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Mike McCarthy: The Packers Beating the Cardinals is on YOU

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Mike McCarthy: The Packers Beating the Cardinals is on YOU

Wasn't last week fun? Well, from the Packer's fifth posession on, anyway. That's when Mike McCarthy, or Aaron Rodgers (or both) finally decided they had to try something different. No more 2nd and 10 inside handoffs, no more all outside throws to the wide receivers (Rodgers first 12 passess were all to the sideline). 

For the better part of the last half of this season, I'd been waiting to see somethng drastically different, perhaps a fresh new approach from McCarthy. Perhaps, you know, an admission that his game plans just weren't working. He did snatch the play calling duties back, but the game plans didn't really change - just a different voice with a Pittsburgh accent in Rodgers' ear.

Never one to be ahead of the curve during a game (sorry, Mike), it took McCarthy until the 19th play (not counting punts) of the Packers first playoff game, losing 11-0, with Rodgers having only two completions in nine attempts, to finally decide it was time.  

The twentieth play of the game saw the first pass by Rodgers to the middle of the field. It happened to be a 34 yard gain to James Jones. Credit can't go to McCarthy for that one as it was Jones who took off down the field after he saw Rodgers extending the play with some deft pocket movement. 

But from that point on, things were different. McCarthy got energized. He started mixing things up. Jet sweep, throw to Starks, receiver screens, etc. Using ALL their weapons and not in a predictable manner. Hell, in some later series, he even started running Cobb inside. The Redskins were flummoxed and didn't know what was coming. Much different than KNOWING an inside handoff was coming on a 2nd and 10 play (Heck, if I knew it, certainly Washinton did). The result was 35 points.

Of course, the Redskins' defense is not nearly what the Cardinals' defense is. And that brings me to the point of this article.

For the Packers to win this game, McCarthy needs to finally find the answer to what has plagued the Packers offense all season - how to be effective in the passing game against defenses with the personnel to successfuly play press coverage. And he has to bring it from the first play. 

He can't just continue with his "players just need to execute the plays I give them" attitude. He has to have something different in store for the Cardinals. It could be subtle - throw to the running backs more. Have receivers in motion at the snap. Throw more screens. Throw a God Damn slant once in awhile! Always have a hot receiver to look for blitzes and head to the vacated area.

Or it could be drastic. Something they haven't seen on tape. Something to keep them guessing and confused throughout the game. 

Whatever it is, it has to be different than what the Cardinals saw a few weeks ago. And it has to start with the first play. You have the best quarterback in the league. Let him loose. Get an early lead and let Carson Palmer be the one to have to orchestrate a comeback. 

It's on you, Mike. Don't disappoint us.


"Jersey Al" Bracco is the Editor-In-Chief, part owner and wearer of many hats for and He is also a recovering Mason Crosby truther.  

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bears suck forever's picture

I thought this story was going to be about MM saying it was up to ME.

To bad. I am still available.

Tundraboy's picture

Thought the same when I saw headline and the word YOU in my email. I thought he was putting it on us.

tm_inter's picture

It was the wrong use of punctuation marks. In the headline after Mike McCarthy it should have been a comma, not a colon.

Suzee17's picture

Grammar counts... Even in football!

Tundraboy's picture


jh9's picture

After watching this team for the last eight years, IMO, MM is a mediocre HC. He's not bad, but he's not great. Personally, I don't think we can count on great coaching to win important games like the one we'll play on Saturday.

I think if the Packers are to win this game, Aaron Rodgers will have to be the best player on the field. Regardless of the scheme, he decides who to throw the ball to and when. It's AR who must deliver the pass accurately. And if a WR drops the pass, it's AR who must shrug off any miscues and lead the offense down the field to score.

Aaron Rodgers will be the highest paid player on the field on Saturday. I believe it is in games like this that he must earn his paycheck.

croatpackfan's picture

It is interesting how Mike McCarthy get the second best win ratio amongst active coaches and he is only mediocre coach. Who is than genius who was able to prepare the team for the overal second best win ration in NFL? It stays unclear. I would like to have your opinion on my question!

