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Taking The Best And Worst Of McCarthy

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Taking The Best And Worst Of McCarthy

I really liked this post from Gene over at Ol' Bag of Donuts. I don't endorse everything he's saying there but there's definitely some good food for thought.

Money quote:

By most accounts, the Packers played admirably without their franchise quarterback in a game no one thought they could win. Once again, they proved they had enough talent to overcome the odds and get to the brink of victory.

The Patriots had enough gumption to win, in spite of whatever talent gap they had. That’s what counts, and that’s why the Packers are continually wishing and hoping they could get to where the Patriots are. And with McCarthy charting the course, I’m not sure they’ll ever arrive.

Like I wrote last week, I completely understand where Gene is coming from here, but I'm not ready to make that final step into "The'll never win it all with McCarthy" Land. (Not saying Gene is totally there either, though it does sound like he's booked his flight)

What gets me a tad upset is the attitude on display in this post from Adam Czech over at Basically, Adam wants to throw the entire Patriots game in the dumpster, throw some gasoline on it, and throw in a lit match and watch it burn.

The game was not the blowout everyone expected it to be. The NBC crew after the game said the Packers have nothing to hang their heads about. Fan reaction split into two factions: Pride in how the Packers overcame injuries and almost beat the New England Patriots and hostility for losing yet another close game.

I’m siding with the angry crowd. If the Packers want to make the playoffs, they will treat Sunday’s loss the same way they treated the Lions’ loss.

Yes, the Packers played well, but losing is nothing to be proud of. The only sport where moral victories count is youth soccer. If the Packers are seriously patting themselves on the back after this game, the season is as good as over.

I don't know why, but that last paragraph really pisses me off.

First of all, go look at this video of Donald Driver after the Patriots game. Does that look like a guy who is "patting himself on the back"? Hell no. This loss hurt these guys worse than you and I will ever know. Fans love to rail on and on about the Packers record in close games under McCarthy - how in the hell do you think the players feel about it? They don't get to turn off the computer and go back to their daily lives - this IS their daily lives. While you and I are on the train to work or in a meeting going over the latest projections or on another boring conference call - these guys are in a dark meeting room going over that game play by excruciating play. Oh sure, some of us like to bust out our DVRs and play pretend, but these guys do it for real, day in and day out. For any fan to think that the players are "patting themselves on the back" after that game is misguided at best and close to offensive at worst.

As for McCarthy, I understand why Adam, Gene and others find certain plays on Sunday night "unacceptable", to use Adam's phrase from his post. But what I don't get is the complete dismissal of the positives we saw on Sunday. All over the Packers blogosphere, in their haste to damn McCarthy, bloggers sweep everything that McCarthy did well out of the way to focus on the things that went wrong.

Look, McCarthy is never going to be a great game manager. He's struggled with clock management from the beginning of his tenure as head coach. I'll never forget a sequence toward the end of the first half against the Cardinals in 2006 when McCarthy completely butchered the clock. Favre had wanted to take a time out and McCarthy wouldn't let him and I remember turning to my wife and saying "Of course. Favre's been doing this a hell of a lot longer than McCarthy. He'll learn." I am, of course, still waiting on that one...

He has improved in other areas. He has a great feel for his team and tends to push the right motivational buttons. The man went into the Patriots' house and almost pulled out a win when the entire football world (and most Packer fans) thought the score would be the end of the first half. But rather than give the guy any credit whatsoever - fans want him fired. It's ridiculous.

"They have no chance against the Patriots. They're nowhere near as good"

Packers play the Pats tough, losing on the final drive.

"The Packers had a chance to win! McCarthy sucks!"

Well, there's a reason they had a chance to win - and that reason is Mike McCarthy.

Good coaches are hard to find - just take a look at the turnover each year around the league if you don't believe me. McCarthy is a good coach. A great one? Not yet. But a good one who is getting better. Remember Bill Cowher? There was a two or three year stretch where Steeler fans wanted him fired too - and then he went and won a Super Bowl and now all anyone talks about is "Super Bowl winning coach Bill Cowher" He was a good, not great, coach who was allowed the time to grow and improve.

Last week, when the Packers lost to the Lions, was the time to be mad at McCarthy. Not after a hard fought game against arguably the best team in the NFL.

Vince Lombardi was famous for getting on his players after they played poorly but won and for pulling back and even giving praise when his team played well but lost. That's exactly where I am with the Packers today. They played well, very well, on Sunday night. Better than almost any Packer fan expected them to play. Yes, I'm proud as hell of the Pack and I hope this loss provides a spark for what turns out to be a deep playoff run.

Because make no mistake - the playoffs, for the Packers anyway, start on Sunday against the Giants.

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Andyman's picture

Preach on!

CounterPoint's picture

"Well, there's a reason they had a chance to win - and that reason is Mike McCarthy."


Jayme Snowden's picture

"But what I don't get is the complete dismissal of the positives we saw on Sunday." - my favorite quote.

I'm pissed over the loss, but there were positives to be taken from the game, and I don't think the people looking at both sides of the game are trying to gloss over anything.

Chad Toporski's picture

You beat me to it! That was my favorite quote, as well.

Just because we are proud of the great things that were accomplished on Sunday doesn't mean we're also proud of the stupid mistakes and the final outcome.

Franklin Hillside's picture

Concur, Jayme.

Should the performance of the running game be dismissed? Sould the fact that we now know our backup QB gives us a chance to win be dismissed? Should the fact that we have found a punter be dismissed? Sould the fact that our beat up D-line without it's best player played very well be dismissed? Should the fact our defense played incredibly well without Nick Collins and starting a 9th string OLB be dismissed?

Yeah, none of that plays any part in the future.

bogmon's picture

I was definitely one to hastily jump to judgment after that for heads, etc.

After having some distance from the emotions of the moment there are definitely some positives to gleen from Sunday night.

1} Matt Flynn just turned into a Golden prize for Ted Thompson to play with this next season.

2} Coach Mike proved to himself that he "CAN" run the ball if he "CHOOSES" to do so.

3} Our Defense can hang with anybody in the league. They did a great job on Brady!

BUT, if they lose to the Giants....I'm gonna get emotional and call for heads all over's what the obsessive sportsfan does 'round here.

Chad Toporski's picture

If they lose to the Giants, I will be calling for heads, as well.

They have shown us they have what it takes to win that game.

Ron LC's picture

6-0 in moral victories! Quick, sign him to an extension.

PackersThad's picture


D.D. Driver's picture

You think all of the losses were moral victories?


Packnic's picture


bigfog's picture

I fully prepared to disagree with you, but you've swayed me.

I do think McCarthy's a good coach, and I really do hope that he learns from mistakes (like clock management) and brings it all together. I think he can do it. This team by all rights probably could've rolled up the mat a while ago like the Vikes last night. But they didn't, and that's all McCarthy right there.

backslash's picture

I just think you hate the last quoted paragraph of Adam's because he pokes fun at soccer...ahem, Fußball.

RockinRodgers's picture

MM has a chance to show people how good a coach he can be in the next two games. If can win these next two games I think he will prove alot of people wrong.

400metres's picture

Exactly. Losing two tough road games can be forgiven if you guide your team to two tough home game wins and get into the playoffs.

Bearmeat's picture

Correction: The last THREE games. If, and only if, they get by CHI in rd 1 of the playoffs, will I call this season a success in SPITE of the injuries.

JerseyCheese's picture

Love the post Nagler. I thought the Patriots game was the BEST game McCarthy coached in his career as well. He kept Brady off the field and had a mixture of great runs and throws to get Flynn comfortable. The SCREEN has got to come back.

That being said, we MUST win these next two games and if we lose one, I could see fans screaming for a coaching change. Fans around here speak out of frustration a bit too much. McCarthy and staff are bringing out the best of a team that has been injured all year round. Can't blame him for losing key players.

packsmack25's picture

They did play well. Because they are a talented team. They should have and did expect to win. It's not like the Packers were some high school squad attempting to beat a pro bowl team. They had a great shot to win, no matter what the idiot pundits that never watch Packer games said before the game.

My problem is not with McCarthy's coaching overall. It's with his game management. No one will ever convince me that a team up 3 should ever kick a field goal in the 4th quarter from the 1 yard line. That is chicken shit, and it rubs off on the players. They could have won that game, and a couple of COACHING decisions prevented them from doing so. As I said previously, you should count on the players making mistakes every game. You should NEVER expect the coaches to do the same. Coaches aren't having to use their brains and bodies at the same time like the players. There is no hand-eye coordination involved.

I like Mike McCarthy. I really do. I just wish he were open to new ideas, because the square peg/round hole stuff he's doing with some of the personnel - and some of the crunch-time decisions he makes - suck.

packsmack25's picture

By the way Aaron, I think this is an excellent post, even if I am giving a dissenting opinion.

packeraaron's picture

Thanks man.

PackersThad's picture

+1 as well

400metres's picture

"No one will ever convince me that a team up 3 should ever kick a field goal in the 4th quarter from the 1 yard line. That is chicken shit, and it rubs off on the players."

While I disagree with your POV that "coaching decisions" are wholly to blame for the loss (I think execution on ST, Woodson's inexplicable drop of an easy INT, and J. Jones' continued failure to play a complete game and finish his routes had a lot to do with it too), I totally agree with your opinion on the 4th and Goal at the one yard line.

