the Packer way

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