Ending Didn't Kill McCarthy...The Beginning Did

Mike McCarthy's decision making at the end of the Lions game were the least of his problems yesterday.

Packer fans are rightfully up in arms over the Packers loss to the lowly Detroit Lions yesterday. Yes, the torch and pitchfork crowd is in full force with a whole range of "suggestions" from having Joe Philbin take over the play-calling duties from Mike McCarthy to firing McCarthy outright and replacing him with Dom Capers.

Even those whom I consider more level-headed have begun damning McCarthy and declaring that the Packers will "never win a championship" with him at the helm. (For the record, I know the feeling. There was a very specific game that caused me to declare, to my father over the phone, that the Packers would "never win a championship with Tom Rossley as offensive coordinator)

I'm not quite there yet with McCarthy. I know many are, and I can't say I blame them.

And while their wrath seems to be placed on McCarthy's playcalling down the stretch, I really can't get worked up about it. Yes, McCarthy went for the kill shot there at the end to Jennings. I don't mind that at all. He's trying to win the game. Sure, he probably should have tried to pound it through on third down, etc etc - but if that play hits we're all sitting around talking about what guts it took to call it and what a great play it was.

No, for me the damning thing about yesterday's game was the way the Packers, especially on offense, just totally and completely did not show up. I mean I don't think they even got off the bus. And worse, McCarthy knows it and doesn't seem to have a grasp as to a reason why.

From his post game presser:

I didn’t like the way we started, they were playing faster than we were. There was no reason behind it; we had as many fans in the stands, so the atmosphere and everything [wasn’t the issue]. I didn’t see any signs of this during the week of preparation; I thought the week of preparation was a good week. It wasn’t a great week, but I thought they were definitely dialed and I made a point of this type of game last night in the team meeting and that’s what is frustrating to me. To come over here, knowing the importance of a division game and to start the game the way we did, we need to quit having these types of lessons, particularly this late in the year.

Two plays stood out to me in this regard.

First, there was Clay Matthews' sack or more specifically his reaction to it. Now I know we can't get inside guys' heads. We have no idea what they are thinking or feeling. And I don't put much into the reading of body language.

But after sacking the quarterback yesterday, Matthews looked about as excited as my daughter when I tell her she has to do her homework. Oh, sure, we got a nice shot of him flexing his muscles, but he didn't look anything like a guy who's rendezvous with quarterbacks have been few and far between as of late.

Then, there was the Jennings drop.

Throughout his career we have marveled at Jennings' ability to raise his hands at the last possible moment when catching deep bombs from Rodgers. Announcers fall over themselves about Jennings not giving away the fact that the ball is about to arrive to any attendant defensive back.

Well, yesterday, that trait completely backfired on him.

Jennings raised his hands at the last possible second and let the ball fly right through his fingers, hit his helmet, bounce into the air and into the arms of a waiting defender.

As if that lack of focus wasn't bad enough, there was Jennings reaction to it. I was appalled at his lackadaisical attitude. I think Matt Bowen summed it up best directly after the play when he sent me the following on Twitter:

Jennings looked like a receiver who drops the ball in 7-on-7 and then jogs back to the huddle--he shut it down.

Let that sit with you a second: He shut it down.

That pretty much describes the entire offense yesterday. Once it became apparent they weren't going to be able to simply walk all over the Lions, they shut it down.

Which brings me back to McCarthy. I found it interesting that he was more interested in chewing out an official after that play than in getting in the face of his completely tuned-out offense, especially his star receiver who had just committed an unforgivable error.

I think, more than anything, that McCarthy needs to simplify everything coming out of the gate, every game. He came out Sunday trying to "hit the ground running" with his no-huddle offense. Once he was forced to slow things down and run a basic, more West Coast-centric offense (and don't let anyone tell you different - this aint the West Coast Offense McCarthy is running) he actually found some success moving the ball.

As far as McCarthy going forward, I can't say one way or another what will or should happen. I have to see how the rest of the season plays out before I can make any kind of intelligent case for his staying or going.

But trust me - I completely understand the urge wanting to see him on the next bus out of town.

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Comments (89)

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thepretzelhead's picture

December 13, 2010 at 11:34 am

Firing a coach after all the injuries is the wrong play. Sets us back years.

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tonymission's picture

December 13, 2010 at 11:41 am

Not doing anything sets us back even further. It doesn't take Vince Lombardi to see this team lacks a lot of things--especially on the offensive side of the ball where MM is responsible. He's a quarterback developer, not a HC capable of winning a SB.

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Jayme's picture

December 13, 2010 at 05:03 pm

I said the same thing when they fired Sherman...