Look at the McCarthy who opens the game with an on-sides kick because the Packers "had nothing to lose and everything to gain" considering no one gave the Pack a chance to win. However, by the time that 4th and Goal rolls around, it's late in the game and the team has the lead, and just like that McCarthy starts playing scared - scared because he's worried that he's got something to lose now. And that's no way to coach, particularly against Bill Belichick.

I would have loved to see him take a chance there. Worst case, the Pats have to drive 99 yards in order to take the lead? I'm okay with that.

Oppy's picture

Still can't agree on the "Go for it on 4th and 1 with a 3 pt lead" when there's 13:49 left in regulation.

I would agree with going for it on 4th and 1 if it was a situation where the Packers felt that they may not be able to get the ball back again- Let's say, 2:40 on the clock and the Packers only have one- or no- time outs left. In that situation, hell yes, go for the TD.

But with nearly a full quarter left vs. Tom Brady and the Patriots at Gillette Stadium? I just can't endorse that.

PackersThad's picture

I think it is perfectly rationale to state that the Packers should not be happy with the way the game ended up and it is very rationale for fans to be upset as well. I can understand that some of the Packers looked upset or disappointed at the end of the game, but all the talk (and tons of articles) were setting the tone that the Packers should be proud of how well they played.

The point is, they should not hang their hat on how hard they played. The facts are that the Packers are in the middle of a playoff race (and they are currently on the outside looking in) they have lost two games in a row, the team is making many mistakes and when it comes to playing teams going to the playoffs, the Packers seem to come up short.

Now this is not to say the sky is falling. IT IS NOT. And the Packers do still control their playoff destiny. But my point (and I can assume Adam's point) is that the Packers lost the game against the Patriots and there is no need for us as fans to pat them on the back and say "Good job for almost winning."

I don't want to be painted as a "negative Nellie", but I am not going to congratulate the Packers on keeping the game close.

packeraaron's picture

"I am not going to congratulate the Packers on keeping the game close." - Neither am I, but that's because I gave them a chance to win. Most did not.

Purusam's picture

Interesting post Aaron.
Yes, last game we played well. Good playcalling (first time this season). Yes, we need to improve our STeams, OLine and intensity, but i'm proud of that last game's Packers.

Greetings from Spain. Following you on twitter.
Go Packers.

Jersey Al's picture

I've booked my flight on the "They'll never win it with McCarthy" plane and am currently boarded and waiting for the plane to leave the gate.

Being a poor game-day coach, awful with clock management, and costing your team opportunities to win close games is enough to convince me.

McCarthy would make an excellent "executive" head coach, where he oversees the coordinators. But his stubborness in play calling and poor decisions in big moments means he is not an asset to the team during game time.

I won't go as far as to say he's a detriment during game time, but he sure is not providing that little extra to help his team get over the hump in close games.

Ready for takeoff!

jeremy's picture

Bill Belichick obviously learned a lot about coaching from his time with the Browns. He improved dramatically in all likelihood by looking hard in the mirror and not repeating his past mistakes. It took getting released from his job to force him to see it. I'd put Tony Dungy in that category as well.

"Being a poor game-day coach, awful with clock management, and costing your team opportunities to win close games is enough to convince me."

So far McCarthy has failed to improve in this area. Let's hope he does, because as it stands he's good but not a Super Bowl coach.

andrew's picture

i agree with jersey al... MM would make a fine coordinator.. i liked the article but disagree with it

IdiotFan's picture

He did get them to overtime of the NFC Championship, though he then proceeded to call the "throw the ball to the other team" play, which, in retrospect, was a bad idea.

Franklin Hillside's picture



Brett C's picture

Amen, and I think ppl may be expecting TOO much out of Mccarthy. He has his faults like any coach, but his guys enjoy playing for him & by all accounts seem to respect the shit out of him, which is 1/2 the battle. It should be an easy decision when a team fires their HC & I think MM is still far from that. At least wait until the season is over before calling for his head on a silver platter, bc ill be damned if this team doesn't make a playoff run. A franchise needs stability at the top to be successful, and Mccarthy & Thompson have a beautiful working relationship. They both together got the team this far, so why scrap that now when we're on the brink of greatness?

KEYONTA's picture

its time for a new head coach...

packeraaron's picture

You simply can not argue with this logic. ;)

Ken at UWM's picture

Let's face it: We have excellent offensive (MM) and defensive tacticians (Dom) but no one leading the whole ship, explaining why special teams play, game management and penalties fall through the cracks.

I believe organizations should leave play-calling to the OC so the head guy can focus on 53 guys, not 25.

Cuphound's picture

McCarthy is good, not great. He'll make our team okay, not great. He's a great QB coach. I was quite impressed with Flynn. Still, I liked Mike Sherman better as a head coach, even if he was a crummy GM.

The Pats game was a good game for McCarthy. I was pleased we didn't get our posteriors handed to us. I wasn't pissed off by the outcome at all. The reason is that I believe that we can be good, but not great with McCarthy. Having accepted that has taken a lot of pain out of watching his games, because I'm no longer comparing our present Packers to what I think this group of players <I>could</I> be.

I'll never get why you like him so much, Aaron and I don't need to. But I do feel that the man's character is defined by this point and you're going to have an increasingly harder time selling him to your readers. If he's our coach next year, I believe next year's Packers will look a lot like this year's Packers who still look a lot like last year's Packers. We know what we're getting. It's not awful, it's just not great.

Fans have an appetite for greatness and we've been spoiled for a long while. I think a lukewarm response to McCarthy is understandable under the circumstances.

packeraaron's picture

I'm not "selling" anything, least of all McCarthy. All I'm advocating is letting the season play out and then taking a look at everything objectively, rather than watching a guy coach one of the better games in the NFL this season and calling for him to be fired. It's asinine.

foundinidaho's picture

Amen. (I still love you, Cuphound. :) )

Cuphound's picture

I can buy that, Aaron. I wasn't calling for him to be fired after either the Lions game or after the Pats game. I'm sticking with my current lukewarm feelings about the guy.

All essays attempt to "sell" insofar as they attempt to persuade. No offense was intended by that metaphor. I apologize if I gave any derogatory impressions about your motives. Such impressions were not intended.

I do feel that your appraisal of McCarthy over the past few years has been, on the whole, more positive than negative, despite the man's, well, shall we say "frustrating" characteristics?

That said, despite your deeply entrenched value for calm in the face of adversity, you yourself, on occasion, have given into a sports fan's almost inexorable rhetorical desire to call for the head of the perceived culprit. Remember Tampa Bay. I feel that momentary lapse on your part is better evidence of that of the man's frustrating character than it is of any hypocrisy on your part.

You are correct that the impulse to guillotine needs to be governed. But it is important to at least have compassion for what is a very natural feeling, one to which you are not immune. Nor should you be. These is glory in a fan's passion.

I would really love to hear how you think a fan should make this sort of decision about whether or not they believe in the coach of their beloved team. I say that in complete and utter sincerity and in the spirit of furthering what I consider to be a rich debate with someone for whom I have a great deal of respect.

P.S. I love you too, Colleen!!!! Merry Christmas!

ZaphodBeeblebrox's picture

Good of you to bring up Bill Cowher - he's the example of a coach that was allowed to do the job for a number of years - didn't he finally win a Super Bowl in his 13th or 14th year on the job?

For years the penalty issues have plagued the Packers (and have at times this season), but, by and large, that's much less of a problem than it used to be. That tells me that McCarthy can and will change.

Now, the three areas that must change are Special Teams (should have happened last year, anyone who saw Slocum's "presentation" at FanFest knew the guy was not going to get it done), Offensive Line (like ST, should have happened last year), and, if not the strength and conditioning coordinator (Mark Lovat), then the program (way too many injuries this year, I can't believe they're this unlucky with all of the shoulder and other injuries).

McCarthy is not going to get fired this offseason. Given all of the injuries, TT has to give him a pass for one more year. But, McCarthy needs to change - give up playcalling to someone (Philbin or Clements), become the true game manager.

If we have one more underperforming season (we all know this team, if/when healthy, has the ability to be dominant in this league) with McCarthy, I agree he's in trouble next year. But I think he can grow, and will be given the opportunity...

Bad Knees's picture

Your analysis is spot on!!! And, if McCarthy does not improve in these areas the team will not progress.

"Now, the three areas that must change are Special Teams (should have happened last year, anyone who saw Slocum’s “presentation” at FanFest knew the guy was not going to get it done), Offensive Line (like ST, should have happened last year), and, if not the strength and conditioning coordinator (Mark Lovat), then the program (way too many injuries this year, I can’t believe they’re this unlucky with all of the shoulder and other injuries)".

Andy's picture

Good article. Some other things I like about McCarthy:
1. The job he has done this year adapting to the injuries has been very good.
2. His teams usually get better as the year goes on. Even this year, while missing 8 starters. (Compare this to Vikings teams under their string of bad coaches that started great but faded.)
Those are both signs of good coaching.
I think the better comparison for MM is Andy Reid. Like MM, Reid is pass-happy coach who can put togther a great game plan. Unfortunately, they both have trouble managing the game once it starts.
We will see if either Reid or MM can learn to overcome these failings and go from good to superbowl-winning coaches.

