Mike McCarthy Coaching Scared Against Seahawks Does Offense No Favors

Last year, Mike McCarthy wanted to make one thing perfectly clear. His teams don't play scared. "We don't play scared and we don't coach scared." McCarthy said at one point. 

This isn't new. McCarthy has been knocking back questions at press conferences with "We don't play scared" for years

Well, now there is documented evidence that McCarthy's team most certainly will play and coach scared if presented with a talented foe. 

Much will be made in the coming days, rightly so, about the Packers steadfast refusal to even look over toward Richard Sherman's side of the field last night. 

Content to send out Jarrett Boykin toward Sherman's side all night and all but play 10 on 10 football, McCarthy's game plan was clearly built around trying to get Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb matched up on Seattle's "other" corner, Byron Maxwell. And it worked reasonably well for awhile. Targeted 11 times, Maxwell allowed nine catches, including five first downs. Yes, he had the interception, but that was completely on Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson (Nelson probably more so, though Rodgers took the blame in his post-game press conference

The problem with this approach became apparent as the game went on. The Seahawks, knowing the Packers wanted nothing to do with Sherman, began rolling coverage toward Maxwell's side. It also allowed them to play with a single high safety almost exclusively as well, which made running the football all that more arduous. 

If McCarthy wants to prove he's not "coaching scared" he needs to send out his best to take on his opponents best.

The Packers paid Nelson this offseason because he's one of the better receivers in the league. They can't be scared to let him go up against the best corners in the game. 

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Comments (49)

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 05, 2014 at 08:48 am

I thought Rodgers played scared as well. He looked similar to the guy we saw against the 49ers. He wouldn't pull the trigger on the quick throws, he wouldn't take a hit to run for a first down, he looked scared in the pocket. He's not the Rodgers of 2010-2011 right now.

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Bearmeat's picture

September 05, 2014 at 08:58 am

Rodgers looked very post 2003 "Favre-ian" (ugh). Since 2012 he's saved his worst for the big games.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 05, 2014 at 09:08 am

Did you see the graphic that NBC put up with Wilson getting ride of the ball in 0.33 seconds? Someone needs to show that Rodgers.

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Duke Divine's picture

September 05, 2014 at 09:19 am

thats on Bevell and his playcalling and Mashed Potato Mike's play calling. Designed bubbles to Harvin and others calls for Wilson to get it out quick to the first read, its not because Wilson is quicker at making decisions than #12. Mike didnt call a single play action or screen pass until the 4th quarter. Tater Mike stunk it up tonight and looked outclassed and Bevell schooled Domfounded Capers something awful

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ryanissnackpack's picture

September 05, 2014 at 09:36 am

That graphic was referring to his wind up and ball release, not the time from snap to throw. Yes, Rodgers has a tendency to hold the ball...but he also has one of the fastest releases in the game, so you didn't really make the point you wanted to make right there.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 05, 2014 at 09:39 am

Every throw he made in the segment was immediately after the snap. I was in a very loud bar so it was hard to hear.

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Duke Divine's picture

September 05, 2014 at 09:48 am

"Immediately after the snap"= By design...

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zoellner25's picture

September 05, 2014 at 09:51 am

that was not a graphic of the time of the play. just a release time to when he starts his motion. Rodgers had to run around more last night due to pressure but his release is not slow.

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HankScorpio's picture

September 05, 2014 at 10:11 am

"Rodgers looked very post 2003 "Favre-ian" (ugh). Since 2012 he's saved his worst for the big games."

I dunno. The 2013 regular season finale was a pretty big game. Rodgers shook off 7 weeks of rust to put up a game winning bomb to secure the NFC North title. Big time throw in a big time moment. in fact, in yesterday's pregame, he called that one of his best moments.

The following week, in brutal cold against a top quality defense, I thought he played pretty good, too. He gave them a lead in the 4th quarter, which the defense promptly gave away. Then he tied things back up only to have the defense give it away again. He wasn't brilliant on that day but considering the conditions and opponent, it's difficult for me to say he played "his worst". And he was definitely at his best on the day when closing time came and it mattered most.

Remember...there are 11 guys on the field being paid to stop him at any given time. And there are 45 others on the Packers that impact whether they win or lose...none of them impact it as much as Rodgers but they do impact wins and losses.