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nextyear's picture

December 13, 2010 at 11:36 am

McCarthy's teams seem to play to the level of the competition.They're a teaser not a pleaser.

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hyperRevue's picture

December 13, 2010 at 11:40 am

Totally agree. They routinely let bad teams hang around. But, at the same time, they do seem to get up for the good teams, which is why, if Rodgers plays, I think they have more than a fighting chance against the Pats.

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lebowski's picture

December 13, 2010 at 02:30 pm

I know we lost to a couple mediocre teams by field goals earlier in the year, but we've played very few 'poor' teams this year, and they destroyed the Cowboys 45-7 and humiliated the Queens by 4 touchdowns.

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hyperRevue's picture

December 13, 2010 at 11:37 am

I thought/assumed that Jennings didn't see the interception - that he just assumed it fell incomplete.

As for Matthews' subdued reaction, I sort of figured it was more of a modesty thing. Sort of like he knew they were getting their asses handed to them and he didn't think a coverage sack that fell into his lap deserved a big celebration? Like when a receiver celebrates a first down while trailing by 3 scores. I dunno. Probably thinking too much about it.

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djprotege's picture

December 13, 2010 at 11:39 am

Thats how i felt about Matthews at first reaction

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SpiderPack's picture

December 13, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Matthews felt like the season is over, plus he knows he hasn't been able to play at his potential for a long time now, that all was obvious on his Rich Eisen Podcast interview last week.

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Can you do me a Favre?'s picture

December 14, 2010 at 03:53 pm

Well the Jennings one is Iffy, I mean he had to know it hit him in the head, but then again he was in full stride for the endzone, it's possible he had no chance at making the tackle without blowing his hammy.

On CM3: At no point in that game were our assess being handed too us on defense. We were never down by more than 4 points. I saw the lack of energy in a bunch of players, maybe they all have a cold or something.

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PackerAaron's picture

December 13, 2010 at 11:44 am

You can't assume there - you just can't. You HAVE to look and make sure the ball hit the ground. Bowen hit it right on the head.

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hyperRevue's picture

December 13, 2010 at 11:48 am

Yeah, I totally agree. In reading your analysis of it, it seems as if you were writing with the assumption that he saw it get intercepted and still did nothing.

Neither case is acceptable - he needs to play to the whistle - but seeing it get picked off and doing nothing is clearly worse than assuming it fell incomplete and doing nothing.

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IdiotFan's picture

December 13, 2010 at 01:22 pm

It was a pretty crappy play on Jennings' part, but that's a tough call on the coach's part. Jennings has been one of your best players this year, particularly in the last five games. To dress him down on the sideline for one, admittedly terrible, play could come across as a little tacky. I would think that in film review they'll talk to him about it.

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PackerAaron's picture

December 13, 2010 at 01:43 pm

Oh, I don't expect him to chew out Jennings. But I do think his berating the official had more to do with Jennings' and the offenses play than any quibble he had with the officiating.

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lebowski's picture

December 13, 2010 at 02:32 pm

Yep, misplaced anger.

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Edward's picture

December 15, 2010 at 12:40 am

nice article, Aaron. I had a similar first response to Jennings' reaction to the bobble and pick.

the only defense or rationale is that I'd rather have him not blow out his hammy trying to stop and change directions. he had no chance to make that tackle, so please don't hurt yourself...

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Wamzlee's picture

December 13, 2010 at 11:56 am

All very justified reasons for their reaction. Although I would argue that Clay Matthews looked gassed at the end of that sack.

But it's not so much the reaction of the sack/interception, it was just indicative of the tone the Packers were in. It seemed as if James Jones' "Don't Fight for the Ball" attitude rubbed off on all of them.

I honestly think the weather and travel conditions just got to the team. Everywhere back in Wisconsin, businesses and events were closed up because of the storm, that it felt like the entire world was shut down. However, Detroit has been shutdown for years, so the Lions had no adverse effects.

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Clay Toporski's picture

December 13, 2010 at 12:07 pm

"I honestly think the weather and travel conditions just got to the team. Everywhere back in Wisconsin, businesses and events were closed up because of the storm, that it felt like the entire world was shut down. However, Detroit has been shutdown for years, so the Lions had no adverse effects."

Great quote. Feels that way 100%.

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Jack's picture

December 13, 2010 at 10:50 pm

I'm sorry but that is ABSURD. Winter occurs every year in the upper Midwest. Snow falls. Wind blows. Temperatures plummet. Schools and businesses are sometimes closed. Happens ALL THE TIME.