Billy D's picture

Bottom line: MM does way more good for this team than bad. I am angry about the loss too: the day was set up perfectly for us to get into favorable playoff position. All the teams that we needed losses from chokes - Tampa, the Giants, even the Saints. But if you're angry, go back and look at the game. I am mad that Charles Woodson dropped the easiest interception opportunity he is ever going to get. I am upset that three packers crashed into each other and let a 300 pound man run 72 yards on a kick return. I am upset that James Jones stopped running his route. The big plays in the game, leading up to the final drive, the game-changing plays that ultimately led to the loss, were not on McCarthy's play calling or clock management. If you want to say "McCarthy should have prepared his players better" or "McCarthy's players need to be more disciplined," then that's fine. It's my opinion that McCarthy actually prepared his team exceptionally well. It came down to a few key plays that were inexcusable. But to say that McCarthy has got to go because of that game is absurd. McCarthy is an extremely popular coach with his players, as well, especially with Aaron Rodgers. Irregardless of this playoff run, if it does or does not happen, McCarthy needs to be back next year. With a healthy team, I don't want to spend the next year or two in a rebuilding phase when we could easily be a top team in the NFC next year.

JohnRehor's picture

I just dont understand the wanting to fire McCarthy fascination. It seems like every week this guy has a pink slip handed to him by legions of people.

Considering that roughly 25% of his roster is on injured reserve, he has the Packers positioned to make the playoffs. Yes he has received some help from the Eagles and Lions to put them in the position to control their playoff destiny, but they're there. Win and they're in. Not too shabby.

Fans can complain about the lack of success in close games, but Holmgren had a losing record in close games too, and he is seen as an untouchable in the eyes of many. the frustration of losing the close games is often based more on emotion than anything else. 5-16 is not acceptable in close games, but who's to say someone else wouldnt do just as poorly? We don't know.

Do I think McCarthy will win a Super Bowl with the Packers? No I don't. I also don't think he should be seen as a pariah after every loss.

Adam Czech's picture


If you don't think McCarthy can win a SB w/ the Packers, then why would you want to keep him around?

andrew's picture

hahaha lol that made me laugh

JohnRehor's picture

Which coach should we summon to lead us to Super Bowl glory?

Zaphod Beeblebrox's picture

If you truly don't think McCarthy can take us to the promised land, then why do you think he should remain the head coach?

Oppy's picture

I think the point is, you don't just fire someone who's doing a good-but-not-great job if you don't have someone to replace him with who is "Guaranteed" to do a Great job.

Someone else also made the point that uprooting the coaching staff also would set back the program at least two years.. That's two years with a slew of our players in their Prime.

I'm not saying MM is the answer, but he's not horrible. And unless we have the line on the Big Tuna or someone else of that caliber, firing McCarthy because he is good but not great doesn't make a lot of sense.

Adam Czech's picture

My post was not intended as a fire McCarthy piece. I like McCarthy (see here:

And I also thought the Packers could win Sunday, that's why I'm not proud of the loss. If I thought they had no shot, sure, then I might be proud of how they played.

Proud is such a bad word to use after a loss -- any loss -- involving a professional team. I see everyone's point, but there is no pride in losing. None. You can be encouraged, but please don't be proud.

I don't like the direction the Packers fan base is heading if they are proud after a loss. This team sold us on being Super Bowl contenders this season. Three months later we're telling them we're proud after another close loss?

Sorry, I have higher standards than that.

packeraaron's picture

"This team sold us on being Super Bowl contenders this season." Why were you buying?

Look, I understand your point and would probably agree in most circumstances regarding "pride" - but I'm sorry, there were way too many people, and WAY too many Packer fans, burying this team before the game even began. I'm proud as hell of McCarthy and Matt Flynn, who I've spent the last three years defending from idiot fans who wanted to bring in Jake freekin' Delhomme, for punching the Pats in the mouth.

All that matters are the next two games. If they come out on Sunday and look terrible, then I'll be pissed. But being upset over a game where they played well when no one gave them a shot is absurd. And forbidding fans to be proud of their team is asinine.

Adam Czech's picture

Cute Little Team Syndrome.


packeraaron's picture

Like I said - asinine.

Adam Czech's picture

Set the bar higher.

packeraaron's picture

What's higher than wanting to win a championship? I don't care how they get there. Again, can we let the season play out? Am I pissed they lost? Hell yes. That doesn't diminish the good things that happened on the football field Sunday night.

Adam Czech's picture

If we're not allowed to offer critiques, opinions and rants during the season, then why do you run this fine website?

Shouldn't you just let things play out before opining?

packeraaron's picture

I run it to give my opinion on anything and everything I want - like your blog post. ;)

Adam Czech's picture

MY blog posts? That's picking low-hanging fruit. Like I said, set the bar higher!


IdiotFan's picture

For the record, he's not talking about me...

aussiepacker's picture


jeremy's picture

One of the best things about Aaron and Brian and that they stick around to talk about their posts.

BigbyATTACK's picture

This comment, as well as the entire article in general, are excellently put, Aaron. You remember when my belief in these guys was compared to a "speech I'd give my 4 year old's basketball team." Some people you just won't be able to convince, some you will, and some just flat out don't need to be. Those folks are on board start to finish, sink or swim. Not only am I proud of our Packers and their ability to turn heart into a force of nature, but I'm proud of you and all the Packer FAITHFUL that ride together, and die together. Sorry, Eli, but that players only meeting you just had is futile. You're coming to the frozen tundra, and you won't like what you see and feel. :)

IdiotFan's picture

Let's hope it goes better than last time Eli came to town!

bogmon's picture

Packers fans wanted Jake Delhomme?
Now THAT is asinine!

Timbo's picture

"This team sold us on being Super Bowl contenders this season"

I'm not sure what you mean. There was a lot of media hype about the Pack, and some sportswriters picked them to go all the way. But the team can't control that. Every team's goal is to win the Super Bowl, so you can't fault the Pack for stating that as a goal.

"Sorry, I have higher standards than that."

Sorry, I just can't get on board with this kind of condescending blowhardism.

Adam Czech's picture

Remember the stetsons, Super Bowl or Die and YOTTO? The blame the media card doesn't fly.

You enjoy the participation ribbon the Packers received for showing up last Sunday. The rest of us condescening blowhards will continue holding out for a Lombardi trophy.

Asshalo's picture

Honestly, I am extremely sick of the fire McCarthy rhetoric on both sides. It just sucks people into arguements where they're defending an idea instead of perceiving reality. Right now McCarthy is walking a fine line being bad and greatness. On one side, the Cowher comparrisons are just wrong. The guy has won one superbowl. On the other, the Forrest Gregg comparrisons are just as dumb. He's well over .500 in his tenure here.

I lack faith in the guy, but I wouldn't bet against him. Though the packers play under him is volatile, his players don't give up on him. He's deliveried with his back against the wall (in 2009 and 2010) and had just as many, maybe more, meltdowns (2008 and 2010).

Right now I am in a place where I feel I am justified in criticizing him up to this point, but I'm haven't written this team's chance off of winning a super bowl, this year especially. They're talented enough, they have the QB, and the defense.

I have a terrible feeling in my Stomach McCarthy's success from 2009 to now has been a result of Ted Thompson and Dom Capers. But is that really going to be a valid arguement if they rattle off 6 straight? Of course not.

In the context of the guy's career he's proven enough to have a job until this point and he's really going to have to have a massive letdown to merit his termination. In which, case we'll have to wait and evaluate his performance next year. So if this is where the packer fan/media discourse is heading, I think I am going to have to change the channel a bunch this off-season.

D.D. Driver's picture

"I have a terrible feeling in my Stomach McCarthy’s success from 2009 to now has been a result of Ted Thompson and Dom Capers."

This is the meme that I don't understand. I put Capers right along side McCarthy in the good but hasn't put it all together camp.

The dirty little secret is that the defense has more talent (by quite a distance) than the offense. Woodson, Williams, Collins, Matthews, Raji all have an excellent chance to go to the Pro Bowl this year. This is not to mention guys like Jenkins and Pickett. Capers is doing a good job, but its not like he has a bunch of scrubs to work with like fans act.

And yet, how many times do we see opposing offenses convert 3 and 12 when the Packers need a stop?

My point is not to dog Capers. In fact, I don't even know if I have a point other than the defense is as big a problem with respect to the culture of coming "this close" as the offense.

Also, Packer fans have become so conditioned to thinking that the offense is loaded with talent and the defense is a work in progress that they have missed out on the fact that the complete opposite is now true. Aside from Rodgers and Sitton (and maybe Jennings), who are the potential Pro Bowlers on the offense? And yet, the offense is still pretty productive.

You take the good, you take the bad, something something the facts of life. The facts of life.

packeraaron's picture

Perfect point here. I also think the defense is much stronger up front, even with the losses of Neal and Jenkins, than the offensive line as a whole.

jeremy's picture

Mike Trgovac is one hell of a coach who can step right in at DC if Capers gets hired away.

WoodyG's picture

Or promoted.

IdiotFan's picture

If I remember correctly, Trgovac had no 3-4 experience before coming here. Promoting him if Capers left would be like (to use a hypothetical example) bringing in someone who knows the ZBS and implementing it, then losing that coach to a college HC position, then continuing to run the ZBS with people who had just learned it. I don't know if that's a great idea.

asshalo's picture

It's easy. Capers wasn't at fault for any close losses prior to 2009, whereas that was year one of McCarthy's meltdowns.