Also, I remember how Eagles fans pushed Andy Reid out of Philadelphia. He was not good for them... Now, they are sorry... And, they should be...

jh9's picture

I didn't say MM was a bad coach. He's just very fortune to coach, arguably, the best QB in the NFL. AR is only 31 and he already has two MVPs. What would MM's record be if the Packers didn't have Aaron Rodgers? What if the Packers were like some twenty-nine other teams in the NFL who struggle every year to have a franchise quarterback?

croatpackfan's picture

Well, yes. Of course. Aaron came to Packers already prepared for this job. He did not learn a thing under Mike McCarthy. Also, we saw how good Aaron is when he does not have OL who plays well. It must be that Mike McCarthy tried to do something with offensive line and messed up. If he just let Aaron to train him and coach OL they would be much better... You are right! Also, when we talks about WR, TE and RB while Aaron are coaching them they excell. At the moment Mike McCarthy put his fingers there, he messed up everything. Also, TT must be stupid to keep Mike McCarthy as HC. He should save some money, rise Aaron's contract for some amount and proclaim Aaron HC & QB at the same time. If he do that Packers will win 10 SB in row! Bravo... I'll never thought of that brilliant conclusion....

jh9's picture

If you want to talk about TT, decisions and money… Who earns almost $22 million a year and why do you think he gets that kind of money?

croatpackfan's picture

Exactly... He earns a lot of money, because he is excellent in his job. And obviously, he thinks there is no better HC than Mike McCarthy. If you think better, apply for his job and earn his money! Convince people who has football as their profession that you are right and better choice than TT. If you'll be successful, fire "mediocre coach" Mike McCarthy and bring on board new genius HC by your estimation... Until than respect the achievements Mike McCarthy did and still doing, even if you are not like him....

jh9's picture

I'm sorry, croatpackfan, I think you misunderstood my post. Ted Thompson gives Aaron Rodgers almost 4 times the amount of money he gives Mike McCarthy. (Aaron Rodgers' yearly salary is $22 million. Mike McCarthy's yearly salary $6 million.)

Packer_Pete's picture

I'm with you croatpackfan. I remember distinctly watching all public training camp practices the year Rodgers was drafted. To put it mildly, he was terrible. I remember standing at the fence and after a terrible INT that he threw to really nobody other than the CB, the guy next to me turned and looked at me and said 'WTF did we just draft? We should trade him right away...'.
Yes, #12 may be one of the best QBs, may even have been the best NFL player of the past few years. But one should give McCarthy credit to develop his abilities. His ridiculous throwing motion when he came into the NFL, the way he was holding the ball, the hesitation to actually throw a pass, all of that McCarthy got rid of. Plain and simple. He may be lucky to have a player with those abilities, but he also had a lot to do with developing those abilities.
Heck, as OC, McCarthy had the most throwing yards QB with Aaron Brooks in New Orleans. And I think us older Packers fans still remember that guy...

He is a good coach, plain and simple. give credit where credit is due. Otherwise I say Holmgren was nothing without Favre, Belichick nothing without Brady, and Vince Lombardi was nothing without Bart Starr then?

The TKstinator's picture

I know this was not the main point in your post, but, the part where a fan suggested trading the rookie Rodgers after an INT in practice speaks volumes to that fan's "qualifications".

When fans suggest who to fire, who to draft, who to sign in free agency, which plays to run and not run, which players to bench and which ones to put in, it's all just for fun. Why is it that so many refuse to acknowledge that the coaches and management who have dedicated their lives to this are more qualified than we fans are?

Watch. Enjoy. Appreciate.