Aaron Rodgers is not the problem. He's not always brilliant but nobody is. The real problem is that they need him to brilliant every game for them to win.

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Curt's picture

September 05, 2014 at 09:37 am

He was clearly not comfortable - offense looked like it did in preseason game vs Oakland. Just not clicking. Losing a couple cogs like TE and RT early disrupts things, but not for the best teams. Had a couple opportunities to run for first downs to keep drives going, but threw ball for incompletions instead.

Still, this is only one game against the SB champs, so I think we should go ahead and play the next game instead of tossing in the towel which appears to be the answer to many posters.

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tlv444's picture

September 05, 2014 at 11:23 am

And nobody mentions it, I mean pretty much nobody in the media, but u can't tell me that not lining up number 88 Jermichael Finley TE, isn't also hurting this offense, especially against a team like SEA and in the red zone.

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JimTaylor31's picture

September 05, 2014 at 08:52 am

Yeah that was pretty lame. I mean who really comes out ahead with that approach? Did we take Sherman out of the game or did we just allow Sherman to take a chunk of our offense out of the game? I think the latter. That's really a shame when you can't trust a HOF QB to challenge a DB once in a while. Shows very little confidence in Rodgers and his WRs. Not cool.

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tlv444's picture

September 05, 2014 at 11:20 am

It hurt the entire offense too. SEA figured out they only had to defend the left side of field, Boykin isn't a slouch, anyone remember some of the catches/plays he made last year when he moved into the lineup??? They should have spread out the SEA defense all across the field and ran Lacy, like they started the game(which was working) I didn't see very many play action or boot play calls, or draws, or screens, Cobb wasn't used like SEA used Harvin. Capers was terrible as expected, but McCarthy should have done much better with his gameplan/play calling. Rodgers wasn't good either and should have used his legs to pick up a few 1st downs, it would have at least made SEA safeties and LB's worry about him running...

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Klincker's picture

September 05, 2014 at 09:00 am

+1 Nagler

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Imma Fubared's picture

September 05, 2014 at 09:19 am

I'm not a fan or non fan but more an observer having suffered miserably for 40 years hoping the Lions may actually win something. Never More!
I watched what pre season games I could and the draft and came away with the impression, the Packers did nothing to improve a weak O line and they only improved the Defense slightly.
Thus, My take overall unlike the analyst and pundits: this really is not a talented team. They lack play makers all around.
I guessed they wold lose 27-7. So I was wrong.
I guessed the passing game would falter.
i guessed the running game would be so so but not over powering as MM thinks it is.
I actually have the Pack going 1-5 through the first 6 games and that's only if they can get by the Jets. Again, IMHO, this is not a talented team.
Last, teams that make the kind of mistakes the Lions and the Packers make are not very good coached teams either. Bone head mistakes are made by having bone head players that you can't coach. Amen

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tlv444's picture

September 05, 2014 at 10:56 am

They were playing the SEATTLE SEAHAWK in their stadium at night, just so happens they are 17-1 in their last 18 games in that stadium. I know we are all disappointed here but you are going way too far. Many good teams have gone up to Seattle and got worked, its one game. They would have had a GREAT offensive line if they didn't lose their starting center(who was looking awesome), starting RT in Bulaga, their utility backup who could play and start at nearly every spot in Don Barclay. Now they are hurting on O line but not from lack of talent but due to injuries. They would have had 7 legit starting caliber lineman going into the year. Now they have Sherrod playing RT and a rookie starting at center.
Yes they have bonehead defenders, and seem to always have them.
But to say they aren't a talented team from losing to SEA on road in night game(it was a close game thru 2 and half quarters) I'd roll with Rodgers, Nelson, Cobb, Matthews, Peppers, Shields, Tram.Williams, Josh Sitton and a few others. The Nose Tackle is most important player in a 3-4 defense and losing BJ Raji in 3rd preseason game was a GIGANTIC blow to the overall defense, his loss makes already bad ILB's Hawk and Jones, look god awful,terrible...lol

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Nick Perry's picture

September 05, 2014 at 07:29 pm

Why do you spend so much time here if your a Lions fan? I normally wouldn't respond to a trolls comment but do you really think anybody cares what you think? You cheer for one of 3 teams to have NEVER played in a SB. I'd think you'd be more concerned why the Lions hired a coach that went 2-14 and a team that drafted a TE with the 10th overall choice. BTW, your teams has really gotta suck to have the 10th overall pick. GO HOME IRMA!