And this year, look at where Green Bay stands in Points Allowed. You can't honestly believe the defense could be doing much more. Even in a game that seemed bad, they were realistically only at fault for 17 points (kick return and pick six) against the highest scoring team in the league. The biggest criticism anyone has is the charles Woodson drop.

17, 13, 16, 20, 20, 17 (sorry I don't fault them for giving up 4 yards on the td before half). That is how many points the defense has given up in looses, while being among the leagues leaders in INTs.

I don't think you could have asked the defense to have done more this season, while I cannot say the same for the offense and special teams.

D.D. Driver's picture

But when the team needed the defense to stop the Patriots, the Patriots moved the ball at will. The Bears were in 2nd and 20 from the Packer 46 and Cutler throws a 21 yard pass with 2 minutes left. The Redskins moved the ball right down the field in the fourth quarter.

Even against Atlanta, sure the Falcons had a short field, but one defensive stop and the game at least goes into overtime.

Looking at ppg is overly simplistic when so many of those points are scored in the fourth quarter. The defense has had opportunities to win games and they seem to always come up short. (And of course when defense does force a big three and out, the offense can't put it together on the next drive. That's just way it has gone. I don't know what the answer is.)

packeraaron's picture

I tend to agree with you on this overall point, but the Patriots game is not one of these instances. Pats got the ball with a little over 4 mins remaining and the defense got off the field with a three and out.

Asshalo's picture

I get what you're saying, they play well and let down at the worst possible moment. I just don't think that applies to the defense at all. When you look at time of possession, especially in losses, I am very surprised they're not giving up more points.

I think ATL is a bad example because no one looks back at that game and blames the defense for giving up a field goal. They blame special teams almost entirely.

I also can't believe you're citing the redskins game. They gave up 13 points in regulation and absolutely dominated the game until Matthews went out late. That game should not have even been close given what the offense had to work with-- washington's defense is terrible.The only game I agree with that is Chicago, where they couldn't go one play without getting flagged.

Looking at points is not simplistic when you look at total points allowed at each game individually. The only way that arguement holds is if you believe the offense should be playing it extra safe when it has a lead, so it doesn't make a mistake and give the ball away. Not that the offense is intentionally doing this. It's just I believe given what they have to work with, you can't ask them to do more.

Asshalo's picture

Also, I don't think the defense's points allowed in the fourth quarter is unacceptable, even when comparred against other teams-- Especially when the offense has been one of the worst teams in the league in fourth quarter points. If anything they're doing well with what they have to work with.

Asshalo's picture

And I also don't see how you can argue the defense hasn't had that many significant injuries when you're 6th string LB (Zombo) going out is considered a blow. I've never seen them this depleted at LB.

Asshalo's picture

You obviously have a good point about giving up points/plays at critical times, I just think it's trumped by their points allowed (not average, in each individual loss) and their turnover production.

DaveK's picture

If the Packers lose two more close games (at home) and finish 8-8 will you be ready to call for his head? More importantly, will Ted Thompson?

packeraaron's picture

Really depends on how those games lay out, but at least then we'd have a full body of work to look at. One playoff victory over the course of 4 (5) years is not encouraging to be sure and I would think 2011 would be "win or else".

Franklin Hillside's picture

He did have a bye one year, so that's kind of like two victories.

Wait, is a bye a different type of moral victory?

jeremy's picture

No, I'm a bye is much better than a moral one.

Ted Thompson's picture

Thanks for asking Dave. No, I will not be firing Mike, even if we lose these last two games.

Bearmeat's picture


glorious80s's picture

No. And I actually think they will likely lose the next two. Too much to overcome. Things are not falling for them this year with teams like the Bears and Bucs emerging. It happens that way sometimes.
Still it would be a mistake to make a change. MM seems a right fit for this team, for the way TT choses to build it with young talent and for many of the reasons previously stated.
This is a really exciting, beautiful offense when in sync. Same for Capers' D. They seem a great combination.
MM appears to have the potential to be a really fine HC and I'd like him to do it in GB. Yes, there are issues. Hope he can solve the problems. Maybe he needs to fire the clock manager.
To replace MM, you have to have someone else in mind and I don't like the names I'm hearing. Cower is old school, a grind it out philosophy when the league is going pass crazy. Nor is a run first style right for an offense that in GB has become a tradition, namely a great passing attack with good QBs. Gruden wore out his welcome with the players and fans in Tampa. After his SB, it was all downhill. You see how Shanahan is faring with his player issues. We could do worse. Or do you go with another coordinator as a HC in training?
I bought into the SB hype and am hugely disappointed in how things shook out. that's the breaks. So, GB reloads and goes for next season, whenever that may be given the labor issues. TT find us some finds, again.

Paul Ott Carruth's picture

Gruden would be my top choice only because he's the closest thing to the Walsh tree that's available....and has a body of work that is pretty good....when he has the trigger man of course. Other than him, I could see Charlie Weiss as possible replacement. I think he's a better play caller than McCarthy. Look at the work he's done in KC. Look at the work he did in NE (I'll respond in kind when someone throws out "but Notre Dame" is not the pro's). He uses the short game pretty good. Pete Carmichel at New Orleans might be a potential candidate from a play calling perpsective but does he have the "chops" to be the big enchilada? Can't say.

Even though I believe it is getting to the point where it is put up or shut up time for McCarthy we can't make a change for the sake of making a change, otherwise we'll end up with Ray Rhodes 2.0 or worse. Steve Spurrier anyone? Yikes.

Glorious80s's picture

Is Charlie Weiss a HC, though? ND, yes, ND, seems to indicate not. There he recruited, built the team as it were, and could not bring it home within the collegiate ranks.
Aren't we back to where we were in 2006 with Carmichel? Gruden did not get along with his players, media or fans. Nor could he find a QB among the cast of QBs he assembled. And he had a great DC.
It takes time to build a program the way TT is doing. There seems to be little patience these days.
Obviously, there are problems that have to be addressed. Let's see what happens.

PkrNboro's picture

"Look, McCarthy is never going to be a great game manager."

I really look to a HC to be a game manager, more so than a play caller. Many years ago, it was in vogue to be the HC and GM -- not so much these days. I wonder if the time has run out on the HC/Off-play-caller, as well -- especially for McCarthy. After 5 years, these situational late game events don't seem to be improving.

If game management is a problem, then why not focus on the game, the players, and the play? instead of relaying calls, checking star charts, etc. By focusing on the charts, I think McCarthy gets consumed with theory/down-and-distance stuff, and loses sight of a player's strength or weakness, whether on his team or the opponent.

PkrNboro's picture

...but I think the focus on McCarthy and game management disguises a more fundamental problem: this team is not balanced. If it were more balanced, games wouldn't be decided by 4pts or less and hinge on stellar 2-minute-drill performance.

A run/pass balance takes pressure off the pass game, the defense (which has double the number of players on IR, when compared to the offense), and special teams. With less pressure on the defense, it's possible there are fewer injuries, which would enhance ST play.

But a balance can't be achieved with this oLine, as they are a liability in the rushing game -- based on the entire season. Not so much in the passing game, where the shotgun formation can hide some of their faults.

While depth at TE and WR is good, the same can't be said for the oLine. It has been regressing and new talent has not been acquired or developed -- Moll, Barbre, Giacomini, and Meredith either didn't have it to start, or didn't get developed. The lack of depth or talent really shows with Colledge -- a guy that's started every game for 4 years and doesn't get a whiff of interest from other teams, and is signed to a minimal, one-year contract. Yet, nobody can beat him out for the starting spot. The lack of depth is also underlined with the money thrown at Clifton and Tauscher.

The cupboard is bare. If two new contributors can be found for the oLine, then I think GB will prosper. If not, look for more of the same.

bogmon's picture

the 2008 season played out really similar to this season too. Fans blamed Rodgers for not winning the close games, but to me it seems like the Coach may be more to blame.

Talent levels are so similar on all levels throughout the league that it takes someone with just a little sumthin' extra to get to the top of the mountain. McCarthy is very talented, but something keeps holding him back from just 'goin' for it' in these close games.

He's too conservative, and honestly I believe he over-thinks things. If he were to act with balls over brains a few more times per game this team would have been in much better shape over the past three seasons...

Before that he had Favre to change his decisions at the line.

Doug In Sandpoint's picture

Really think we will win these next two and prove that MM is good enough to get back to back wild cards. I also don't mind the likely playoff opponents...think about it. We can beat the Bears, then go back to their house and beat them again, proving how overrated they are. I think we beat Atlanta in the rematch. Keep the Pats gameplan because we may need it in Dallas. I like our chances there too.

