28

November

McCarthy Admits Mistakes – And There Were Plenty

Mike McCarthy Admits Mistakes

Mike McCarthy Admits Mistakes

As I sat in MetLife Stadium and watched the NY Giants dismantle the Packers before my eyes, my neck started to hurt from shaking my head so much. Beyond the disappointing play and the result, I was especially not pleased by what I saw of the Packers game plan, play calling and decision-making.

Coach McCarthy went away from the running game after the Packers were down 17-7, opting to go to more of a spread offense. What this did, of course, was let the Giants DL know they could just single-mindedly go after Aaron Rodgers.  Add to that the shaky revamped offensive line, and McCarthy almost got his quarterback killed.

Having let the Giants’ pass rush get their mojo back, one might expect that McCarthy would have tried something to slow it down. Perhaps a screen pass or two. Perhaps a draw or two. But those adjustments were just not forthcoming.

As he ignored Alex Green in the Lions game, McCarthy pretty much forgot about James Starks until the end of this game, when it didn’t matter. Starks was fairly effective against the Lions, a team playing a very similar defensive scheme to the Giants. One might have expected to see Starks as the main ball carrier Sunday night, but instead, he mostly sat and watched.

And how about that handoff to Alex Green on 2nd and 20 with seven minutes still left in the third quarter down by 21 points? White flag anyone?

McCarthy also made some questionable decisions with regards to Mason Crosby. With the score at 7-7 and only halfway through the first quarter, McCarthy sent the struggling Mason Crosby out on 4th and five to try a 55 yard field goal.  First thought – iyour going to put your slumping kicker in a position where the odds are greater that he will fail?

But forgetting about Crosby’s struggles for a moment, I have to simply ask; Why? In the first quarter of a tie game? The right play that early in the game is to play field position. Let Masthay punt the ball and try to pin the Giants deep in their own end.

Then, once the whole complexion of the game had changed, with the Giants holding a three-possession 17 point lead late in the second quarter, McCarthy calls for a field goal on 4th and inches from the 11 yard line.  At that point, it was pretty obvious that three points was not going to be much of a help in this game.

McCarthy has gone for it on fourth down many times previously from less favorable positions on the field in games where they needed the points much less.  He did so just last week against the Lions.  Sending the field goal unit out in this situation was a big confidence deflater for a team already doubting themselves. Go for it and show your team you believe they can come back and win.

But for all his faults in this particular game, at least Mike immediately fessed up after the game;   “”We had a plan and we didn’t execute it very well,” McCarthy said. “We got away from it and went to some spread things. That wasn’t the answer. That was quite poor play selection on my part.”

As one of our writers here, Adam Czech pointed out to me on twitter, it seems like McCarthy has had to say that a bit too often this year. Sure, to some extent he’s protecting his players, but I don’t believe he would be quite as harsh on himself if he didn’t believe it was true.

In my mind, I keep going back to the Houston game and how well-prepared McCarthy had his team and what a fantastic game plan they devised and executed to perfection. Of course, it was one of those “backs to the wall” situations, which McCarthy has earned the reputation for thriving in.

Going back to the year or two prior to the Super Bowl season, I was fairly critical of McCarthy and his ability to “motivate” his team. Remember the whole “Come to Jesus” meeting shenanigans in 2009 after a bad loss to the Tampa Bay Bucs? The Packers ran off five straight wins after that and won seven of their last eight to make the playoffs.

In 2010, the Packers had that awful loss to the Lions where Rodgers was knocked out of the game with a concussion. They came back the next week and played fantastically, almost beating the 8-1 NE Patriots with Matt Flynn at QB. The Packers ran off six straight wins after that, with the last one being the Super Bowl Championship.

2011 was an anomaly. A year where the Packers defense was simply awful and it didn’t matter, because everything went right on offense. McCarthy and Rodgers could seemingly do no wrong – everything they touched turned to gold. It was the type of year we may never see again as Packers fans.

So that brings us back to 2012. Was this distasteful loss to the Giants the wake up call that propels them to another Super Bowl run? It certainly was an eye-opener for the players, many of whom spoke about a seeming lack of emotion after the game.

I’ve always maintained that football is a game of emotion. Emotion can take you places in football games you may not otherwise reach. It led the Packers to embarrass the Texans like the Giants just embarrassed them. We saw incredibly inspired play against the Texans and players absolutely reveling in it. We saw a coaching staff that were dead-on perfect that game.

As the players danced and celebrated with wide grins all around, I wrote at the time how I hope these players remember what it feels like to play like that and have everything you planned work so splendidly.

I hope the same holds true for Coach McCarthy.

 

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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18 Responses to “McCarthy Admits Mistakes – And There Were Plenty”

  1. HawgNSonsTV says:

    Amen to that!

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  2. cow42 says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  3. Adam Czech says:

    Football is a game of emotion, but it drives me crazy how fickle player’s (and sometimes coach’s) emotions can be.