If Vince Lombardi heard a player blame his poor performance in an INDOOR AWAY game on the weather, he would be chewed out or even benched.

Speaking of Lombardi, I understand that many of the Packers watched the premiere on HBO of "Lombardi." Apparently it did little to inspire them the following day.

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IdiotFan's picture

December 13, 2010 at 01:24 pm

I thought that Matthews' reaction was subdued because he had just lucked his way into the sack. Matthews hadn't actually beaten the tackle; the QB just backed up far enough that the tackle couldn't do anything about it. Only Jared Allen does his full dance even when the sack had nothing to do with his play.

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Edward's picture

December 15, 2010 at 12:42 am

exactly, Idiotfan.

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jdondlinger's picture

December 13, 2010 at 01:15 pm

I thought the same things about Matthews reaction. I think he was tired, thought it was about time he got another sack and knew the Pack were getting their butts whooped and didn't feel the need to show boat.

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djprotege's picture

December 13, 2010 at 11:38 am

Great read Aaron. Completely agree.

The offense did not have any emotion at all. Actually the whole team didn't have any emotion. Going to the Matthews sack, at first I said I am glad he didn't celebrate, but them i watch it a couple of times, and he just lacked the intensity. Which I have seen at all from him in 3 games. Not sure what is going on. Lions are better then they look at 3-11. Offense was not in sync at all.

Rodgers - Which i love that he try's to be a leader and win games for us, just dumb not to slide there. Now his future health is in jeopardy.

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Jayme Snowden's picture

December 13, 2010 at 11:42 am

I definitely agree about it being the beginning not the end that showed McCarthy's weakness. The offense lacked identity at the beginning and was trying too many things at once. Which I find odd for McCarthy. Normally he comes out with a solid approach and stays with it (ie no running in Atlanta). But yesterday the offense, players and plays, seemed lost in the first half. No identity, no consistency, no personality.

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hyperRevue's picture

December 13, 2010 at 11:42 am

All that said, there comes a point where these slow starts are inexcusable. Every week it seems as if it takes the offense a quarter to get anything going.

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PackerAaron's picture

December 13, 2010 at 11:46 am

Now this, I totally agree with.

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djbonney138's picture

December 13, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Earlier in the week, as I was reading Packer stuff, I thought to my self if we start slow in New England Brady will paint 21 on us before we even get off the plane. I sure didn't think this week the slow start was going to kill us and apparently neither did the Packers. The Lions were fired up from the first snap to the last and we were not.

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Dayne Shuda's picture

December 13, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Aaron - you told me earlier in the year the opening drive stat wasn't important?

http://goo.gl/J6Iu3

I'm still not sure if it is. It's just frustrating to see the offense stall for the first three drives every game or so it seems.

I also see PackersRS hated me way back in Sept. :)

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PackersRS's picture

December 16, 2010 at 02:19 pm

Ah, back in the days, when I was a much more angered (and better) self.

Still right about that, BTW.

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PackersRS's picture

December 13, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Yeah, the thing that pisses me off is that it's essencially the same mistakes from week 1, season 1.

They seem to go away sometimes, but, sooner or later, it comes back.

It's the penalties, the playcalling, the apparent lack of killer instinct.

We just don't seem to be able to cross the line and play consistantly like elite teams.

Almost every game we're able to play toe-to-toe with the best of them. And we flash potential to be a really dominant team.

But we can NEVER put on a complete game against a though team. It's always something, or the ST, or the O, or the D, or the passing D, or the running game...

And that keeps us from winning games.

Look at how many close games we won and lost by less than a TD. This season alone we're 0-5.

Some blame it on the QB. And Rodgers has his share of blame.

But that big of a discrepancy in close games? That's the HC.

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Glorious80s's picture

December 13, 2010 at 01:47 pm

It is interesting that they do play close in those losses. It's like the team is stuck in a place and can't reach the next leve.

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DoubleD's picture

December 13, 2010 at 11:43 am

46 pass plays called to 15 run plays, with the game tied or Packers had the lead for 53 minutes...Unacceptable ratio. Ok to think you have advantage with Pro-Bowl QB, but Matt Flynn? Have to adjust gameplan better in game. McCarthy's biggest fault while Head Coach is lack of ability to adjust in-game.

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hyperRevue's picture

December 13, 2010 at 11:45 am

The running game was going nowhere, though. The o-line was getting blown up every play. It's nice to say they should have run the ball to protect the lead and kill the clock, but going 3-and-out every series wouldn't really cut it.