The key in all these games will be getting up early so that the inevitable boneheaded clock management doesn't kill us. With this team (and this coach) this is a distinct possibility.

cinchcowboy86's picture

With the guys the packers lost on IR this season the packers shouldn't even be in the playoff hunt. And for them to have a chance at the playoffs, MM needs a lot of credit. A lot of people didn't like his response to the clock management on that last drive and rightly so. But I'm confident things would have went a lot better with Arod.

andrew's picture

.. well i made my opinion clear the other day. and i stand by it.. the head coach has to manage the game.. he acts like an offensive coordinator during the game and it kills us he cant do both he has had 5 years and hasnt gotten better at it.. the penalties arent as bad.. 1 improvement OH LAWD.. coaching is the difference in games decided by 4 or less 7 out of 10 times.. our team has been "super bowl ready" for 2 years now.. and we are barely making the playoffs losing games we have no reason to lose.. and unable to beat teams in close games..
yeah yeah matt flynn to be honest matt flynn is a solid quarterback that could start on another team.. and i mean that and im not the only person that thought so.. so why is that your reason for MM being great?.. he finally called a game the way it should be called... which is 30ish runs to 40ish passes and the offense was moving up and down the field.. yet MM never does that when rodgers is healthy. and that shouldnt be a problem.. TT has this team covered in talent.. one person gets hurt and to be honest u cant tell a difference. the only one that effected our game was ryan grant.. and i think that was more because MM didnt want to run the ball rather than jackson could not finley went down.. and then rodgers finally started throwin the ball to jennings.. capers who really has gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to injuries.. has this defense playing like the backbone of the team... when the offense was supposed to be the backbone... yet its not.. the offense has 3 injuries... tausch finley and grant... all of this injured reserve nonsense happens on the defensive side of the ball.. and the defense is what carries this team... capers is the coach making the difference.. not MM

greenbaypackerbob's picture

The bias: I've not been a MM fan for some time because of his overall decision making over the last few years (not one or two games).
That said, he did one hell of a job managing the team against the Pats in this game while in hostile territory with a new QB. I actually thought he might pull a rabbit out of the hat! What a boost that could have been for the whole team and the season
But unfortunately, a familiar consistency showed up in the last 60 seconds of the game when a green QB leaning on his coach for the winning knock out punch had it blocked by their own confusion about play clocks and plays. (Isn't that what coaches suppose to manage on the sidelines--- outside of the fray of the fight on the field?). The Pats were ripe for the picking ... but we failed. Playoff wins are MM's only redemption imo.

Ryeguy812's picture

I think it was Bedard who was always keen on pointing out that cutting a player (in this case a coach) is all well and good if you can find a better replacement. It was the argument he used when talking about GB cutting Jon Ryan before the 2008 season and its the argument I'll point out here in regards to MM. Any coach you hire is going to be a gamble and can backfire in true Derrick Frost fashion.
Anyway, despite every close loss, injury, and bad decision made by this team, they are in the driver's seat and will have noone to blame but themselves if they drop one of these two last games.

andrew's picture

for the record... i do not think bill cower is this great coach.. nd dont know that i would want him over MM... i do not follow the steelers.. he could have had a lot of problems like a bad team they could have been rebuilding.. in which case i dont blame you for taking 16 years to win teh super bowl... but these are things i do not know about nd cant speak of.. what i can speak of is the fact that MM has a super bowl ready team.. that has played in 1 playoff game in 5 years... losses to teams that it should beat and manages to lose almost every game that comes down to the wire... is that really what we want?... really?.. he called a good game as a coordinator against the pats.. but if rodgers was healthy he would not have called the same kind of game.. his clock management is terrible.. which is what a HC needs to be able to do.. and his play calling isnt really that great most of the time.. it was good because rodgers was hurt but next week when he is back we wont see 30 runs.. everyone says oh it took cower 16 yeras to win a superbowl... DO YOU REALLY WANT TO WAIT THAT LONG?! 16 years! thats forever! our team wont be a superbowl ready team for 16 years.. he needs to make super bowl runs NOW while our team is arguably the best team talent wise in the league... i do not want to be the chargers.. where every year we make a late push to try and win the division or make wildcard.. and then fizzle out in the playoffs.. the chargers head coach should have been fired years ago.. i do not want to wait till rodgers has a few years left to say.. hmm maybe we should have got rid of MM after the first 5 years of him succeeding to do NOTHING! what has he done since he got here? he lost in the playoffs to the cards.. and then managed to fail to make the playoffs every other year.. first it was oh favre just doesnt have it in him anymore.. (he then went to the playoffs with the jets and the vikings) then rodgers was inexperienced then it was just a bad call... then it was injuries... how many excuses can you all handle before you say you know what.. maybe you arent the right HC for this team.. nd no MM does not use those excuses.. but we as fans do.. and imo its stupid.. we might have the will to win.. but we fail to execute whenever it matters speaking of that.... WHY IS SLOCUM STILL HERE! he should have been gone years ago why on earth is he here.. i blame MM for that too he should have said wow our special temas is terrible byeeeee slocum nd found someone else im sorry but how hard is it to make a decent special teams.. ITS NOT your best tacklers are in the middle your fastest guys are on the edges and they are told to make sure you turn the runner to the inside you practice them staying in their lanes.. special teams is supposed to be the easiest coaching job in the world..

Zaphod Beeblebrox's picture

I'm not advocating that we wait for 16 years for another shot at a Super Bowl. I compared McCarthy to Cowher, I don't want to get Cowher (although we do run his defensive scheme).

I'm of the mindset that McCarthy gets another crack at things in 2011 with a healthy team (strength and conditioning changes), some coaching changes (ST, OL) and ceding playcalling to either the OC or the QB coach. If the team still can't get over the hump, and win close games, then yeah it's time to make a change.

Ed's picture

Great coaches take great chances at certain times. I agreee with a previous writer that said 4th and goal on the 1 and you kick a FG? As the immortal Lomabrdi once said.."If you can't make one yard you don't deserve to win". Punch it home and let your team and the world know you mean business.

McFarty needs to go. The window of opportunity with a top notch QB can close fast in the NFL. I'd rather ride Rodgers with another coach than clueless Mike. Bring on Cowher or Gruden..TT needs to put his sorry ass ego aside and let a real football person run the team.
And as for TT..the football version of Billy Beane. Grant goes down and we don't have a decent RB backup?
the Giants are going to come to play with a good defense that I guarantee will not fold again.

packeraaron's picture

I love it. You want to get rid of McCarthy - because they have Rodgers. McCarthy MADE Rodgers...but never mind all that.

Ed's picture

LOL!! McFarty made Rodgers? Yeah ok...hitting the egg nog early I see.

packeraaron's picture

You're right. He was a Top 5 QB his rookie year during the preseason. How could I have been so blind?

IdiotFan's picture

No, no, no, it was Brent's tutelage that made Aaron what he is today, not McCarthy's.

Paul Ott Carruth's picture

Some people just don't look at things in totality. Anybody can see that McCarthy is a great developer of quarterbacks. That was a missing part since Holmgren left town. I think, though, many people are displeased with his play calling abilities and use of personnel. I know I am and I think that displeasure is warranted.

packeraaron's picture

Of course, and I agree - in some instances. I tend to think he gets caught up in his playcard a bit too much. But I also think there's a whole hell of a lot more to being a head coach in the NFL than calling plays for the offense and he does well in some of those areas.

Zaphod Beeblebrox's picture

Sherman got fired mostly because Ted saw, and believed, that Sherman and Rossley could NOT develop Rodgers.

Look at McCarthy's work with Rich Gannon (late 90's w/Chiefs), Aaron Brooks (1999 GB then 2000-2004 in NO), and Aaron Rodgers (who looked worlds better in the preseason in 2007 than the hopeless rook he was in 2005 and 2006). You also have to give Tom Clements some credit as well, but McCarthy knows what he is doing at developing QB talent - if you can't see that, you don't have a good grasp on reality.

IdiotFan's picture

If you are angry at TT, even after this year, I don't know what to tell you...

Ed's picture

Grant goes down and there no decent backup? Yes TT great job...Julius Peppers woudld have looked good in a Packer uniform.

packsmack25's picture

So many things wrong with this reply that I don't even know where to start.

Ed's picture

Why don't you go get your shine box?

Keep living in a fantasy world where being mediocre every year is good enough.

packsmack25's picture

I tell you what - I'll get my shine box, and you crawl back into your dumpster.

I'm not a proponent of mediocrity. But to blame Thompson for ANY struggles the team has had is quite possibly the most ignorant thing anyone could ever do. Surely, it's Thompson's fault that half the starting roster is on IR. Get a clue.

Ed's picture

Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson are about as usefull as our dear beloved President.

packeraaron's picture

Um, they are on their 5th starting outside linebacker because of injuries and the defense has played well all year. God forbid you give Thompson credit for the GOOD depth as well as criticize the LACK of depth.

Ed's picture

At times the defense has played great at times it has not. At the end of the day this the one cares about a teams injuries. Boo hoo.
Excuses are like a**holes..every seems to have one.

Austin Auch's picture

Come on, look how Lynch came in and saved the Seahawks running game. Clearly he would have done the same for us.

Paul Ott Carruth's picture

If we we're running the bet. How do you think Peppers would look covering seams in a fire zone or dropping 10-15 on the numbers from play to play? Catch a clue.

cow42's picture

I don't know - that dude's pretty athletic.
Every bit the athlete as Mathews.

Clay Toporski's picture

Are people seriously still questioning TT? Wow, grow a brain...

WoodyG's picture

You're being too harsh on people questioning TT ..... Although TT has amassed alot of talent on the team, there are two facts that can't be avoided .....

Grant went down ...... The running game is basically ignored due to several factors but one obvious factor is the lack of a quality RB behind Grant ....

Finley went down ..... The TE position goes from a featured position to an obscure &amp; generally unproductive part of the offense ......

Either one &amp; both of these possibilities were obvious before game 1 of the season ...... Unfortunately, they both happened .... It's on TT, he's the personnel guy.

Clay Toporski's picture


No offense, but who would you have picked up off the street to fill in for Finley or Grant and be as productive?

Everyone can sit around and blame TT for not picking someone up - but they can never say who he should have picked up.