Since '61's picture

jh9 - the point is that the Packers are not like some other 29 teams. some of the other 29 teams have franchise QBs, such as New Orleans, Atlanta, Detroit, Dallas, Cincinnati, San Diego, Indy and probably a few others. And where are they and what are their records? Where are their original Head coaches. Now I would argue that none of those other QBS are as good as AR but they are good enough to win. Do you think that another HC could have done better with Rodgers? Who would that be? Belecheat? If he's such a great coach why is he always cheating? In any case, the question that you should b e asking is where would the Packers be without MM? Most likely on coaching carousel, like those other 29 teams. What would ARs career have been like without MM. I'm not sure what your criteria is for a great or good coach, but if you believe that MM is a mediocre coach then I don't think that you have ever seen a mediocre coach or that you understand what you are watching, especially in this era of salary caps and free agency and drafting at 24th or higher every year and losing double digit numbers of starting players to injuries every year. Great coaches keep it together and keep finding ways to win which is what MM has done for the last 7 consecutive seasons. Think of how many other coaches have come and gone since MM began as Packer coach in 2006. Go Pack! Thanks, Since '61

jh9's picture

While I concede that the six other teams you listed have a stable quarterback situation, you put Aaron Rodgers on any of those teams and I believe their win-loss record would be improved. If you put Mike McCarthy as the HC for any of those teams do you think they would have a better win-loss record? I doubt it.

Use a cliche term to describe Belichick if it makes you feel good, but he gets the most out of players he has. New England never has the WR talent the Packers have and they always have an effective passing game. Many can make fun of Pete Carroll, but I watched him at USC and saw how he elevated Seattle when he became HC. I saw what Bruce Arians did when he filled-in as HC at Indy and saw how he elevated Arizona. While he was the coach of the 49ers, Jim Harbaugh out-coached Mike McCarthy convincingly.

There are probably seven or eight coaches, including guys like Sean Payton, Tom Coughlin, John Harbaugh, Mike Tomlin, John Fox, Jeff Fisher, or Andy Reid who could have coached the Packers over the last seven years and had a similar or a better win-loss record as the Packers have had. The problem with naming more coaches is because every coach that is considered good, coaches a team with a franchise quarterback. And those good coaches who go to a team with no franchise quarterback lose their job in 2-3 years.

And I want to be understood. Mike McCarthy isn't a bad coach. From everything I've seen, heard and read he seems to be a good man and a man of integrity. But until he was the Packers HC, he was never a HC for any other NFL team, or HC for any major college, or any high school either. I would argue that he is not only lucky to be coaching AR, he is also lucky to have TT as a GM giving him the talent he has. I believe a convincing argument could be made that he is not getting the most out of all the talent he has been given, but I'm going to stop here.

The NFL is a quarterback-driven league. Those teams with a franchise quarterback would do just fine with many different coaches. Having a franchise quarterback like Aaron Rodgers is special. Having a coach like Mike McCarthy, not so much.

Since '61's picture

Well, let's see, Vince Lombardi, Paul Brown, Chuck Noll, Tom Landry, Don Shula, Bill Walsh, Mike Holmgren, Bill Parcells, Joe Gibbs, Weeb Ewbank are just a few NFL coaches who never coached an NFL team before they became Head Coaches and every one of those coaches are in the NFL HaLL of Fame. So I'm not sure that previous Head Coaching experience is a criteria for being a successful coach. And I would agree that TT has a done a good job with his draft picks especially picking later in every round due to the Packers success but how much better would MMs record be with a real TE, some depth at WR behind Jordy Nelson, at least decent talent at ILB without CM3, and better DLs. Jim Harbaugh may have out coached MM but look at the team he took over, they had 10 years or more of sucking and had all #1 picks on their OL and many more top round draft picks on defense. Give that team to MM and then compare him with Harbaugh. SF had much talent than MM has ever had on the OL, defense and at RB before Lacy arrived. The only player that MM had that was better than the SF roster was Aaron Rodgers. And BTW, news flash, but the "great" (LOL) Harbaugh is out of the league while MM is still coaching and winning in the NFL. Case closed. Thanks, Since '61

jh9's picture

"News Flash" Of course I knew Jim Harbaugh is coaching Michigan, but that doesn't take away from the fact that he out-coached MM when he coached for the 49ers. There are plenty of teams like Cleveland that are stock-piled with early round picks that can't win because they're still searching for their franchise quarterback.

