Less "Unpredictability" Just For the Sake Of It Please

Mike McCarthy has gotten a little carried away trying to fool opposing defenses with his mixing and matching of personnel.

During his Monday press conference, Mike McCarthy spoke to something that's been bugging me the last few weeks in regards to the running game.

From his presser:

When we put our run play together, we are trying to not be predictable on who runs what plays or who runs what concepts. We spend more time self-scouting ourselves more than ever because we don’t want to be predictable conceptually.

Emphasis mine.

I understand what McCarthy is trying to say - but sometimes you can out-think yourself in this regard. Look no further than the play below:

It's 3rd down. You're in shotgun. You want to be "unpredictable" and call a running play out of the gun. All of this is fine.

But calling what looks like an outside zone play...for JOHN KUHN?

I get wanting to "keep the opponent guessing", but when you start asking guys to do things they just aren't built to do (ie asking your bruising north-and-south runner to run a stretch zone play out of the shotgun on third and two) just for the sake of an extra layer of deception (they're already running out of a passing formation) seems self-defeating. Brandon Jackson may not be the greatest running back in the world, but he's 10 times more suited to running that play than Kuhn is.

McCarthy would be wise to pay a bit of attention to his quarterback's words - get your best players on the field and let them go to work.

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Comments (18)

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Cole's picture

October 07, 2010 at 02:34 pm

When are we going to see Dmitri Nance?!

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PackerAaron's picture

October 07, 2010 at 02:56 pm

McCarthy said he should play more on special teams this week. They want to be sure he's solid on all the protection stuff before throwing him out there on offense.

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PkrNboro's picture

October 07, 2010 at 03:03 pm

We already have.

2 carries.
6 yards.
3 yds/carry.

(Don't laugh -- that average is within hundreds of BJAX)

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Casey's picture

October 07, 2010 at 03:25 pm

Cole, what's your last name?

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PackersRS's picture

October 07, 2010 at 02:39 pm

Agreed Aaron, and it serves Capers too.
3rd and 8. Let's be creative. Let's send Hawk rushing, and drop Pickett in coverage. /smh

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Chad's picture

October 07, 2010 at 02:57 pm

Hear, hear!

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hyperRevue's picture

October 07, 2010 at 03:20 pm

I dunno. If they let Tauscher toss a few passes that'd sure throw the opposing defense for a loop.

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ACDC84's picture

October 07, 2010 at 03:48 pm

McCarthy does a heck of a job using a variety of personnel packages to find mismatches on offense, but he gets WAY to cute with the playcalling on a disturbingly regular basis.

Knowing how consistent our running game is, why run at all on 3rd and 2? Have Rodgers roll out to his right on play action and keep it for a couple of yards or dump it off to a RB or TE for a short gain. Is the play predicatable? Yeah. Will it work. HECK yeah. I'd love to have a power running game where we could pick up four yards on a 3rd and 2 no problem, but we don't have that luxury. But we do have the luxury of a skilled, mobile QB and receivers to throw it to.

Let's please go with what works, not what should work.

I'm also sick of seeing a prevent defense when we have a lead.

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jeremy's picture

October 07, 2010 at 05:45 pm

You know what else would be cute? A little less unpredictability in fundamentals on the field. Something it seams has not been a recent focus by the Packers. Why the heck do the Packers need to try to fool the Lions?

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NoWayJose's picture

October 07, 2010 at 03:59 pm

Hopefully, that one is officially out of the playbook now for Kuhn!

Did anyone else besides me think that McCarthy compounded his bad play-calling here by punting the ball (never-mind that the punt ended up being a shank)? It was 4th and a foot at the 42. To me, this was a great opportunity to pound the rock and keep the offense on the field.

I know there are several schools of thought here, but my gut was telling me that this was a "go for it moment." Chance to man up in front of the home crowd and take control. Not to McCarthy, I guess.

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PackersRS's picture

October 07, 2010 at 04:05 pm

I was thinking about that either. "go for it you schmuck! It's the Lions! Let's make a point!"

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CJ in Guatemala's picture

October 07, 2010 at 04:20 pm

McCarthy is one of the very FEW coaches on this league who "go for it" more often than not, or at least I read a statistic about it last year when the Belichick debacle over at NE on that 4th and 2 play.

But on to the point now. The 3rd and short play call was bad, but the punt was horrible and it just backfired from there up until the 4th quarter with 6 mins remaining.

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NoWayJose's picture

October 07, 2010 at 05:13 pm

The "Belichick debacle" probably had something to do with it. IMO, that was a perfectly reasonable call by Belichick. And the media pounded him for it.

No wonder any coach wouldn't want to make an aggressive call after that.

Seriously though, Rodgers runs a pretty solid sneak. Put it behind Sitton and get a foot.

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Tommyboy's picture

October 07, 2010 at 04:22 pm

When Rodgers said "We need to be sure we've got our best players on the field", was it ever clear exactly who he was talking about? Is it possible he was talking about the o-line at all?

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JerseyPackFan's picture

October 07, 2010 at 09:19 pm

Great post Aaron. This was hilarious and to add the video for everyone to see was excellent! This is the worst play ever. I mean why bother? In all of the years of me watching this play ran, has it ever worked? I would love to know the stats on this particular play.

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Ruppert's picture

October 07, 2010 at 09:30 pm

I never, ever, want to see John Kuhn go horizontal.

You're totally right about McCarthy and this whole unpredictability thing. Whatever happened to letting your opposition know what you were going to do, then DOING it anyway?

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fish's picture

October 08, 2010 at 09:37 am

I know were a little banged up right now, but I'm putting McCarthy on my watch list this game. Weather we win or lose, something has to change if the play calling sucks again.
McCarthy
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56Ue0SOTwpA

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Cuphound's picture

October 09, 2010 at 09:23 pm

I keep trying to get a measure for how McCarthy thinks as a man. Aaron's suggestion here seems to be that McCarthy puts his faith in sophistication. He does this to the extent that he thinks himself out of a plain, sensible position.

He'll never coach smash mouth football. I've given up on that.

McCarthy says he wants to run the ball. But even with Grant healthy, our o-line doesn't really open holes that well. So my guess is that he's half-assing a running game right now, despite Grant being out, for the sake of unpredictability.

Can we extrapolate from this that "half-assing a running game for the sake of unpredictability" was Grant's job? He had to be good enough to be able to keep the offense unpredictable.

Can we extrapolate that, for McCarthy, passing is the "real game" here. This is why the O-Line was never a serious focus, nor did Ted Thompson but much effort into finding a truly explosive running back.

Right now, the O-Line has stopped the sacks. So McCarthy is probably happy. Opening holes is above and beyond the call of duty here.

If Aaron is right that McCarthy is an "offensive genius" I have to think his genius is like that of Batman super-villains. Ultimately, that genius is too unbalanced to perform consistently.

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