I mean, how many free agents do you know that are as productive as Finley and fit right into the Packer's scheme? Please, tell me one that is available.

Ditto for Ryan Grant - and don't say Marshawn Lynch. The guy is a bust at Seattle and cost way too much. What would you rather have, Marshawn Lynch getting 2.2 or Jackson. Not to mention, with Jackson, the Packers get to keep their 3rd round draft pick.

I mean, do you people understand that you can't just pick up talent off the street to match talent you lost???

WoodyG's picture

It was obvious that if Finley went down, GB's offense would suffer until it adjusted .... It still hasn't adjusted ...... I have no idea who would have been a better BU TE ..... I was never sold on the 'theory' that GB's TEs were deep ....

You can't prorate Lynch's performance in Seattle to what his performance in GB may have been ...... Again, when Grant went down, TT did nothing ..... Inaction is usually always the wrong decision ....

My choice would have been T. Choice .... I have no idea if a trade was feasible but at the time he was the 3rd RB in Dallas .....

Hey, I'm a TT supporter (for years) but he has his flaws .... Face it, TT's idea of being bold is moving up in the draft ..... He loves the status quo.

WoodyG's picture

I was never looking for 'equal' to Finley &amp; Grant ..... Just better than Lee, Crabtree, Quarless (unproven rookie) &amp; BJ, Kuhn, Nance &amp; Starks (unproven rookie) .....
A huge portion of the offense became questionable because of TT's inaction ..... Entering 2010, GB was on the cusp ..... You have to play the odds even if it means you don't have a full complement of draft picks in 2011 ......

Clay Toporski's picture

"You have to play the odds even if it means you don’t have a full complement of draft picks in 2011……"

I was willing to let your comments go until I read this part.

Seriously? You would rather use a draft pick to trade for someone to fill a spot for one year?

You would sacrifice the future of your team to try and help them for one year?

Not to mention the fact that the Packers, even with all the injuries, had every opportunity to be 14-0 right now.

They may still have some growing to do, but the Packers don't need to sacrifice the future of their team for right here and right now - that is for the Minnesota Vikings - and look how good they are right now.

You know how TT played the odds? He kept FOUR TIGHT ENDS on the active roster. He put Starks on the PUP list. And he brought in Dimitri Nance.

I guess if they aren't high profile players they aren't good enough for you, but I'll take my chances that TT and his scouts know a little more about football than you.

WoodyG's picture

You can't deny that GB has holes at both TE &amp; RB since Grant/Finley went down ....

You're worried about the future .... At some point in time, the future has to be now .....

WoodyG's picture

14-0 ????

..... But they aren't .... They are 8-6 &amp; one more loss puts them on the outside ..... You're making excuses ....

Ruppert's picture

Unless we end up in the Super Bowl, the 2010 Packers will always stick in my mind as the team that fell short because of horrible special teams. We could well be 12-2 and resting guys next week if we don't punt to Hester, don't miss a 53 yard FG against Wash, don't line head-up over center against Miami and don't let some fat guy run 80 yards Sunday night.

I criticize McCarthy quite a bit. But I don't think he should be fired. I do think he should consider giving up playcalling and spend more time in-game actually coaching. And if the above does not take place, we would be 12-2 and McCarthy would be pushing Smith for Coach of the Year. And unlike many, I don't automatically pin the Special Teams mess on the head coach. I'm bummed about Sunday night simply because the same things that always kill us did once again.

NoWayJose's picture

+1. Dont forget the Eric Weems things either.

Also, can we all just agree never to mention the fat-man-kick-return ever again? I dont think I've been more demoralized by a play in my life. How does Slocum sleep at night????

Ruppert's picture

Why does that HAVE to happen against the Packers? If 31 other teams give up that return, I'd have the replay looping as background on my laptop. Instead, I'm forced to get sick whenever I see it. It ain't fair, man...

PkrNboro's picture

I've seen some ST plays where a player will just stand around, if the play doesn't come to his direction. Sure he has his "lane" covered, but there has to be 11 people taking responsibility to make the tackle.

Another ST memory will be during the Hester return, where Hawk is running like he's in a PLAY60 commercial. He gets knocked on his ass.

I'll have to re-watch the NE game to figure out why QJohnson put his head down and blocked one of our guys...

Paul Ott Carruth's picture

McCarthy has hitched his trailer to Slocum so he deserves just as much of the blame if not more. If you see that the Titanic is sinking ever so slowly in to the Atlantic do you sit idly by listening to the sweet sounds of the violins playing thinking everything is fine and dandy or do you find the nearest life boat and head for safety?

Ruppert's picture

So is McCarthy supposed to fire Slocum mid-season? No way. Should he have fired him prior to this season? Maybe, but I'm not sure Slocum was so horrible last year that he deserved to be fired after only one year on the job.

In hindsight, it's easy to say McCarthy shouldn't have promoted him to begin with, but ultimately the special teams coach is responsible for the special teams. Slocum should, and probably will burn for this year's mess.

JimR_in_DC's picture

McCarthy hired special teams coach Stock and his assistant Slocum back in 2006. Our special teams have sucked most of the time since these hires. Why would he replace Stock with Slocum? What do they say about the definition of insanity?

I wanted Slocum coaching somebody else's special teams after last season. In two weeks, I hope McCarthy (if he's still with us) will make a clean break from this failed experiment.

Zaphod Beeblebrox's picture

If the lineman's 70+ yard return isn't enough for Shawn Slocum to get fired, I don't know what is...

Austin Auch's picture

I love how you are always a voice of reason Aaron, great post for all that is being said from fans.

That being said my biggest problem with mike is his ability to adjust and Sunday nights game was the perfect example. Sunday nights game unlike the loss to the Lions had no curve balls. Mike had a game plan going in, stuck to it and never had to alter anything. That is why we played so well. The Lions game and the Washington game were the two biggest games to show McCarthy still has a long way to go. Finley goes down and we look lost, Rodgers goes down and we are still throwing bombs. Look how well Kuhn played the Pats when used the way he should be, where was Kuhn on the goal line when Flynn threw the pick to Lions? Instead MM decides to spread it out as if Rodgers was still in the game. A lot of this is coulda shoulda woulda but we have seen a lot of this over the last few years.

Now that I have thrown MM under the buss I still don't want to see him fired. We have been in his system for too long to just start over, Rodgers still has a lot to learn and so does McCarthy. I just can't say off with his head tell I see how the season pans out.

Paul Ott Carruth's picture

As one of the earlier posts said, “I’m buckled up and ready to take off” on the fire Mike McCarthy plane. Count me in. I’ve seen enough. The Patriot game reaffirmed my beliefs about McCarthy. I believe many people were under the assumption that McCarthy was from the West Coast tree simply because he was in San Francisco and worked under Paul Hackett at Pittsburgh. Even Collinsworth made the mistake of calling McCarthy’s system WC. For 3 quarters it looked like it so I could understand the mistake. Collinsworth must not have watched much of the Packers the last 3 years. Ron Wolf, when asked about Ray Rhodes being the coach he thought he was, said, “No.” Is McCarthy exactly what Thompson thought he was when he hired him? I wish I had the answer . The Pittsburgh tough guy, run the ball mentality that McCarthy preached is MIA this year……BUT that is not McCarthy’s fault. You can’t expect Brandon Jackson to be Ryan Grant or James Starks. BUT, while that may be the case it still doesn’t excuse McCarthy’s inflexibility. The mark of a good coach, whether he calls the plays or not, is the ability to make adjustments to the personnel at his disposal. Sean Payton has been able to withstand the litany of injuries to his backs and survive by adjusting his approach. Mike Martz has used more quick game with Cutler to help a mediocre line. Andy Reid’s approach in Philly depends on the quarterback starting that week. In Indy, Manning is trying to function in an offense without some key receivers, yet they insisted on trying to run things as is for a good stretch. It wasn’t working out so they resigned Rhodes. That tells me that Caldwell understands an adjustment needs to be made but putting an emphasis on running the ball a little bit more. Now, Manning is still the strength of that team but he can’t do it by himself. Chris Johnson is the strength in Tennessee so it would be foolish for the Titans to suddenly become a spread passing team on a consistent basis. Conversely, if they sat in I Formation and ran Power O, Counter, Iso, and Zone all day it would be pretty tough sledding. These coaches play to their team’s strength and try to disguise their team’s weaknesses. For the Titans, the QB is their weak spot. In Indy, it’s the running game. So Heimerdinger will run it more than he throws it. Manning will throw it more than he runs it. Martz will go to 3 and 5 step half-field reads instead of 7 step full-field concepts because his line won’t hold up (somehow getting 2 QBs concussed in the same game does that to a playcaller). Do I think any of these coaches are the best of the best when looked at in totality? Absolutely NOT (with the exception of Payton). Would I like for their common sense approach to rub off on McCarthy? Unequivocally YES!