How many of those coaches you named not only didn't coach another NFL team, but were never a HC for a college or even a high school team? I know Lombardi was a HC for a high school team and the was an assistant at Fordham and the Air Force Academy and the Giants before he became the Packers HC. My point by stating the fact that MM was never a HC before the Packers is that there are lessons one learns as a HC that are important. Like if you have a lead, you don't let-up until the game is over. Just about any HC will tell you a story about being bit when they let-up. Unfortunately, MM had to learn that lesson on the job last year in the NFC title game against Seattle. That was a blown opportunity for the Packers to appear in another SB. There are many other reasons pertaining to motivating players that can be learned by having Head Coaching experience. You talk about Lombardi, you don't think he knew how to get inside a player's head to get more out of him? Of course he did. That's what made him a great coach . The same with Bill Parcells.

Yes, the Packers beat a less than formidable team last week in Washington. But this year has been a case study in a team underperforming much of which I attribute to inadequate coaching. Take the Denver game right after the bye week… The Packers were supposedly at full strength and got beat in every phase of that game both offensively and defensively. Did they get beat that bad because the Packers have that much less talent than Denver? No. They got beat so decisively because they were unprepared to play that game. That is a failure of coaching. Also, this year the offense who had everyone back from last year has totally underperformed. What happened? Yes, we lost Jordy Nelson but was our whole offense predicated on him? No. Aaron Rodgers' less than normal play has much to do with this failure, but I submit to you that if MM knew how to motivate players better, this team would have been much better this year.

I take no delight in criticizing Mike McCarthy. I'm only saying what I believe to be true. Now if the Packers can win on Saturday and go on to win another Lombardi Trophy this year, I will be happy to admit I'm wrong. However, if beating Washington is our only playoff win this year I will say with certainty that this team has been a real disappointment and this coaching staff is not getting the most out of the talent it has.

And, "btw", this case is only closed in your mind.

tm_inter's picture

By the same token, what would Bill Belichick's record be if the Patriots didn't have Tom Brady? Would he be just another average NFL coach?

jh9's picture

Maybe a little above average, but yes.

Since '61's picture

Belichek's record without Tom Brady is under .500
So much for being a little above average.
Thanks, Since '61

jh9's picture

"After being named head coach of the Jets in early 2000, he resigned after only one day on the job to accept the head coaching job for the New England Patriots. Since then, Belichick has coached the Patriots to six Super Bowl appearances. His teams won Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, and XLIX and lost Super Bowls XLII and XLVI. He was named the AP NFL Coach of the Year for the 2003, 2007, and 2010 seasons. Belichick is the NFL's longest-tenured active head coach and currently is fifth in regular season coaching wins in the NFL at 223, and first in playoff coaching wins with 22. His four Super Bowl victories as head coach are tied for most all time with Chuck Noll."

1st ballot HOF coach.

Dan Stodola's picture

Yes he is a 1st ballot HOF HC. He has had a 1st ballot HOF QB for each of those seasons w/ NE. So the 2 of them are tied at the hip. Same is basically true for Favre/Holmgren even if Holmgren isn't a 1st ballot HOF HC. Truth is all HC are tied at the hip w/ the great QB's that help them succeed. Belicheck wouldn't be a HOF HC w/o Brady. Most likely Rodgers and McCarthy will be tied at the hip like Favre/Holmgren.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I give MM, and Clements, a lot of credit for developing AR - I think they are excellent assistant coaches for QBs. When you write about changing AR´s throwing motion, that is to the credit of the assistant coach. This does not have that much to do with being a HC. Clement´s ability as a QB coach does not mean he is a good play caller or OC or Asst. Head Coach -playcaller, whatever the heck that means.

I give credit to MM for reining in Favre, who was a better QB under MM than he was under Sherman. Given more time, MM might have gotten Favre back to his MVP days he displayed under Holmgren. I do give credit to MM for some of AR´s play like I give credit to Holmgren for Favre. BTW, being really good at coaching the most important position is a definite plus.

I would say that MM is a good coach, almost certainly top 10, arguably top 5.