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Ruppert's picture

December 13, 2010 at 11:55 am

I believe he just stubbornly refuses to deviate from the gameplan that he worked all week coming up with. As I mentioned in another post somewhere, I think he ignores the flow of the game and certain game situations because he's so consumed by a matchup, be it individual or alignment. He has admitted to using his first 15 plays to determine how the defense will match up against certain personnel groups. Maybe he should just do what we do best when we open the game.

The last play pissed me off for a couple reasons. I think he ignored the situation for the 1-on-1 matchup with Jennings. Like Jersey Al said--great idea on 2nd and short...not so much on 4th-and-ballgame. And secondly, someone please remind me of ONE deep pass that worked yesterday. Just one, please.

He does not have a good feel for when to abandon the percentages. He makes a conscious attempt to be unpredictable because he doesn't intrinsically know when to "just do it." You can't script unpredictability.

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PackersRS's picture

December 13, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Holmgren had the same thing.

He always had 15 initial plays that he stick to no matter what.

The difference? They worked.

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Real66's picture

December 14, 2010 at 12:10 am

And after that he adjusted to what the heck was actually going on in the game. Nothing like that is visible in the current era.

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PackersRS's picture

December 13, 2010 at 12:16 pm

It's not how much you pass or run, it's how and when.

I did a breakdown of plays from shotgun and plays from center, and we had MUCH bigger success playing from shotgun.

Specially in negative plays. Despite playing more snaps from shotgun, we had half the negative plays from it.

We passed too much from playactions and from 2 TEs and FB formations.

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Paul Ott Carruth's picture

December 13, 2010 at 02:36 pm

100% accurate statement. He doesn't adjust very well in game. A common saying "they will be what they are that day" despite what you've seen on film all year so be ready to adjust. McCarthy doesn't. Period.

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Clay Toporski's picture

December 13, 2010 at 11:46 am

I get the feeling that Mcarthy out coaches himself. He tries to be one step ahead of what he thinks the opponent is going to do - but fails to react to what they are doing.

For example, I know he was concerned with Starks being in the backfield signaling a run. Well, who care? Until they start keying in on that, then make an adjustment. Or just call a play action pass.

Also, again this is just my perception, but does Rodgers seem to always be looking for the deep ball? I feel that he has very rarely even acknowledged the check down receiver in many occasions. With the Lions dropping their defense into deep coverage, why not just pick up the 3-7 yards on a check down and make them pay? Tom Brady and Peyton Manning do this a ton - and it demoralizes opponents.

Overall, I am completely dissatisfied with the way the way game planning happens and how adjustments are made. I feel the Packers win and lose on sheer talent and effort - instead of winning the game through great coaching. Basically, the exact opposite of the Patriots.

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IdiotFan's picture

December 13, 2010 at 01:29 pm

I actually agree with most of what you said, but it's funny how, around here, whenever we win it's because of our good talent and whenever we lose it's because of our coaching. Isn't it possible that good coaching contributes to our wins and bad playing contributes to our losses?

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Clay Toporski's picture

December 13, 2010 at 01:57 pm

For a total meltdown that was yesterday, I think there isn't a single person that isn't to blame. Coaches or players.

I can't even stand the idea that our defense played well, because they really didn't. They just happened to get enough big plays at the right time to keep the game close. But, giving up almost 200 yards rushing is not good ever.

I feel like the Packers are thriving on the big plays to get offensive yards. We can't do that without a modicum of balance. I believe 100% think we can get by without a running game, but we need to have more plays than just the deep ball or the quick slant. That, to me, is more a problem with the coaching instead of the players.

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stinkdaddy's picture

December 14, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Seems to me that the Lions were keying on the run from the first play. Sticking with a *working* running game would've been nice, but the 2 yards/carry that the RBs were able to get with the DET D-Line blowing up plays in the backfield all day wasn't something that was suddenly going to get better through persistence.

I agree fully on Rodgers -- when he's willing to take the underneath stuff he's great, but he gets way too fixated on the home run. Some folks here have diagnosed this down to the scheme itself, saying that there are no checkdowns available because McCarthy only goes vertical.

That's not what I'm seeing, and unless McCarthy's so dishonest that he's willing to throw his QB under the bus for ignoring checkdowns that aren't actually there I think McCarthy criticizing Rodgers for this exact reason earlier this year bears this out.

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Adam Czech's picture

December 13, 2010 at 11:47 am

He deserves another year. The Packers have been in some form of rebuilding mode during McCarthy's entire tenure. This year was supposed to be a step forward, and it still might be. We'll see.

Next season is the true test. The rebuilding or young team excuse will not fly next season.

