Cory's Corner: It's time for Mike McCarthy to get crazy

It’s time to stop playing the percentages.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy gets rightly criticized often for being conservative. This is not the week for him to be cautious.

The reason is because the Falcons have scored the most points in the NFL. They have scored 30 or more points in five of seven games.

Matt Ryan, whom Aaron Rodgers recently called elite, leads the league in passing yards (2,348) and is second to Tom Brady in quarterback rating (113.6). I have always liked Antonio Brown, but Julio Jones has dethroned him as the best receiver in the league. He leads the league in receiving yards (830) and has 16 catches of 20 yards or more. Jones is 6-foot-3, 220 pounds and is Calvin Johnson 2.0. He is virtually unguardable with his catching radius and he has the speed to run by most defensive backs.

McCarthy doesn’t exactly have the same firepower to counter the Falcons. His featured running back is a wide receiver. His quarterback is having the worst season of his career. His secondary has been devastated with injuries. His free agent tight end has been out three games with an ankle injury. And I cannot forget a punter that has failed in more ways than one.

He’s got all of that to bring down to Atlanta to face a Falcons team that has lost two straight by three or less points. The Falcons are hungry — and ticked off. They will test LaDarius Gunter and Demetri Goodson — Green Bay’s fourth and fifth cornerbacks on the depth chart.

Atlanta will score. They will move the ball on this defense. The onus falls on the Packers’ offense. Rodgers must be patient and not allow himself to be attracted to every big play. Green Bay wins this game if it wins the time of possession. That happens if Ty Montgomery can at least keep the Atlanta defense somewhat honest. That happens if Knile Davis can catch a few balls out of the backfield.

But most importantly, McCarthy has to shift gears. He needs to shed his skin. Run a reverse for Trevor Davis or maybe even run the Wildcat for Randall Cobb. The same mantra where the Packers try to find the best matchup won’t be able to keep pace with the Falcons.

And finally, let Rodgers create more. With Montgomery in at running back vs. Chicago, the Packers were a quick team, but they weren’t rushed. With Eddie Lacy they looked rushed. Without Lacy, McCarthy has more freedom to attack a certain portion of the field and when he wants to attack it.

Green Bay still has the game’s best X-factor in Rodgers. At any point, one flick of his wrist can mean a 40-yard touchdown pass. But in order for that to happen, receivers have to get open and Rodgers also has to trust that they will get open.

The Packers are outmanned and outgunned. McCarthy can steal a win with a coaching wrinkle or two. Because playing it right down the middle has led to Green Bay being ranked 28th in total offense.

Maybe a fake punt in the second quarter won’t win you a ballgame, but it will tell your team that you’re still focused on squeezing every ounce of playmaking out of your team. 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (29)

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carusotrap's picture

October 29, 2016 at 08:01 am

Look behind you. Panic mode is that little dot in the rear view mirror. Obviously, no one's going to lead a press conference with that, but we're way past "pad level and clean up some fundamentals."

And the problem with McCarthy "getting crazy" is that you have to wonder if those sorts of plays are even in his playbook. Atlanta is going to score 40...the Packers need to find a way to do what they did last week and score 41. 350 yards passing 10 yards at a time gives them an outside shot.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 29, 2016 at 08:42 am

It means something if he does something like that more than once. Everytime he tries something like that., everyone knows that's his big surprise for the month, let alone game.

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NickPerry's picture

October 29, 2016 at 08:08 am

Cory, our Punter has enough problems punting the Football, lets not depend on him to be able to pull off a fake punt. That has catastrophe written all over it.

BUT I think you're absolutely correct on other points. The Packers have to win the TOP. Limit the drive killers this week (40 yard pass to no one on 3rd & 2) and just take what your given. Lacy had several holes big enough to drive a truck through, open those same holes for Davis and you have a TD. I thought Eddie was having a fine season and I'm not knocking him, but fast he's not, Davis is.

I'd imagine Desmond Trufant will be matched up on Nelson most of the game. Another game where Cobb, Adams, and Montgomery all catching 7 plus balls and a running game of some sorts will go a longs ways in securing a win.

Pressure, pressure, pressure Ryan. Hit him, knock him down, let him know you'll be there all day if he's not sacked. The Falcons use a lot of misdirection, the offense flowing one way and Ryan rolling the other. Martinez, Ryan and the rest of the backfield will have to be on their toes.

