McCarthy Owns Up - As He Should

Some have noted McCarthy's name in the 'Ugly' category yesterday. That is not a mistake. He presided over this mess and he needs to own it. Of course, I was not shocked to read this from his press conference yesterday:

I'm always trying to push the right buttons, and we're 5-9 and my name is at the top of that. I take full responsibility for that. That's the challenge... But I believe in our structure. I believe in the environment that has been created here.

McCarthy is right to take ownership of this disappointing season. There's no way you can look at a team that has lost as many close games as the Packers have and say that coaching has nothing to do with it. In fact, just the opposite. In the NFL today, the difference in close games is almost always coaching. That's the league that Pete Rozelle gave us when the league went down the road to parity.

Lots has been made, rightfully so, of Aaron Rodgers inability to lead his team to a game winning drive - but McCarthy is as culpable. Sunday's game was a perfect example - Rodgers' first decision and throw on the final drive is terrible. He has James Jones trailing underneath for at least a first down, if not more. But it's as if Rodgers has watched the highlights from last year one too many times, of Favre and Jennings hooking up for big dramatic game-winning plays, both against the Chargers and the Broncos. Rodgers needs to understand - he is not that quarterback, at least not yet.

After picking up a few first downs (and not taking a time out at the 1:05 mark was a killer) McCarthy calls four verticals with no trailer underneath and no checkdown. So now Rodgers, with the game and season on the line, has been asked to throw a deep, laser-like throw no matter what. McCarthy indicated he liked the playcall against what Jacksonville was giving them defensively. It's hard to believe that, as the middle backer, as he would in most Cover 2 schemes, runs with Donald Lee the entire time because there is absolutely no one underneath to draw him back towards the line of scrimmage. It would take an absolute perfect throw even if Lee had a step, which he clearly doesn't. Rodgers just throws it because he knows that's where the play should go. And McCarthy needs to remember who he has playing quarterback. It's one thing to call deep aggressive routes when Favre is back there. It's a whole different game with a first year starter pulling the trigger.

These are, of course, two calls in a vast body of work that McCarthy will no doubt spend countless hours pouring over during the offseason. The guess here is that he will find a few things at the root of the 2 minuite drill problems - one being Rodgers' pressing and the other his putting undue pressure on his young quarterback.

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Ron La Canne's picture

December 16, 2008 at 12:04 pm

Rodgers comments after the game give us a clue as to just what kind of flexibility he has in changing the plays. Talking about the 4th and 1 he said, they talked about a QB sneak or the dive play during the timeout. Asked if he could have audibled out of the call, he said NO.

MM, what ever happened to the ball control passing game? They are only throwing deep in critical drives. The result, interceptions twioe in the last two minutes. Yes, Rodgers needs to learn to throw the ball away in critical situations. MM, however, is not giving him the best chance to succeed by his ridgid, inflexible play calling.

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dustybricks6's picture

December 16, 2008 at 12:50 pm

Yeah, I'm sick of hearing in the post game, MM saying in regards to a failed play, "I liked the play-calling in the situation..." EVERY WEEK. He might as well be saying "The players screwed up the great play I called." To hear him take responsibility now that the season is over, is meaningless.

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