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Patrick Duprey's picture

December 13, 2010 at 11:49 am

While I understand the vitriol in the direction of Coach McCarthy, he will certainly not be fired at the end of this season. Even if the Packers lose out, which I don't see happening, BTW, I think MM keeps his jobs because I believe our team's injuries have let him off the hook a little.

I side with Brian Carriveau, though, as I have a tough time playing MM for this loss. Sure, the Packers weren't exactly ready to play, but how much is that MM's fault? Our receiving corps was nonexistent yesterday. Jennings' drop was the play of the game. Quarless had a costly fumble, and Matt Flynn threw a bad interception.

But for me, the loss falls on the offensive line. I know the Lions have an elite front four, even with the injuries, but our offensive line didn't show up, to borrow your terminology. There was absolutely no running room all day and oftentimes little time to throw the ball. It wasn't even close. Everyone on the OL was utterly dominated by their opponent.

With that said, the defense was PHENOMENAL yesterday and almost won this game for us. Holding a pretty potent offense to seven points should win you any game. Sure, Stanton was bad, but that's besides the point.

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Don Draper's picture

December 13, 2010 at 09:20 pm

"I know the Lions have an elite front four, even with the injuries"

Uh no. with the injuries they have 1 elite player on the DL, one good player and 2 scrubs.

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stinkdaddy's picture

December 14, 2010 at 11:39 pm

Kinda missing the point isn't it? Regardless of quibbling over how "elite" or not the DET line is, they whipped the Pack O-Line all day. If anything what you're saying makes what happened that much worse.

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Don Draper's picture

December 15, 2010 at 08:56 am

Exactly right. I'm not sugar-coating the o-line play and Patrick was. It IS actually worse than he was making it sound. That was my point; worst blocking performance I've seen in a long long time.

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zub-a-dub's picture

December 13, 2010 at 12:14 pm

again this is a defensive team. Again the defense does its job and the offense does not show up.

Jennings play (shutting it down) just shows were the desire and heart of MM's offense is. A bunch of babies with no leader on the field or off (MM or A-rod)

The defense has the heart and performs every Sunday regardless of the their health with solid leadership coming from the side lines and the leadership from veterans on the field, Woodson, Hawk, and Pickett. Every game this season they have done enough to put the Pack in position to win the game, every game.

All this offense has to do is score a few touch downs a game, or get into position with field goals. The defense is good enough to win the games.

I understand Jennings play if it happened in game 2 of the season, its DEC, you are on the outside looking in, the division is in your grasps, and you play with that kind of desire and heart. Please.

If I am MM I bench Jennings next game as an example to the rest of the team, you play with heart and to the best of your abilities, no one can pull a Randy Moss here in Green Bay.

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hyperRevue's picture

December 13, 2010 at 12:18 pm

I think the R word is a little extreme.

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zub-a-dub's picture

December 13, 2010 at 12:34 pm

How is Jenning's play any different from what Moss has done in the past? How many time have we seen DD in similiar situations make a great tackle or make the effort, playing till the whistle blows.

Jennings pulled a Moss, sometimes I go all out and sometime I don't. I don't see the difference.

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IdiotFan's picture

December 13, 2010 at 01:33 pm

It was definitely a crappy play by Jennings, but - seriously, you don't see the difference between Jennings and Moss?

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zub-a-dub's picture

December 13, 2010 at 04:53 pm

on that play, i don't

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stinkdaddy's picture

December 14, 2010 at 11:41 pm

How about the distinction between one incident that happened one time and a career-long history?

You can't tell the difference between an isolated incident and longterm trend?

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Rick's picture

December 14, 2010 at 07:53 pm

I have to agree with the leadership part. They're thought of as a team with good chemistry, so they "get along". But is there any true comraderie? Does anyone step up and get the most out of his teammates each and every play (especially on offense)? The o-line looks consistently dumb and mute, without feeling. Do you guys ever see them in the pre-game getting excited TOGETHER, as a TEAM?

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Jersey Al's picture

December 13, 2010 at 12:25 pm

My pitchfork is safely in my closet, but only because I'm a realist.

I have written about Mike McCarthy so many times, it almost bores me now. I officially gave up on him as a game-time asset to the Packers during the Dolphins game this year.

He's organized, prepared, a good manager, but a shitty game day coach. he sticks to his game plan like a fly sticks to honey.

My biggest problem is situational play calling. because the D was giving them a one-on-one with Jennings, his game plan says take a shot at the endzone. Completely ignoring the situation, you are rolling the dice on ONE play, when you still have a minute left and two timeouts.

If Jennings had single coverage, why not a simple hook or turn-in, get your first down and continue the drive.