McCarthy doesn't have to get crazy, just doing what works would be just fine. That includes keeping Monty in the backfield.

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carusotrap's picture

October 29, 2016 at 08:02 am

I checked the stats. "No One" has more targets than anyone else on the team.

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dobber's picture

October 29, 2016 at 07:52 am

The bottom line is that the Packers need to stay in a mode where they're going to more actively take what defenses give them rather than living in a world where they believe they can ram an offensive philosophy down another team's throat and still win.

They don't need to go crazy, scheme-wise, they just need to keep adding wrinkles. We point to the jet sweep...something that a big, fast guy like Janis could potentially make hay on. Run that two or three times for meaningful yardage and now motion means something completely different to a defense. Fake it and then throw it to the motion guy in the flat. Build on it. That's not a gamble, but a wrinkle that forces defenses to think about...if it works. I'm not saying that the jet sweep is the cure-all for this offense. All I'm saying is: keep adding new looks or emphasizing different things.

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carusotrap's picture

October 29, 2016 at 08:08 am

Completely agree with your first paragraph, but can we, for the love of God, stop with the "give the ball to Janis" meme? One, it's not going to happen, and two, he's not even remotely as talented as the amount of love he gets from Packers fans. He's a great ST player and a decidedly below average receiver. What we don't need is yet another WR who makes one cut and then gets distracted by a butterfly and forgets what route he's running.

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NickPerry's picture

October 29, 2016 at 08:22 am

I think a Jet Sweep featuring Janis wouldn't be a bad call at all. We all thought Janis might turn out to be something his rookie year when he took a few shorts passes to the house in the exhibition season. Those plays were made by Janis and his speed. Not much distraction in a Jet Sweep at all. Grab ball from Rodgers, get around the edge, and run like hell. Meanwhile I'll pray a Butterfly doesn't show up in the Georgia Dome.

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dobber's picture

October 29, 2016 at 08:40 am

I recognize what you're saying. Any play or alignment of that sort would be welcome as an "unscouted look" that messes with a defense...or in the case of Monty out of the backfield, a look that the Packers use sparingly that suddenly became the focus of the game plan. The jet sweep is just a f'rinstance. It's something that takes little to implement and could make an impact on how you force a defense to adapt in-game...especially a defense like ATL that already hemhorrages yards and points.

I don't disagree with you on Janis as a WR, but he's getting 30+ offensive snaps per game over the last 2 games. He's on the field. They're not throwing him the ball (for well-documented reasons), but if you HAND him the ball, that's a play he's not likely to screw up. AND...it's a play that generates so much flow on both sides of the ball that misdirection becomes even more effective.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 29, 2016 at 08:45 am

"We point to the jet sweep...something that a big, fast guy like Janis could potentially make hay on. Run that two or three times for meaningful yardage and now motion means something completely different to a defense."

Oh God yes!!

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NickPerry's picture

October 29, 2016 at 04:52 pm

Perfectly said TB, not to mention what a concept!

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Tundraboy's picture

October 29, 2016 at 08:49 am

Your on a roll Dobber. Wrinkles. Need to stop being so bland. No one play is a cure all, but a start.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

October 29, 2016 at 08:19 am

"It’s time to stop playing the percentages."

I think you meant.

"It’s time to stop stubbornly ignoring the actual percentages."

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Tundraboy's picture

October 29, 2016 at 08:36 am

Dethroned Brown? Julio has always been better. Anyway, yes MM needs to use every trick in his book. This weekend and rest of season.

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Samson's picture

October 29, 2016 at 11:55 am

That was my first thought also. Fitz has always been better than Brown also.

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Hematite's picture

October 29, 2016 at 10:04 am

Yeah, let your hair down Mike!!!!
Get adventurous!
I'll be waiting for your boring canned coach speak performance on the Mike McCarthy Show next week as you so lamely try to explain what went wrong.

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guzzi2000's picture

October 29, 2016 at 11:53 am

I would like to see what Allison can do. They brought
him up, so use him. He provides AR a big target and seems to have good hands and was able to get open at least during preseason. We don't need a bench warmer we need a contributor.