    Take the Texans game. The Packers were stopped on their opening drive, then the Texans line up offside on the punt, the Packers get another shot, and score on a bomb. Obviously, that’s an emotional lift for the Packers and deflating for Houston. What happens if the Texans don’t line up offside? Do the Texans catch that wave of emotion and ride it to a win?

    The field goal try seemed to be a deflater for the Packes on Sunday. What if they go for it and end up scoring later in the drive? Or punt and pin the Giants at the 2? Would that get the Packers fired up enough to compete the rest of the game?

    It’s always funny to me how one or two plays can crank up or turn down the emotions in a game played by grown adults getting paid millions of dollars.

    I suppose those are the little things that separate the winners and losers in a league where every team is, basically, equal in talent.

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  4. Big T says:

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  5. Big T says:

    Remember Mike Holmgren picking up needed players mid-season. He was a genius when it came to knowing weaknesses on the team and plugging players in where needed. Keith Jackson, Eugene Robinson, etc. Holmgren set his ego aside for a moment and guess what, he went to the superbowl that year… MM either doesn’t have the authority or doesn’t have the ballsack to do it..

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7

    • steve cheez says:

      Bad Moon…

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    • Rob says:

      If he was such a genius, then why only one Superbowl? Hindsight with rose colored glasses!

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      • Big T says:

        He took us to 2 superbowls and then took Seattle to 1. And who knows he may coach again next year..

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        • CSS says:

          He took Seattle to a Super Bowl when (drum roll) Ted Thompson was their GM. The franchise promptly went down the tubes when Holmgren took over GM duties.

          Oh, and when he went to the 2 Super Bowls with the Packers Ron Wolf was calling the shots with personnel.

          So no, Holmgren never picked anyone up mid-season, his GM’s did.

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          • Big T says:

            so you are saying that Holmgren had nothing to do with the 3 superbowls he was involved in? You can love on MM all you want, but to say Holmgren had nothing to do with adapting throughout a season is ridiculous.

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  6. Chad Lundberg says:

    I agree with Al 100% on this. McCarthy is a professional, and he’s capable of doing more as a coach than you or me or any of 99.99% of the population in America.

    But he’s still human. Humans make mistakes. Even head scratching ones.

    McCarthy has a deep conviction that throwing deep is the way to go, and that certainly holds merit since the Packers scored 35 points a game last season by doing so.

    But what he refuses to see is that you also need to proper personnel to make those deep throws. He doesn’t have that right now.

    Hopefully this loss to the Giants will finally get McCarthy to admit to himself that, at least for the meantime, he will have to resort to the “quick and short” instead of the “long and deep”. That alone could change the Packers future.

    If I’m not mistaken, that very change is what helped the Packers win the Super Bowl.

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    • Corporate cheesehead says:

      Exactly. Brady and bellicheat will dink and dime a team to win by a td if needed or light up a team be 30 if it’s there. Mm has refused to adjust to do what is needed to get the win fast enough or not at all. Takes a half and eight sacks against Seattle to adjust … Doesn’t against the giants. Yep San Fran’s offense is boring, but they move the ball to win series and games, not to be the most prolific. Until the Oline becomes better, the only way to go deep in the playoffs is by adjusting the offensive schemem when needed, ie against SF, giants …

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      • Chad Lundberg says:

        I believe the Saints do that with Bress as well. Their running backs get like 5 yards a carry, and they always do like 5 yard passes. We saw it when they fought the Packers.

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  7. Dan says:

    I like MM for the most part and so far I’m glad he our coach, but, I’m starting to waver a bit on him this year. He doesn’t seem to be an innovator , he’s made bad in game decisions , has bad game planning and makes no adjustments . I also think he’s not motivating the team as much as he has in the past. Granted, he’s playing with a very injured team and a lot of young players, so I need to cut him slack.

    Hate to say this, but, what would happen if Newhouse gets injured?….Lang LT, EDS LG, Saturday C, Barclay RT…..we would go from the 3rd worst line in the NFL, to one of the worst lines in NFL history… One injury killed this line, 2 injuries would make it catastrophic . Way to think things out early in the season Ted, you did not do a good job of protecting your franchise quarterback this year . Sorry folks if you dislike this

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  8. mark gast says:

    When I look at the Patriots’ stats over the recent years I see that they often throw the ball at least 100 times more than they run. When Dallas was down 23 -0 to the Giants they opened it up and if Dez Bryant keeps his hand in bounds they win the game. So I don’t understand why the Packers less than 30 passes in the Giants game. Considering what Dallas did I didn’t think the Packers were out of it at half time. It seems the Packers thought they were out of it.

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  9. big O says:

    I know it was a horrible game for well all of us who love our Pack but my concerne is the next ’5′ everyone is saying help is coming, but I don’t see OL on that list and that’s were the huge weakness is at, I know I should know this but is it to late to pick a journeyman lineman who can block, i mean i fear for our QB after seeing Sunday nites mess!!!

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  10. [...] I respect him taking the blame, McCarthy Admits Mistakes – And There Were Plenty. [...]

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  11. Tom Manske says:

    Maybe some of the blame should be put on the WR and TE for not getting off the bumps at the line and being open to throw to?

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