I completely agree this is not where they lost the game, but I disagree even more that it was OK to do it on 4th down and one with Flynn as your quarterback. It was STUPID and McCarthy acknowledged his mistake very readily.

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PackerAaron's picture

December 13, 2010 at 12:38 pm

Come on Al. It was "stupid" only because it didn't work.

And I've seen a lot of "throw a slant" or "throw an in" - it's just not that simple. It sure looks like the DB is playing inside leverage, which is what you would expect in that situation, specifically to take away the "In" and the "slant". McCarthy and Co. were expecting exactly that, got the look they wanted, and took a shot. Again, he's trying to win the game. Is that the best way to go about it? Probably not, but I can't fault a guy for trying and I certainly wouldn't call it "stupid".

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hyperRevue's picture

December 13, 2010 at 12:42 pm

I'd just much rather see that play happen on 3rd down, instead of that disaster of a run play (or was the botched run on 2nd?). Two wasted downs, imo.

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PackerAaron's picture

December 13, 2010 at 12:50 pm

The draw to Jackson was on 2nd. And I agree, I hated that play.

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PackersRS's picture

December 13, 2010 at 12:49 pm

High percentage plays. You needed a high percentage play that gets you 1 yard.

Was that a high percentage play, with Flynn at QB?

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hyperRevue's picture

December 13, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Roll out and hit Quarless, apparently.

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Jersey Al's picture

December 13, 2010 at 12:51 pm

I would. And don't use the "didn't work" excuse.

I consider it stupid IN THAT SITUATION. Pinning the outcome to one throw by a very inexperienced (and not very good, in my opinion) 2nd string quarterback. When there was still plenty of time and time outs left? I call that a stupid mistake.

If it worked, we'd all be hugging, but I'd still be shaking my head at how ill-advised it was to do it.

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jack in jersey city's picture

December 13, 2010 at 01:07 pm

listen aaron- jersey al is correct my man. i agree with everything that you wrote in your original post but when all is said and done mccarthy lost that game with that play call. that's something you call if rogers, tom brady, peyton manning, or drew brees is under center NOT your 2nd qb who has almost no NFL experience. we were driving down the field with 2 timeouts left. if you want to "go for the gold" then do that shit on 3rd and 1. this was a must-win for the packers and mccarthy is the one responsible for this loss. i'm not calling for his head now- i think he deserves to coach 1 more year where he has his full array of healthy offensive weapons. if he can't get this talented team to the NFC championship game next season then he should be fired. period. no questions asked.

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stinkdaddy's picture

December 14, 2010 at 11:48 pm

And btw, what do time and timeouts matter when you have 4th and 1? You blow that play and the game's over regardless; you make it and there's enough time to spike the ball even without a timeout.

The clock wasn't an issue either way, so I'm confused to see it brought up.

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stinkdaddy's picture

December 14, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Should they have run into the 9-man front to get the yard? Because if not I'm kinda at a loss to see how that play doesn't come down to Flynn's arm one way or another. People are talking about "high percentage plays" and etc. but Aaron has already pointed out that the Lions were playing the exact routes that folks here want McCarthy to have used.

A fade thrown by Flynn isn't a particularly high-percentage play, ok, but running into a 9-man front when you've been getting 2 yards/carry against 6-7-8 man fronts is? Throwing a slant against a guy playing inside leverage is a high percentage play?

It seems to me that the call for "high percentage" plays -- which I realize wasn't your quote btw -- are made in isolation without acknowledging the situation that actually was playing out on the field.

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Andrew's picture

December 16, 2010 at 01:52 pm

It's the same basic math and game theory that McCarthy has struggled with all year long. Because he has never considered potential situations before they occur, he is constantly caught off guard and repeatedly makes mathematical errors that cost his team.

Remember when MM didn't let the Bears score that TD at the end of the game? Remember how he got crucified for it? Those calculating the win% of that situation came to the correct conclusion...McCarthy messed up.

Now it's 4th and 1...more or less for your season. If you pick up that 1st down your win% for the game becomes....maybe 35-40% with Flynn in there. That feels pretty fair based on our spot on the field. But let's be even tougher on him...let's say it's only 20%.

BUT if you don't get that first down, your win% becomes really close to nothing.

Regardless of the outcome, that was a play-call that would get some coaches fired if they weren't coaching a team owned by a community.

That call is appalling and MM will never lead this team to greatness.

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CounterPoint's picture

December 13, 2010 at 01:03 pm

I don't fault the fourth down call either- Flynn looked terrible on the few slant calls he threw earlier, we know they can't run for it, and we know Jennings can beat any Lion DB in one on one coverage.