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dobber's picture

October 30, 2016 at 10:20 am

They're saying Cobb won't play today, and with Abbrederis gone and them unwilling to throw to Janis, he's gotta play, right?

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Samson's picture

October 29, 2016 at 12:06 pm

Everyone knows that MM along with TT are "two wild and crazy guys". -- I'll be celebrating when both are ex-Packers.

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croatpackfan's picture

October 29, 2016 at 12:24 pm

Oh, no! No, no, no! Not again with that sh*t about open receivers. What game film are you watching? Packers receivers are open, more widely than WR from other teams. Maybe not by every snap, but opponent D sometimes do good job. Anyhow, you can count situation missed as opportunities which were not on the back of the receivers...

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

October 29, 2016 at 02:31 pm

Lot's of folks just listen to the crap they are fed by announers like Collinsworth who say these things. It's not thier fault that they trust what is said. Those announcers don't watch the Packers every week. They should know what they are talking about but too often just make stuff up as they go. Chris did it several times the other week.

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NickPerry's picture

October 29, 2016 at 04:55 pm

If I didn't know better I'd think Collinsworth is a lot like Aikman... He doesn't much care for the Packers, at least that's the vibe I get from him. Then there's the excessive running of the mouth too, the guy just doesn't shut up!!

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dobber's picture

October 30, 2016 at 10:20 am

You know its bad when the Croatian starts cursing in English... ;)

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Denise Chanterelle's picture

October 29, 2016 at 01:02 pm

Well, the injury report now indicates that Cobb & Montgomery are questionable for the game tomorrow, so the path to victory for the Packers is now more convoluted. McCarthy will be forced to play relative newbies on offense. Let's see how it unfolds. Go Pack!

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Lphill's picture

October 29, 2016 at 04:57 pm

Wow listen to some of you, same people who predicted the Giants were going to have 500 passing yards , this is the game where Jordy breaks out , our receivers will have a big day playing on turf , safety help will take care of Julio Jones . The Packers defense is ranked 12 th and Atlanta is 27th.

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stockholder's picture

October 29, 2016 at 11:39 pm

I think your confusing Done with over-paid. Cobb , Nelson, Mathews, Rodgers, still have something left in the tank. Remember peppers came to the packers when no one wanted him. So if he left the packers, yes ,I believe he would be done. But the packers are not a fantasy football team. Their a team that has a system. Bench who you want. MM gets the most out of his players. James Jones proved that last year. Incredible is what you want! Very few teams in the NFL have incredible. TT favors younger players. As players get older we talk about windows. But TT has shown us his players take 3 years now. What we need is a couple new guys to re light their fire. Guys who go on the IR are the ones to dump. Play or get the hell out of here. Example Lacy. Is he incredible -No, Starks - No. Cook - No. Shields - No. Lingering doubt, Adams, Janis, Rip,R. Rodgers, Buluga,. Burnett, jolly, Goodson. Winners are an investment. We still have winners, even if their overpaid. But look at two positions this year. Datone was to be moved to elephant and to much was put on Clarke and the DE position. Practice squad to the rescue. Next RB. Something every play-off team in the past had. We finally feel better about are ILBs but how long did that take. I blame TT. This team has money. Contracts aren't hurting them. Poor drafting has.

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al bundy's picture

October 29, 2016 at 11:02 pm

Ted should dump Perry at the end of the season or at least trade him for some picks. I have an issue with these guys - baseball to, that are so so until the contract year then show up for work. I call em bums.

Packers need to get some real pass defenders with some size speed and coverage ability. They have no one that fits that. Trade Mathews, Peppers will retire, he is already retired actually.

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dobber's picture

October 30, 2016 at 10:22 am

Again...if it were a contract year thing, he would've busted out LAST year when his rookie contract was up. That's why I think this year is more indicative of what he can do when he's healthy and not him holding back until now.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 30, 2016 at 01:45 pm

Exactly. People need to stop hating Perry
.

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stockholder's picture

October 29, 2016 at 11:51 pm

Perry is the only one who is giving them a consistent rush. You would put this team back 5 years if you dump Perry ,and mathews. Peppers and perry may leave anyway. Then what? Problem is TT. He's missed on opportunities. You still weaken a team by kissing your chemistry goodbye. Yes argue they needed to go. But gone is hope. Replaced by gambles.

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