Dan Stodola's picture

It McCarthy's QB school in the offseason where most of the work on fundamentals takes place. Once training camp starts its all about learning the system and plays. McCarthy QB school much more than anything else made Rodgers the QB he's become. That and his own desire but the QB SCHOOL was the tool that sharpened and honed Rodgers.

Paul Ott Carruth's picture

True....but Holmgren got his HOF QB to 2 Super Bowl appearances within 6 years. He also got Matt Hasselbeck led team to the Super Bowl. McCarthy would never have done that. Holmgren is light years ahead of McCarthy both as a HC and his resume as an assistant and coordinator.

Razor's picture

Two reasons - AR and NFC north.

Duke Divine's picture

Mashed Potato Mike scheming again!!

DrealynWilliams's picture


I can't believe some of you are even debating this.

Nick Perry's picture

Well said Al, McCarthy can't call the same tired old plays to start the game, the plays I know are coming so Arizona absolutely does. You also suggested the one play I've been screaming at my TV for 18 weeks, THROW A SLANT!!! This is exacly where I believe Janis could be effective, a slant route. It's do or die for the Packers this week so all of you who get upset with us who ask for Janis just Chill Out! Take a look at who the Packers have left at WR for this game before you say "If Janis was ready he'd be in the game". The guy is fast as hell, just get the ball in his hands and see what happens.

croatpackfan's picture

I think Abby will have more success in slant than Jeff. He need to catch the ball while running, remember?

Nick Perry's picture

I think Abby could do well too Croatpackfan, Abby runs better routes than Janis. Matter of fact, Abbys real "Strength" coming out of Wisconsin was his route running and his good hands. Janis doesn't excell at route running nor does he catch the ball real well, but my thinking is he can catch a 7 yard slant and RUN, which is his strength. Lets just hope Croatpackfan from this game forward they can help the Packers offense in some way. If they both make 2 or 3 plays it might be enough to take some of the pressure off the others.

croatpackfan's picture

Of course, Nick Perry. I am not against Jeff. But I would like to see him quality prepared before he will be thrown to the fire. Because of him. We can compare him to Jordy, who needed 2 to 3 years to become what he is today. My hopes is similar for Jeff. Once he will be ready, lookout!

Tundraboy's picture

Use them both that way is right.

dobber's picture

I think you hit the nail on the head, here, and that's getting the ball to Janis when he's moving. Look at all the preseason plays where he's wowed us, look at the couple plays earlier in the year where he took passes from a scrambling ARod and made something happen: mostly those were mid-range crossing routes where he got the ball on the move, in stride.

tm_inter's picture

In a preseason game Janis caught a slant and outran all defenders to the endzone. The Packers could surprise the Cardinals with Janis being the secret weapon. They will have only four healthy wide-receivers for the Arizona game. So they'll have to use Janis in some snaps anyway. Why not surprise the hell out of the Cardinals with Janis' speed?

Tundraboy's picture

He has the size as well.

RCPackerFan's picture

I think Janis will have a big impact play in this game.

I think Abbrederis will be the more consistant player catching more passes, but I really think Janis will have a big play in this game. It might be on a bomb pass.

The way Arizona played Green Bay the last time they loaded up the box, leaving 1 safety deep. If they do that again, Janis could be the guy to make a big play deep. His ability to beat the jammers on special teams should make it easy for him to get off of press coverage. Its definitely worth watching.

Curry Rambeau's picture

You called it, but no one is paying attention now.

Tundraboy's picture

Nick. Yes, Yes and Yes!
My favorite part is
"Take a look at who the Packers have left at WR before..... "

Spud Rapids's picture

Teams have been putting 8 in the box daring the packers to run all season and playing man to man. If you throw a slant you are throwing right into the teeth of the defense, it's not going to work and it's very risky with that many defenders in the middle.

Since '61's picture


Tundraboy's picture

Janis is not a small slot type receiver, so it is not impossible. There are ways to run it successfully.

Nick Perry's picture

Spread the out, do it out of a bunch formation, there's ways to get the ball in Janis's hands or any other WR quickly and see if they can make that first guy miss. Besides being fast Janis is pretty strong. The Packers can't just line up Abby, Jones, Janis, and Cobb or any combination and ask them to beat press coverage.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I would be fine with throwing a bubble screen to Janis wide to see what he can do with that. Somehow I think Janis can manage to run that route!