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Nerd's picture

September 05, 2014 at 10:23 pm

They ALWAYS go 1-5 for the first 6 games, or thereabouts.

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T-Buck's picture

September 05, 2014 at 09:33 am

Probably the worst coached game I've ever seen. Our game plan was cowardly and overall, inept.

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JimTaylor31's picture

September 05, 2014 at 06:15 pm

Pretty much sums it up. I just can't believe the non-vote of confidence in Rodgers and his WRs with that game plan. Just seems like sometimes you gotta throw your best at their best and see who comes out on top. We chickened out and the result was predictable. I hope that's not a sign of things to come. No need to get cute with the guys we have on Offense. Just go for it for crap sakes!!

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Nick Perry's picture

September 06, 2014 at 11:50 am

It was embarrassing if you ask me. What kind of message are you sending your team to completely stay away from the right side of the field. You have what's considered the best and most accurate QB in the game, and a Wide Receiver that catches just about anything.

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jimtalkbox's picture

September 05, 2014 at 09:34 am

What an ugly game. (Second half especially)

I'm embarrassed that our team didn't even TRY to get a back shoulder throw on Sherman or even a couple of little dink and dunk throws just to keep that side of the field honest. We pretty much dug our own graves with that tactic.

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tlv444's picture

September 05, 2014 at 10:44 am

It was sad. To come in with "the best QB in the league" and then run Jordy Nelson to his opposite natural side all night. Furthermore, Boykin isn't a slouch, I don't think Rodgers even looked at Boykin all night, that isn't Packer football, some people can say thats smart or strategic, I call it cowardly, Sherman is good but not unbeatable, pretty clear SEA figured out they only had to defend the left side of the field by the 2nd quarter.
I don't know how Brad Jones and Hawk can sit in the film room today or tomorrow and feel good about picking up their paychecks, wow, worst game I've ever seen Brad Jones play and Hawk pretty much just got blocked all game long and missed a bunch of tackles when he had a chance. Could Barrington or Lattimore be worse than what we saw from those two last night? or could Mike Pennell be worse at NT than Guion and Boyd?

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LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

September 05, 2014 at 11:19 am

Thank You!! Great Post. Spot on defensively. I would give Hawk the Game Ball. I think he actually made 1 tackle at the line of scrimmage. Offensively, we may have the Best QB in the world, but 3 years ago, teams found a way to stop him. We have had no response to it. A-Rod didn't have a great game, but I personally didn't think he got the protection he needed in many cases. How in the world, did we ever come up with Clifton & Tauscher in the 7th round, & now we can't find anyone who could tie their shoes?? There's no other way to say it, we were beat on both sides of the ball. LV wins again. How can you lose with GB+6. I agree with you. Changes need to be made defensively. I've been saying it for 3 years now, nobody seems to be listening.

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Will Tippet's picture

September 05, 2014 at 09:49 am

Lacy 24 yards the first 49 seconds of the game. 10 yards the remaining 59 minutes. Mike should have pounded it more IMO

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Packer_Pete's picture

September 05, 2014 at 10:09 am

Yes, but with Starks, not Lacy. Starks clearly was the hot RB last night, compared vs Lacy.

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T-Buck's picture

September 05, 2014 at 10:25 am

You are way off. Per Nagler's post, we should have opened it up.

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tlv444's picture

September 05, 2014 at 10:33 am

Totally disagree. Lacy started out great his first few runs from spread out formations, then he went out, when he came back in for some odd reason McCarthy was calling all these bunched up formations and running Lacy into 8 man boxes, I counted one play to the right where Lacy got the ball and had 2 unblocked defenders immediately in the backfield, he fought them and the play ended with Lacy on ground surrounded by 5 Seahawks that didn't get blocked and not one GB blocker in the picture. Lacy had 7 carries for 31 yards in first half. And believe he accounts for majority of the accredited "12 or 13" missed Seattle tackles.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 05, 2014 at 03:27 pm

Absolutely, and as soon as Lacy got those initial yards, What happened to go with the Hot hand. I do not trust MJM anymore he is unpredictable but in a bad way.