To me, the mark of a good playcaller is the ability to adjust. If a team has the talent and remains healthy it makes the job of the caller easier no doubt. But let’s be honest. Injuries happen. Show of hands….how many people thought….”the Patriots are done, Brady’s out for the season” when that happened? If you didn’t raise your hand you are lying. I thought the exact same thing. The Patriots adjusted. The offense no longer ran through Tom Brady. It ran through the running game….the running backs and offensive line. Matt Cassel is a good quarterback. The Patriots were able to remain competitive even though they lost the key position in football…..the trigger man. But they changed their approach and accentuated the remaining strengths they had. Brian Billick has admitted that it took him putting his offensive ego on the back seat and looking at the strengths of his team to ultimately get a Super Bowl. He had a great defense but he knew he didn’t have the offensive firepower to do what he did in Minnesota. So HE adapted to the offense instead of making the offense adapt to him. Ball control, high percentage passing game, field position battle and taking a shot once in a while. Worked out quite well. Might have been a different story had he asked Trent Dilfer and his pathetic receiving corps. do more than what they were capable of.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…..we have enough pieces to be better than 8-6. We have the trigger man. We have an above average receiving corps. We have a good receiving tailback. A solid receiving FB in Kuhn. What don’t we have? Well, the 20 carry per game running back. A line that can sustain their pass blocks and run blocks. So what has McCarthy done? He asks Brandon Jackson to be the short yardage back. He tosses the ball to Kuhn and expects him to get to the perimeter. He asks his shaky line to sustain blocks as the receivers run 15 yard routes and uses his backs as an after-thought in the passing game. He asks his franchise QB to sit in the collapsing pocket as those routes take an eternity to develop. He doesn’t move the pocket in the shotgun or dropback game. He has had plenty of time to make the adjustments. For the most part he called a very solid game against the Patriots. He used the backs well…..BUT he reverted back to his vertical ball game at a critical juncture in that game. For me, it really boils down to a couple of things with McCarthy. He either
a) doesn’t understand the strengths of his remaining offensive players


b) is too inflexible to adapt his philosophy to what he has left instead of making them adopt his philosophy.

I happen to believe it is the latter. There have been flashes of good judgment this season….but they are just that…..flashes.

Like I said….I’ve been on the “fire McCarthy” bandwagon all year and I continue to remain there. But, I’ll acquiesce and give him one last chance. His last chance starts on Sunday against a good NYG defense. A strong front 4 and solid secondary. Will McCarthy go back to his vertical game or will he finally adopt the WC principles that have stood the test of time? Mark my words….if he reverts to his old form the Packers will lose this Sunday……AND that will have certainly have me putting my seat and tray in the upright position.

PkrNboro's picture

Wow ! that was a really good article.

I think it may come down to ego -- McCarthy may just be too stubborn for his own good.

If he goes more WCO, the pressure on the oLine is reduced -- BJAX looks vastly more serviceable and short throws to rookie TEs builds their confidence. All the while, it eats clock and lets the defense rest.

Based on the close games, I could argue that TT has done his job -- as the losses have been by the smallest of margins, despite our injuries. This might point the finger at McCarthy, and his schemes.

I wonder what it might be like if Philbin called the offense, and let McCarthy focus on the game. At least it might not be as predictable -- unless Philbin decides to throw long on 3rd and One...

dgtalmn's picture

The fun part here is no one in the organization really cares what we type in blogs, they all have their own agenda. From what I have viewed is the Packers are a great team to hype up, a lot because of the tradition and mostly because we are now know as the team that Farve use to play for.

I loved it better when we were not the hot topic, specially when I have seen a 1000 times the run back on the kick off by a lineman. Geez.

I think that we will get by this year, maybe a wild card, but not really go far. But now we all can start the "wait until next year" "wait unitl we get back are wounded" crap. Heard way too much of that stuff from the folks in Phoenix with the worthless Cards.

As an inmate told me today, "A Packer fan? Geez it has been rough for you this year, Go Bears!" Well I am not allow to smack him, but I truely love to see the Bears go down in jan.

Austin Auch's picture

Living in Phoenix I have learned that 95% of Cardinal fans know nothing about football.

jeremy's picture

That was apparent at the Super Bowl in Tampa as well.

JimR_inDC's picture

After the last game this season, I'm ready for a new head coach. Being almost great...meh.

gbmb34's picture

I think that you mean McCarthy CALLED one of the best games of his career. Again, his coaching was lacking. Where have I seen that before? The reason we are so poor in close games. He is worse than Andy Reid at managing the clock. This team makes the same mistakes over and over again. It took him 3 years to fix the penalty problem. A team with McCarthy is a decent offensive coordinator and a poor coach. I'll be the happiest guy in the world to be proven wrong. But the only thing this game showed me is we have a very talented team that ALMOST went up to New England and one. If McCarthy just called a similar game to the NE we probably have 2 more wins. But he stubbornly wants to call 7-step drops and deep passes in situationally horrible spots. And don't say its revisionist history. I was shocked by the play call last year to go deep against the Bears and disagreed with the call and the premise. This team by and large has not one a playoff game yet and the struggles to begin the season are a direct result of his lack of cracking down on this confident behavior. Even Greg Bedard tweeted about it. We got up for this game. This team plays to its opponents. Its not every week for this team. And this ultimately won't change. At this point, he is a poor man's Andy Reid. I'd take Andy Reid, but current Mike McCarthy doesn't do it for me.

packeraaron's picture

"Even Greg Bedard tweeted about it." The Bible of sports commentary. ;)

IdiotFan's picture

"This team by and large has not one a playoff game yet and the struggles to begin the season are a direct result of his lack of cracking down on this confident behavior."

Wait, what?

Clay Toporski's picture

Took the words out of my mouth...

JohnRehor's picture

Can we just facepalm this entire discussion? My reply included.


JimR_in_DC's picture

Yeah. I think getting an early start on the holiday egg nog is in order.

cow42's picture

I'm a bit confused by this post.

Are you upset that there are Packers fans who want McCarthy fired?

Or are you upset that there are Packer fans who want McCarthy fired BECAUSE OF THE PAT'S GAME?

There is a difference, I think.

Me? Fired because of the Pat's game? No.

Fired at all? I'm torn.

On the one side - I'm really tired of seeing this team having the same weaknesses season after season. I have also found that with McCarthy as coach I have begun to enjoy watching Packer games a bit less. Why? Because usually your looking at only 2 possible outcomes... either they win in a blowout OR they lose a close one (blowout loses and close wins are rare). Blowouts are boring (so that's no fun), and as soon as I see that the game is going to be tight I pretty much figure something silly's gonna happen that tears the game away from the Pack (313 lb return, line up over center, fumble that stops on a dime, facemask on a return, bounce off the upright, fumble/int for a td, some sort of "no - call", etc.).

On the other hand - I think McCarthy and this team are "in too deep". A new coach probably means learning a new system which means a couple wasted seasons.

I guess I'd vote for keeping McCarthy and hoping that necessary "tweaks" are made. Simply because "tweaking" won't take as much time as "overhauling".

Do I think the Packers will make the playoffs this year? I want to say "yes" - but I don't think I do. It would require that a team coached by Mike McCarthy would have to come out and play solid, fundamental, smart football against quality teams in -more than likely- CLOSE GAMES two weeks in a row. I have doubts about that happening.

Thanks for a great site.

Great comments, everyone.
Fun to read.

packeraaron's picture

"I’m a bit confused by this post."

Welcome to Cheesehead TV.


Ed's picture

They are not beating the Giants on Sunday. Especially if Rodgers does not play.
We have a good nucleus of players on both sides of the ball..we just may need a little more depth especially at RB and DL. Time to close the door on MM. A good coach can come in here and set this team on the course to a Super Bowl.

Clay Toporski's picture

Who is this good coach you are referring to? Please enlighten us.

Ed's picture

Let's see..John Gruden or Bill Cowher or Bill's that for 3 available top notch coaches with proven Super Bowl championship resumes.

Clay Toporski's picture

Ed, thanks for sharing:

Now, let's look at who you mentioned:

In their first 4 seasons as a head coach:

McCarthy: 37-25 (1-2 post season) No Super Bowl Wins

John Gruden: 38-26 (2-2 post season) No Super Bowl Wins

Bill Cowher: 43-21 (3-4 post season) No Super Bowl Wins

So, tell me, which one has all those Super Bowl wins in the same tenure as McCarthy?

Plus, have you talked to those coaches to see if they would even consider coaching for Green Bay?

WoodyG's picture

Regardless of where your opinion falls on MM, if GB fails to qualify for the playoffs, the "epic fail" has happened ..... To be 7-3 and ultimately finish 9-7 or even 8-8 &amp; out of the playoffs has to open up the possibility of replacing MM &amp; staff .....

MM desereves kudos for the NE performance but that does not nullify the abysmal performance losing to the Lions, 7-3 .....

My guess is MM gets 2011 to right the ship even if the "epic fail" happens this season ..... If TT wasn't bold enough to acquire a quality RB after Grant went down, I doubt he's bold enough to let MM go after 2010 ..... However, Murphy &amp; the Board of Directors just may feel differently ..... Hard to tell at this point.

frosty's picture

Given MM's overall record and the injuries to key players this season I can't see him getting let go. Injuries happen, yes -- but injuries to so many key contributors is fluky and I would hope that the front office wouldn't be so reactionary as to show them the door. I for one would've been happy for a .500 record after week 3 was in the books.

JimR_inDC's picture
Austin Auch's picture

I think what worries me the most about the Packers/Giants game is that Peter King picked us to win.

Clay Toporski's picture

Their defensive line scares me the most. That and the fact that I work in New Jersey and have to face my co-workers on Monday...

Tim's picture

Is it me, or is Mike McCarthy pretty much the exact same coach as Mike Sherman? If so, the question then becomes "Could Mike Sherman have won a Super Bowl as a coach if he hadn't had Mike Sherman as a GM?"