Dan Stodola's picture

8 in the box is daring them to pass.

Razer's picture

I agree with the concept of taking the play-calling to a new level. Maybe we were playing possum up till the 2nd quarter of the Washington game. Either way, it was a different game. Ultimately, it won't be the play-calling or even Rodgers, it will be the play of the O-line. If we take over the line of scrimmage, our run game will work and all things will be possible.

Looking for a great game in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Go Packers.

dobber's picture

I think this is where the coaching staff will have likely been challenging the manhood of this team this week: in the trenches on both sides of the ball.

"Ultimately, it won't be the play-calling or even Rodgers, it will be the play of the O-line."

Bingo, and we can talk about getting the ball out fast to try to slow down the pass rush, but if we're looking at 2-yard sideline routes or the like, AZ is a good tackling team and you might as well just run Lacy up the gut for two yards. The OL has to hold up enough for the Packer attack to be varied and to generate 1st downs, or AZ will bleed them out.

Tundraboy's picture

I think I hate those 2 yard sideline plays more than anything else.

Idiot Fan's picture

Especially the ones to Richard Rodgers.

porupack's picture

Totally agree all points, MM will submit compelling evidence on Saturday on whether he is average or in top tier. A win would swing my approval-voltage meter back into green. Hope for a great game. Should be a fantastic weekend of football.

croatpackfan's picture

Al, I think you are right here. It comes on Mike McCarthy. As it was last season NFCCG on his account. He is HC and have to have prepared team for all situations during the game...
And I do not think he is avoiding that responsibility...

RCPackerFan's picture

Al, I couldn't agree more.

The turning point for the offense was that 34 yard pass to Jones. That play just seemed to turn a switch on for the offense. It energized the team. The offense really just seemed to relax after that play and just play.
That is when they got out of their funk. They were mixing up their play calls and started to attack the entire field. They stopped being predictable. Threw more on first downs. Also used the shorter passing game more. They used the RB's a little more in the passing game.
Also they did a quite a bit more pulling and trapping on run plays.

For this game tomorrow night, I think we will see more of this type of offense. I think they are going to mix and match their play calls. Using more misdirection type of plays to keep the Cardinals on their heals. I think they are going to try and get the ball out fast. Using plays like the quick throws to Starks out of the backfield. And I think they will use their RB's a little more in the passing game, especially with Adams out.
The biggest thing this offense needs to do, is get good yardage on 1st and 2nd downs. Try to not get into 3rd and long. So mixing it up more on 1st and 2nd down will be big. Also getting off to a fast start in this game will be huge. Can't fall down 14+ points against Arizona.

Jersey Al's picture

Well, those are basically some of the things I'd like to see - but will we? That's the big question and the impetus for this post.

RCPackerFan's picture

I think we will see them. Of course I'm just speculating.

But Just the looks in their eyes and the energy they brought, I fully expect to see more of what we saw against Washington.

I think we are going to see McCarthy's best work. And honestly we need to see it.

Tundraboy's picture

Yes we do. Time for MM to step up. Someone mentioned his questioning the OLs manhood but however he does It, the Oline, injuries and all, have to have as big a chip on their shoulders as Rodgers does. Biggest game of the year that's for sure.
Go Pack GO

Spud Rapids's picture

Al, I disagree with this article. McCarthy has called almost every play before in the Washington game this season. The difference is the line played great, opened holes and gave Rodgers time. Plain and simple, the whole offense predicates on the line play. Doesn't matter what McCarthy will call if Don Barclay gets ran over or Linsley is called for a hold.

Jersey Al's picture

How many holes were there during the first four possessions? The answer is none. Not until they started using all of the field and opened up the playbook did they have any success at all.

Spud Rapids's picture

So you would contend that the scheme was off for 4 drives and not that Tretter and the other lineman settled in and starting playing better? Maybe McCarthy opened up the playbook because he saw the line starting to win their one and ones. Nothing is worse that a jet sweep getting blown up for a 7 yard loss so why would McCarthy ever call that if he knew Tretter/line was having trouble.