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tlv444's picture

September 05, 2014 at 10:38 am

McCarthy got badly out coached. I don't think he had a game plan, other than to not throw to the right side of the field, which was stupid. We have Cobb, we could have used him like SEA used Harvin, a little bit of creativity, I saw the same plays as last year and Rodgers wasn't very good either. He didn't use his legs at all to pick up a few first downs that would have helped the cause.
I thought Peppers and Matthews played well and showed they can provide a pass rush, problem is that if u can't stop the run at all, u won't get many chances to rush the passer.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 05, 2014 at 03:28 pm

I hope the coaches learned from this game, forget the players.

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Zola Davis's picture

September 05, 2014 at 10:55 am

I don't drink but if I did, I'd still be drunk. I would like to see Brad Jones benched (and I've always liked him) just to prove a point. Yes, I know that the next guy might be even worse; but those holding calls were amateurish.

Alonzo Highsmith better be good at scouting ILB's.

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bratwursted's picture

September 05, 2014 at 11:48 am

Top to bottom a bad performance last night, but there's a lot of season to go so I think they can make adjustments and turn the ship around. However, the last time the Packers took a beating like this in the season-opener was the 0-26 shutout against the Bears in 2006. Ugh!

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FITZCORE1252's picture

September 05, 2014 at 11:54 pm

That bear game, only game i regret attending. That was bad.

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led-packers's picture

September 05, 2014 at 12:41 pm

I just dont know how this d gets better with hawk and jones.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 05, 2014 at 02:54 pm

Only worse if we let it

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cpitt's picture

September 05, 2014 at 01:57 pm

McCarthy is an outstanding coach against average teams and a terrible coach against elite defenses. It's just the way it is.

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Nick Perry's picture

September 06, 2014 at 07:43 am

All over talk radio they were talking about the Packers yesterday. Most about MM coaching scared, but some actually brought up all the missed draft picks the Packers have had the last several years. I think to be "Elite" in the NFL you need a FA signing more than every 8 or 9 years. Nobody hits on every pick and TT is about as good as anyone else, but you can't ignore a position like ILB or Safety before that for years and be successful against these teams.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 05, 2014 at 02:53 pm

Playcalling was sickening, With the O talent this team has, the playbook it has,, and seeing how the team planned for months, this is what they came up with!!
I am sick of other teams running packer plays like reverses . Only trick MM seems to have lately is an onside kick or going for it on 4th down! Yeesh

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Packer_Pete's picture

September 05, 2014 at 03:45 pm

Years ago I listened to an interview with Harry Sydney. Having played under Walsh and Holmgren, and coached under Holmgren, the guy knows his stuff. He said the individual play calling is not so much a problem. What is a problem is not having a plan to attack all areas of the field, and especially not knowing what the weakest areas of a D are and attack those. During the interview, he said Holmgren was the best in identifying opposing D weaknesses and the specific areas to attack. He also pretty much said that McCarthy does not have it. After listening to that, I really didn't pay much attention to the individual play calls anymore. It's either a pass or a run. But question is, what is that play supposed to achieve? What areas of the field are attacked? After watching last night's game, I do not know what McCarthy had in mind. I don't think there was a game plan other than calling some alibi runs and then hoping that Jordy or Cobb could exploit the CBs of Seattle not named Sherman. And that simply did not work.
I am shocked that after months and weeks of tinkering and preparing for this game, the result was sickening. Not the points result, but how they played. Could've easily been a higher blowout, if Thomas doesn't fumble that punt, and if Seahawks kept the foot on the metal. Now I didn't expect a win, the D is too bad. But I expected some effort and no-huddle O, lightning quick plays, etc. Nothing like that as long as it counted.

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

September 05, 2014 at 08:25 pm

This is interesting. I've felt very strongly that when Philbin left the Packers game planning took a big step back. During the game I kept thinking that they were avoiding Sherman's part of the field so that when the safeties shifted over they could throw a double move at him down field. It never came.