We also saw how well Flynn was at reading coverages when the action is bunched up closer to the goal line on the Levy INT, so inching closer wouldn't have necessarily improved our chances.

I believe that call gave the Packers the best chance to pull ahead, they just missed it.

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Timbo's picture

December 14, 2010 at 11:19 am

Well argued.

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cole's picture

December 13, 2010 at 04:58 pm

Throwing a bomb is the dumbest thing in the world, it's a low percentage play. On top of that if we did score they still have over a minute to drive down and beat us. You cannot defend McCarthy having Flynn throw a bomb to win the game on fourth down when you only need one yard. The call was idiotic, even if it had worked I still would have said it was way to risky.

We have more talent on offense than every team in the NFC except maybe the Saints and Falcons and we can't make 1 god damned yard?

I lost a ton of respect for McCarthy after this game. It's like he totally looked past the lions for the upcoming patriot game, which we now have no chance of winning if A-Rod doesn't play.

Starks rushes for almost 80 yards last game and you don't even give him a chance to get going. Totally insane. If we had established a running game who knows if would have kept the lions dline from rushing full steam ahead every single play.

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stinkdaddy's picture

December 14, 2010 at 11:51 pm

Oh man, really? Starks would've fixed everything huh? Yeah, maybe if they gave him the ball a few more times he might've worked all the way up to say, 1.5 yards/carry. Maybe even two.

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Andrew's picture

December 16, 2010 at 02:00 pm

Starks had great success from the inverted wishbone and the offset i-formation...so of course MM completely abandons both of those in favor of the ones that haven't worked all year.

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RockinRodgers's picture

December 13, 2010 at 12:30 pm

There is no killer instinct with MM. With the season on the line almost every week. They seemed bored yesterday. They should have came into the game with the mentality that we are the better team. We want to go the playoffs. We are gonna kick your ass up and down this field.

MM has been making the same coaching mistakes since we hired him and thats what bothers me. We have a nice window to really do something with this team and I'm not sure he is the one to take us and that clock is ticking.

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Andrew's picture

December 16, 2010 at 02:01 pm

Amen!

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al's picture

December 13, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Im not on board with firing MM just yet unless there is really a great option out there as head coach cause we dont want to go into rebuild mode. But im in favor of firing the Olines coach Campen without a doubt, i dont know why MM likes him so much, the oline has been shit for years now, what is there to like? If it wasn't for Bulaga falling into our lap in the draft we would be so screwed on our line for the future. There has GOT to be a better oline coach out there then Campen. Seriously okay i get it were supposed to be a weaker run blocking team and better pass protection team, but the thing is we suck in pass protection too! Clifton is not deserving of his pro bowl vote for the performance yesterday, and his run blocking has always sucked, colledge sucks at everything, wells is decent, sitton is good and bulaga is a rookie that hopefully isnt another clifton who cant run block for shit. We need someone who can light a fire under those boys asses to get one yard every time! And yes MM play calling isnt great which doesnt help. Stop running the ball on 2nd and long, 3rd and long!!! are you nuts!! and then you throw the ball on 3rd and 1 and 4th and 1!!! it makes no sense!!!!

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PkrNboro's picture

December 13, 2010 at 01:52 pm

I agree very much with everything you said.

I am amazed that the offense, knowing the snap count, can seldom deliver in the run game.

I watched part of the Houston v Philadelphia game, and I saw a Houston team that really embodies the ZBS system. At the snap, that offensive line MOVED! It jumped! It looked alive; there was movement that defeated brute strength. It was obvious that Kubiak's time in Denver, with Shanahan and Gibbs, provided an expertise with the ZBS. I didn't see any resemblance to the Green Bay team. When I recall the Bronco teams of yesteryear, I remember an offensive line that was dwarfed by their peers -- they were definitely under-sized. Yet year after year, with running backs that were late-round draft picks or relative unknowns, they had consistent success. That had to be coaching, which I guess is missing in Green Bay. Perhaps as proof, look at Arian Foster -- an undrafted player with over 1200 yards rushing, with a cast of virtual unknowns on the oLine.

Like you, I don't think Campen is the answer, and I am beginning to think that this reflects poorly on McCarthy. McCarthy has to understand that the running game provides three very important things:
1) play-action credibility -- time for his "long-route", non-WCO passing game to open up
2) an offensive alternative -- when the split-second timing and perfect route-running world of the passing game goes to crap.
3) relief -- to a fatigued defense, and to a young/inexperienced/sometimes-error-prone special teams squad

With a running game, the Packers would have half the losses this season, and be a real threat in the league.

Without a running game, the Packers are a tease: dominant one week, invisible the next.