Duke Divine's picture

He adjusted to an in game situation and yes guys executed better against a lesser opponent. There is no "you're right and you're wrong" here. It's a combination of both Mike getting in a groove and the Oline and skill players executing. Correct me if I'm wrong but what Al is referring to is the fact that sometimes is seems like Mashed Potato Mike bangs his head against the wall with the same game plan even though the available personnel can not execute that plan. Example; He refused to give Tretter any help last week and was lucky his guy executed. He tried that same plan with no adjustments with Barclay and it ended in disaster, even after multiple sacks he refused to adjust and give Donny B any help, so its a combination of both. I think Michelle and Al both have really good points in their articles this week. Go PAck! Ultimately it will fall on the line play and McCarthy putting together something that helps his guys succeed. Defense is the rock this year and will be there for sure!

Tundraboy's picture

Seeing how well it worked last week. I'm having a hard time understanding how MM could possibly think anything else. Maybe some new stuff on top, but the approach has to be the same. Absolutely have to stay, 2nd and short, 3rd and short and get the first downs. Minimal 3 and outs this week.

RCPackerFan's picture

That's exactly why I expect to see McCarthy do more of what we saw against Washington.

The key is to get good yards on first down. If they average 4-5 yards on first down, they will do well...

Tundraboy's picture

Great point. One of the biggest differences or outcomes from last week was once they started mixing things up, and stopped trying to force the pass, they seemed to gain more yards on first down than usual. In contrast I think it was in one of the first few series where we had a pass play for a first down, that was followed by two plays for little gain and of course they punted. I thought at the time that is a reflection of this year. When they go for a big play on first down and succeed, they then have a let down. Worked in the past, not so much this year. They are better this year when they focus on sustained drives not the deep throw.

Bearmeat's picture

If MM and AR bring their A games, good guys win. That simple.

If they don't? We lose. That simple.

dobber's picture

I think it goes deeper than that. MM and ARod need to be on the same page and generating looks and opportunities that AZ isn't prepared for, sure, but the defense better be on from snap 1. AZ will generate big plays, but if the defense gets enough takeaways for GB to win the TO battle, that will help.

I can imagine several scenarios against this AZ team where AR and MM are at their best, but the Packers still lose.

Tundraboy's picture

Thank you Al, for saying what needed to be said. Best article of the year and not a moment too soon.

"No more 2nd and 10 inside handoffs, no more all outside throws to the wide receivers (Rodgers first 12 passess were all to the sideline)."


I hope to God, this is the week they follow your plan right off the bat. Make Arizona try to adjust to us.

dobber's picture

"Have receivers in motion at the snap."

I couldn't agree more with this sentiment. You want to help generate a clean release for your WR, this is one way to get a DB out of his grill at the snap. The lore on ARod is that he likes to set things up so he can read everything prior to the snap, but AZ showed last time that their DB can outplay our let's level the playing field a little bit. And motioning WR will set up the jet sweep or other misdirection plays.

Ferrari Driver's picture

I'm a Packer fan and a football fan so I watch a lot of football on TV. I also tape and watch things like line blocking and route running as best I can.

Week after week, I notice teams getting wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs running patterns with 3-5 yards of separation. I know I'm prejudice, but I notice that much less frequently with the Packers.

Why? Are the receivers that slow or lack talent? Is the scheme bad? Bad coaching? Perhaps it's a combination of some or all the the above.

Picking year after year in the bottom half of the of the annual draft due to winning records for the last decade makes it more difficult for a general manager to field "difference makers".

Granted, I'm just an avid fan and enjoyed some of the thoughts offered by Jersey Al in his article.

Rossonero's picture

None of the play calling matters unless Rodgers is protected. They're gonna have to double team Calais Campbell and have Kuhn back there, because Campbell was even blowing up double teams in the last game.

For those talking about slants -- Cris Collinsworth made a good point a few weeks ago that because opposing defensive lines were generating so much pressure vs. The Packers that the linebackers can then sit on those slant routes. So it starts up front with the offensive line.