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Packman22's picture

September 05, 2014 at 02:55 pm

We were unprepared in comparison to Seattle. The offense looked anxious, nervous and unaware. They struggled to complete two passes in a row. Pete Carrol completely out coached Mike McCarthy. Our players looked as if they did not want to tackle Marshawn Lynch.

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Packer_Pete's picture

September 05, 2014 at 03:53 pm

Any McCarthy team always starts a season without urgency and looks unprepared. There were some pushovers in the past when they won, but in general, 2-3 was always a pretty good bet for the first 5 games. Why that is I don't know. But I got the impression last night that McCarthy is absolutely helpless on the sideline. Now, a coach cannot play himself, and sometimes no matter what, has to rely on players to make some plays. But at the same time, there is nothing the Seahawks do on D that surprises anyone. Hoping that Sherrod can single block their best pass rusher on multiple plays is madness. I understand Bulaga may be better, and maybe you can leave him on an island. But not Sherrod. So if the personnel has to change due to injury, it does not help to call the same formations and plays, just substituting another player in. If that other guy was as good, he would start.
I just don't get it. In my job, where ever I was, anything always required a plan B. What if not all goes as planned. what do you do then? certainly not the same thing over and over again.
that is my main criticism, looking at McCarthy throughout the years. He is not very good at adapting to adversity. Next man up does not work in general, plain and simple.

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Bohj's picture

September 05, 2014 at 04:54 pm

Everybody talks about us being unprepared. I doubt that. I honestly see a defense with little to exploit. What weakness does Seattle have with their starters? McCarthy and gang looked at the tape from last year. Manning couldn't figure it out. Sherman is a stud, we get it. He took out our weakest receiver....fine. I'm okay with it. We generated plenty of yards from Cobb and Nelson. What we didn't do is run effectively. That's your dagger. Nothing in the Packer offense works if you can't run. Not against THAT D. Our tackles got abused. Backtiari I'm sure will be fine in years to come. Bulaga would have been fine. Backtiari/Sherrod??? Not against the best D in the league. Its easy to criticize McCarthy and coaches, but don't you think our gameplan regardless of what it is becomes more effective if you have better pass pro and run blocking. Should have run Lacy more???? I'm not so sure. Look at how many third and longs we were in when we were running Lacy. He forced 6 missed tackles on 12 carries and still got zilch. That means, the holes were not there. I'm sorry, but that D did its job.....period. Credit Seattle. Should we have done more slants and screens?.....probably. But that D messed up the best O in the league last year on screens and slants. They are fast as shit and move to the ball faster than any D I've seen. Any team that can run on the Seahawks with success will have a solid chance. We are not that team right now. Sitton and Lang cant do it on their own. Really!??? Baktiari, Linsley, and Sherrod.....Yeah...no.

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FITZCORE1252's picture

September 05, 2014 at 11:58 pm

What kills me is that the schedule came out in april. 5+- months, all that secret time in the Hudson center... and that's what you came up with? I was disappointed to see that. For some reason i was pumped to see something innovative revealed... maybe next week.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 07, 2014 at 09:37 am

I have been living and dying with the Packers since 63, watched a lot of sports. And whether MM actually coached scared or not does matter. What we all saw, intended or not was a game, especially early, where we expected to see some daring play, some passion on the sideline, he'll some team emotion, we saw NOTHING. After all the successive nationally televised embarrassments, touted planning, training camp surprises. . No Penner, no Eliot, Rolle, no Banjo, Perkins . Just the same old shit without Raji. Hawk, Jones, Kuhn , Burnett!!!!!

I saw a better team in the last Preseason Game. We all did. scared yes. Dumb hell yes. If they do not come out with a new lineup and show saw heart next week..... I'll lose it

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Tundraboy's picture

September 07, 2014 at 09:39 am

I think I already have. Sorry for all the typos.

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Tundraboy's picture

September 07, 2014 at 09:43 am

Oh and I even forgot to include Guion and Sherrod. Bench them all.

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pooch's picture

September 11, 2014 at 08:40 pm

You all forget,,,offense has not been the same since Packers went 15-1,then Joe P kid drowned leading into the Packers playoff game. Play calling has sucked since that was Joes last game as coordinator(no not in playoffs were the got a quick boot out) where following year he went to Miami

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