Clay Toporski's picture

It's you.

JimR_in_DC's picture

Sherman and McCarthy have almost identical winning percentages during the regular season and the post season. I mean, only 0.002 difference between their regular season winning percentages. Sherman had most of his losses in the last season he was coaching GB. His GM performance sucked donkey balls.

Neither will/would win a SB.

Clay Toporski's picture

Winning percentages have everything to do with it...

Andy Reid is one of the winning-est coaches of all time, and he hasn't won a super bowl either.

Clearly your argument makes a ton of sense...

JimR_in_DC's picture

Don't say that, it would be a first for me...

hoogus's picture

Curious that Sherman is an object of universal scorn while TT/MM are loved for essentially the same results.

afrenchpackersfan's picture

There is a reason why they lost the game: SHAWN SLOCUM!!!!

frosty's picture

I'm a little late coming to this post but just wanted to throw my .02 in:

Aaron, sometimes i wonder where you're coming from in these statement-type posts but I couldn't agree with you more on this. I was as crushed as anyone with the loss (especially after having prepared myself for a beatdown) but the seconds following the initial kickoff I knew McCarthy had brought these guys to play. He doesn't always do it, and THAT is his weakness in my mind.

Week in an week out, I feel like we can win or lose to anybody. Clean up the sloppy performances against bad teams and that could be the Lombardi trophy back in GB.

KurtMc's picture

Its not one or two or three games. Its McCarthys entire body of work. C'mon. On the goal line stand 2 &amp; 3rd down when the Pack lined up for a obvious run up the middle how many fans shouted "C'mon Man".

Its that lack of imaginative play calling or adjustment that costs us points &amp; is the reason McFatty is 5-15 in close games.

The Pats win because they adjust. Heck, their whole offense has changed this season. MM can't change for 1 game.

Time is short with the talent we have &amp; MM isn't the one. Move on Pack.

packeraaron's picture

"MM can’t change for 1 game." Right. All those running plays were being called when Rodgers was under center. (rollseyes)

Black Hawk's picture

Who's the best ST coach in the business? That's who MM should go after when Slocum is given his pink slip!

packeraaron's picture

Most observers say its Bobby April who was let go from Buffalo this past summer. McCrathy could have dumped Slocum for him but didn't. Andy Reid picked up April instead. Funny thing is though - Slocum's squad clearly outplayed April's squad in their Week One matchup.

Overkill's picture

Criticism's deserved.
Other hand, looking at Mac's face, his manner,
during post-game press conference...
Might be - Slocum might be the villain here, if there's a villain.
Fck it, Giants are task at hand, for now.

Ed's picture

Well boys...Looks like Rodgers will be playing Sunday. I love in NY so please, please Pack win this game.

steve's picture

McCarthy will figure a way to choke and end our season, just watch and see.

Chad Toporski's picture

For those comparing McCarthy to Cowher, please remember that Cowher led the Steelers to the postseason every year in his first six seasons.

1992 - Loss in AFC Divisional Game
1993 - Loss in AFC Wild-Card Game
1994 - Loss in AFC Championship Game
1995 - Loss in Super Bowl XXX
1996 - Loss in AFC Divisional Game
1997 - Loss in AFC Championship Game

I'm not pointing that out to say that McCarthy has to go, but the similarities are not as close as you'd like to think.

Sure, Cowher didn't actually win the Super Bowl for over a decade, but he did make it to one in his fourth year.

And that's close enough to me.

Clay Toporski's picture

McCarthy is the only coach that was able to rein in Favre after nearly a decade of allowing him to do anything he wanted.

The result? A 13-3 record, first round bye, and a home field NFC championship game that ended in overtime and an interception that may have cost Brett his career in Green Bay.

McCarthy can take the Packers to the Super Bowl. The problems he has are not insurmountable.

Consistency is key in this league. If McCarthy takes a healthy Packers team and finds a way to lose 6 close games to terrible teams next year - off with his head. But, for now, there is no reason to assume that he can't get it done in Green Bay.

Ed's picture

We have a stellar QB and a brief window of opportunity. I don't trust MM to get it done anytime soon. Too many close games lost, too many bad calls in close games, too many penalties over the years. He is not a good coach.
Why waste time? Packers win a SB if Cowher, Billick or Gruden are here within 3 years.

Clay Toporski's picture

"Never argue with an idiot. They will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience."

WoodyG's picture

You accomplish nothing by resorting to name-calling ...... Make your argument &amp; move on .... If you can't deal with a civil differing opinion, you shouldn't be posting.

Ed's picture

Clay..You have a big mouth. Anytime you want to step outside and settle it you let me know. I'll drive/fly to you house beat your brains in, Anytime tool.

packeraaron's picture

Internet-tough-guy threats? Come on Ed. Keep it cool.

steve's picture

Im not sure Billick or Gruden is an upgrade, they both inherited theyre teams, then fell on theyre asses.

Ed's picture

Gruden and Billick both won the big game. Something McFatty is incapable of.
So if preparing your team an for teh big game and winning it is falling on your ass I'll take it anytime.

Paul Ott Carruth's picture

Gruden did not inherit great talent in Oakland, nor did he inherit great talent in Philly. His body of work as an offensive strategist when given talent is quite good. Also, I would hardly call the Tampa Bay offense as talented as the current Packer team. They had some good players on offense....Johnson, Alstott and a few others. Brad Johnson didn't put up awesome numbers year after year but he was better than average and could run the system. The problem with Gruden's run in Tamapa Bay occurred post Johnson when they couldn't settle on a quarterback.

Ed's picture

Say what we will about least he's not a foot fetish pervert like big mnouth Rex Ryan...

wizard 87's picture

Interesting post and some curious replies in favor of MM but with out logic and history backing them.
Mike Sherman had one losing season in GB; a season in which the Packers were crippled all over with injuries.
This losing season and firing came after he'd strung together five straight winning seasons, four consecutive playoff appearances, and three consecutive division titles.
Before it comes up let's leave the GM issue out of it, The Packers and TT set the bar high and Thompson stated at the time that injuries are not an excuse.
My point is don't think that injuries save MM, should this team falter and quit( don't think they will) then MM job is very much at stake.
Nice read Aaron well done.

steve's picture

Ted Thompson needs to go too, he's just collecting a paycheck, nothing more.

Paul Ott Carruth's picture

If the offene lost Driver, Jennings, Rodgers in addition to Grant and Finley McCarthy might have an argument and a leg to stand on. Fact is, they lost two players. There is enough talent on this team to be at least 11-5 or 12-4. Patriots, Falcons I'll give him those. Dolphins, Redskins, Lions....absolutely not. Those are on McCarthy and his inflexiblity as a play caller. From a talent persepctive, those were inferior teams and he flat out was outcoached.

Cuphound's picture

I love how long the comments are getting for this post. Say what you will about us, but we cheeseheads take the destiny of our football team <I>very</I> seriously.


steve's picture

This coach is just like Childress, has no relationship with the fan base. He has no clue on coaching a championship team, every close game he is out coached by far. He needs to go!!!

Ryan's picture

I agree with certain aspects of both sides of this argument. It is clear that McCarthy has begun to build himself a history of being outcoached in close games. In a league where talent is growing so equal and games are truly living up to the "any given sunday" type atmosphere, close games are where a coach would like to make a name for that respect, its obvious, Mike is epically failing. As a fan anger, among other emotions are natural and warranted. He has shown flashes of brilliance in his play calling and it is clear he has an offensive mind, but in trying to both manage the offense and the team as a whole in-game, its proving to be too much, at least at this point. He is more often than not left mismanaging the final seconds of games and giving "how we lost" speeches.

With that said I also agree that the grass is not always greener on the other side. We have an extremely talented team and there are plenty of coaches that would do the same if not worse job with them..and only a select few that could and would make an immediate impact. My suggestion- Let mike coach the team and relieve himself of calling plays. He does do a great job of "pushing the motivating buttons" as Aaron stated. He also has made a massive improvement in the penalty column thus far this year which was somehing fans NEED to notice. He has has consistently been in the right side of the turnover column. Overall, he is a likeable coach and it seems the players enjoy playing for him which is important in Green Bay. Were a unique team in a unique city..Packer football is something unlike any other and in that sense I think McCarthy is a good fit for the city. I also think he has a lot to offer in the way of offense and needs to be a large part of installing the offense for the week, just let Philbin take on the responsibility of calling plays so MM can focus on the big picture of the game...

Lastly, in response to Aaron's views on how the players feel about the game vs. how the fans feel... I agree whole heatedly that the players are feeling it, and to my previous point, in such a close knit and unique place as Green Bay, where the only way to be on the team is to play with heart, class, dignity, etc..These guys are the best. But we can not forget that as we set the scene of them sitting in a dark and gloomy meeting room, watching the painstaking game film, they are making millions to do just that. Further more, they ONLY get paid to play because there are fans to watch. So who should be more hurt? Again, I know as a life-time fan there are no players like there are in Green Bay and I know they arent about the money as much as some others, but at the end of the day it is what it is...something else to chew on anyhow.

Moving on, we have a monster game Sunday. If we beat the Giants I have no doubt we can take Chicago at home(their less than stellar team is another whole debate) and as Driver stated in his post-game, if they get in teams should be scared because they know what they can do..


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"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."
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