I also hope our badly depleted WR group can gain separation. The Redskins DBs gave a generous 10 yard cushion at the line of scrimmage -- something I can't imagine Bruce Arians letting his team do. So if Patrick Peterson blankets James Jones, the onus is really going to be on Abbrederis, Janis, Richard Rodgers and the running game.

However, it can be done. Nick Foles and the Rams and Landry Jones and the Steelers beat the Cardinals. The keys are both teams rushed for over 100 yards, had no turnovers and forced multiple AZ turnovers. Packers 24, Cardinals 23.

Bohj's picture

Also how Minnesota stayed competitive with them.

Tundraboy's picture

Great posts everyone.

packsmack's picture

Mike is and always has been a poor in-game coach. Adjustments and decision-making absolutely befuddle him. That said, he's also one of the best in the business at preparation. His players tend to execute well because he prepares them as well as any coach in the league.

For whatever reason this year, his preparation hasn't been up to snuff, so his weaknesses are pouring out. Remember when the bye week would almost guarantee a win coming out of it? Not this year. How about 3 straight losses? Clearly, they weren't as prepared.

Did last year's Seahawks game take it out of him? Did he learn anything from that game? Who knows.

My biggest worry this week is the fact that the game is on Saturday. Mike loves his scheduling, so a Saturday game is almost a curse to a guy who has problems with adjustments.

Tundraboy's picture

Very fair assessment. Hope this is THE week he has them prepared most and with a game plan to boot.

4thand10's picture

I think if after the first or second play in the game, if he realizes the OL is not going to hold up (and that's an if or unknown at this point) he should go to a heavy package immediately...Kuhn and Ripkowski in the backfield with Starks and just try to wear em down. AZ can be worn down with a heavy package at the LOS. And then as the OP suggested..make the adjustments necessary. Yes, players make plays, but if some plays are just doomed at the snap it's on the coach to put em in positions to be successful.

Tundraboy's picture

I'll be very surprised if Ripkowski sits this week.

Bohj's picture

Agree with the opening the playbook thing. Open up the middle somehow. But I think it's also worth noting that the pace of the offense is what really set things in motion. There weren't nearly as many offensive penalties. Rodgers was snapping the ball before the totally predictable 1 second mark. And the plays got in faster. Rodgers made a number of checks at the line and audibles to add to all of that success. McCarthy may be the strategist in the tent, but that field general out there had as much to do with their success. Playoffs is when you hand the keys over to your playmakers. Maybe it has been the over scripted plays that's killing them. I'll take more hurry up please.

Rossonero's picture

The hurry up is key. Even if Rodgers is throwing short routes, doing better on 1st and 2nd down will make 3rd down conversions easier. I can't remember the exact stat, but I think the Packers were 0 for 17 on third down vs. Arizona last time.

alaskan tundra's picture

Ive said some pretty bad things at the TV when I knew MM was going to call that Fullback dive among others. But remembering just last year when the Patriots came to town on a roll. MM totally prepared a great game plan that was exacuted excellantly. Even the Hoodie was impressed and said so. He can when he wants I do expect a different look against AZ. This year has been very frustrating for Packer fans because we see the same thing other teams are seeing. Same old stuff from week to week without any real adjustments. Well we know how that has worked. Playoffs are a brand new season. Time to find out if it really is.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Just watched the GB - AZ playoff game with the 2009 team on NFL Network. What a Receiving core we had. Without question the Best ever assembled. Driver, Jennings, Jones, Finley, Nelson, & Lee. We don't have anything near that today. Even if we had Jordy healthy.

AR threw for over 400 yrd's & we lost 51 - 45. Unfortunately, we had the same problem, we have 6 years later. Our secondary cannot stop the pass. Even with Woodson & Collins, Warner just picked us apart. The game went into overtime, & AR got hit & fumbled & AZ ran it in for a Cheap 10 yard TD.

I hope our DB's show up tomorrow night. I think that's where the game will be won or lost. GB needs to come out breathing fire. Go Pack!!


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