But, I think McCarthy's smugness regarding the Packers as a "pass first" team will prove less a hallmark and more a tragic flaw, as I think this will factor into his downfall. With a run game, his 1-12(?) record in games-decided-by-4-points-or-less would be dramatically different.

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zub-a-dub's picture

December 13, 2010 at 12:44 pm

A jesus meeting needs to be called for the offense, special teams and the defense already have the heart and desire to win.

The offense lacks leadership and the Randy Moss disease is creeping in, you play all out every play.

Jenning's lack of playing till the whistle blows was just plain in excusable given its Dec with the playoffs and division on the line.

I am very disappointed in Jennings and frustrated with his lack of effort on that play, the only excuse I can give is lack of heart.

Somebody needs to get into his face, make it clear to him what is expect, or show him the door.

That might be the job of MM, or a veteran player like DD.

Bottom line something has to change with the offense and IMO its not the Xs or Os, but heart and desire.

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Glorious80s's picture

December 13, 2010 at 02:01 pm

Reminds me of the articles and discussion last week on AR calling out his O team mates over mistakes. Guess he had a point.
It's a lack of maturity on much of this team, with exceptions. Why do they need these team meeting moments, anyway? Can't they recognize the importance of these games.
They'll have to bring it next week.

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Andrew's picture

December 16, 2010 at 02:05 pm

Although it looked bad and someone better have spoken to him about playing to the whistle, I think we're blowing that one play out of proportion...he lost site of the ball.

Once the play continued, I couldn't see if he gave chase or not so if that's the case then you guys are right.

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al's picture

December 13, 2010 at 12:53 pm

looks like another disappointing offseason for packer fans, that loss hurt almost as much as the cardinals loss in overtime, it was much more embarrassing though.

If the packers really have the heart and desire and want to make the playoffs, its starts sunday night, dont worry about any other team and what they do, the next game is all that matters, beat the Pats and continue forward. Its not likely but its in our boys hands. Whether they want it bad enough well see.

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Ryeguy812's picture

December 13, 2010 at 01:10 pm

The Jennings play was disheartening to me because I feel it was somewhat connected to what happened later on. Jennings' drop coupled with the uninspiring play of the O-line and WRs forces Rodgers to take it upon himself to light a fire under his team and get a few extra yards and all of sudden he's hurt. You're right when you say it was the play of the game.

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jdondlinger's picture

December 13, 2010 at 01:17 pm

If an embarrassing loss like this doesn't light a fire under all 53 of those players and the coaches,nothing will. They should all be ashamed of how they played and coached in that game.

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PackersRS's picture

December 13, 2010 at 01:30 pm

Thing is, this is the NFL. Worse, it's week 15.

If you need to get fired up this late, chances are you're really not that good, and you're not gonna make it.

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al's picture

December 13, 2010 at 01:26 pm

exactly, detroit tried to give this game back to us too and we just never did anything, sqaut, zip.

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JerseyPackFan's picture

December 13, 2010 at 01:41 pm

So far the weather for Sunday night...lousy.
Please, please, please not play zone against Tom Brady.

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Jack's picture

December 13, 2010 at 10:57 pm

I think it is ironic that many of the Packers players watched "Lombardi" on HBO the night before the game in Detroit. It would appear that it did little to inspire them, or maybe they realized that their head coach is never going to BE a Lombardi.

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SpiderPack's picture

December 13, 2010 at 11:01 pm

This team is SCREAMING to everyone that they need better coaching.

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SpiderPack's picture

December 13, 2010 at 11:50 pm

And Aaron I disagree, I think its terribly easy to get inside the heads of the players, but ONLY if you don't have to think about it. Paralysis by analysis, Right Brain trumps Left Brain (except for math & planning & shit like that).

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Real66's picture

December 14, 2010 at 12:06 am

Speaking a bit more globally, the ending of this season did not kill McCarthy, the beginning of this season (CHI, WAS, MIA) did. Slow start during the game, slow start to the season, no urgency.

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Andrew's picture

December 14, 2010 at 02:41 pm

They lost because their offensive line played terribly. They won't be improving over the next three weeks either. They're too old, too young, too small, too mediocre, and almost very good - but they're too worn out, and they don't know how to run block because they have no practice.

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Edward's picture

December 15, 2010 at 12:47 am

I started to agree with you Aaron, McCarthy did lose the game at the beginning more than at the end. But I put the blame on him for not calling the short passes to build momentum and a scoring drive.

What he did was play pre-season with his RBs--trying new combinations of the 3 HB and with/without FB. He overestimated his ability to score at will and treated the game like a laboratory for experimenting with his running game.

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