18

October

How will McCarthy Scheme Around Packers Injuries?

The steam is rising off of the head of Packers coach Mike McCarthy as his brain schemes ways around the loss of Randall Cobb and others.

There’s at least one person in Green Bay happy about all the injuries the Packers have suffered this season: The CEO of whichever electric utility provides power to the head coach’s office at Lambeau Field.

The lights will be on at all hours in the coming weeks as Mike McCarthy puts his mad scientist skills to work and tries to compensate for the loss of Randall Cobb, a hobbled James Jones and a slew of other injuries that threaten to disrupt the Packers offense.

If you haven’t already, read this post from Matt Bowen at Bleacher Report about how the Packers have rebuilt their running game and could incorporate more big formations and multiple tight end looks to make up for the loss of Cobb and others.

It’s a great read and makes a ton of sense, but then again, so do a lot of schematic type of things when they’re written on paper. Once the game starts and the bodies start flying, sometimes the game plan that seemed so innovative on Thursday is proven to be worthless after the first quarter of the actual game.

I have no doubt that McCarthy will incorporate a few formations and looks that maybe we haven’t seen out of the Packers recently. It’s one thing to come out with some unique looks. It’s another to use those looks to create mismatches and put players like Jarrett Boykin or Brandon Bostick — players who might be seeing a much bigger role after barely playing so far — in a position to succeed.

No matter what McCarthy comes up with, he’ll be hard-pressed to make it work unless Eddie Lacy and the running game keeps rolling. Assuming Lacy keeps doing what he’s been doing, does McCarthy have the patience to use the running game to set up his shot plays in the passing game?

McCarthy has always used the passing game to set up running plays. That mindset might have to change a little bit, at least for now.

We saw the impact an effective ground attack had in the win over the Ravens. Does the 64-yard TD to Jordy Nelson happen if Lacy hadn’t been rolling and the defense didn’t actually take the play-action fake seriously? Probably not.

Don’t get me wrong — the Packers remain and always will be a pass-first team as long as McCarthy is coach and Aaron Rodgers is quarterback. Just because the Packers are down a few players and might incorporate more jumbo sets and multiple tight ends doesn’t mean that they won’t keep chucking it downfield. The process just might be a little different than we’re used to.

I’m looking forward to what McCarthy comes up with. I’m curious as to how flexible he’ll be and how different the Packers approach on offense might look.

I gave McCarthy a lot of credit for keeping his team together amidst constant adversity during the Ravens game and throughout multiple seasons of bad injury luck. Now it’s up to McCarthy and his staff to make the necessary plan and scheme adjustments to overcome the loss of his biggest offensive playmaker.

Keep those lights burning bright, Mike. The Packers need the mad scientist in you to be at its best in the coming weeks so the lights don’t get dimmed on this season.

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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22 Responses to “How will McCarthy Scheme Around Packers Injuries?”

  1. packett says:

    THere’s one heck of an idea brewing from the looks of that smoke coming out of MM ear. I can almost see the formation. Nice photo.

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    • Outis says:

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

      Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 14

      • Outis says:

        Isn’t that where MM pulls most of his ideas out of? I’m joshing, of course. I often forget just how serious and humorless some of fans that frequent this site are. It’s enough to convert one into a Bear’s fan! Generally, they have a better sense of humor. They have to, Jay Cutler is their QB.

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  2. gamer says:

    Adam, thanks for bringing a good dose of intrigue to the forefront. I’m actually looking forward to the game rather than dwellilng on the injury misfortunes!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  3. I knew right away we would be going more 2 Te sets–maybe even some Newhouse reporting in as eligable reciever (U71 bacon set). Also , on defense-will see , or at least be prepared if we lose another LBer- more 4-3 defense or 4-2-5 ect defenses.We got plenty of DL man and none are really injured-heck we could possibly even be getting Worthy back-.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

    • Not sure what Worthy brings to the table. He isn’t going to displace Pickett, Raji, Jolly or even C.J. Wilson (the back-up to the run-stuffers), or D. Jones or Daniels. GB would have to think Worthy is better than Boyd (some would mention Wilson too). Maybe Boyd could go to PS. GB will wait to see if they have any injuries before deciding on Worthy. Admittedly, I was never high on Worthy.

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    • Absolutely made blog post. Are you a journalist?

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  4. GBPDAN says:

    Barry, im with you. Im also curious to see what Capers has up his sleeves. This game is going to be interesting to watch, on both sides of the ball. The Browns are not a good run team, probably a lot of nickel and dime schemes. The Browns D is not that bad, they’re somewhat stout against the run and have a shut down CB that will probably be on Nelson. Finley and Boykin need to come up big along with the running game. Go Pack!

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  5. GBPDAN says:

    Heres to some good news today regarding Neal and J Jones practicing. It would help a lot if these 2 could be on the field Sunday

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

    • Dobber says:

      If those two guys make it back this week, and can be effective, that’s a tremendous sigh of relief.

      One thing Dom did in the absence of B. Jones and CMIII was make good use of Hawk. Getting a healthy rush on Weeden, who is prone to making mistakes, will go a long way toward beating the Browns.

      I’m looking toward what I’d been calling for since before the draft: more 2 TE sets (with Finley as the move TE) and a healthy dose of the running game to draw the safeties down so they can take shots down the seam and over the top.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

    • John Zoul says:

      If Jones has a bum knee, which is currently probable, it may well be preferable that he sit out. Mike Neal has a badly bruised shoulder. My guess is that he will be active, but, will not play much. This will be the game we find out if Mulumba, Palmer, and Boykin are studs or duds. Let’s hope it is the former.
      Am also hoping we get to actually see Bostick, White, and Stoneburner play, even if only on special teams. This should be a good test on the depth of our squad. Cleveland has the number 7 ranked defense in the league. Here’s hoping our running game gets things going. Am optimistic for this game and hoping we hold on to the football.

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  6. Savage57 says:

    I hope that Mike goes back to the future. Given where the injuries have occurred, it would seem that re-visiting the true West Coast offense would have value in these circumstances.

    Backs and TE’s always had larger roles in the offense, and generally one of the WR’s played to a shorter field.

    I hope that we see some of that on Sunday.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  7. NYPACKER says:

    The running game is great, but really it is all about scoring TD’s. We are 2nd in total yards gained but 11th in TD’s. We have to get better in the red zone

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  8. Mark says:

    Does Jordy Nelson have the ability to play like a star number one receiver? We will find out as he likely won’t have a lot of help. He has been great so far.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

    • Oppy says:

      You must have missed the run of 20-some odd games from the playoff run during the 2010 season that ended in the superbowl through the entire 2011 season where Jordy Nelson was pretty much the most productive WR in the entire league.

      How much does Jordy have to do before some people will just submit to the fact that YES, he’s a starting caliber WR anywhere in the NFL. He’s not a fluke, he’s not a guy who only puts up numbers because there’s other guys on the field.

      Jordy Nelson is a baller. Period.

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  9. Big T says:

    Packers 52 Browns 13…

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  10. Archie says:

    Vegas favors the Pack by 10.5 this weekend. I do not think they will cover. Why? Injuries. The injuries at WR will hurt in that CLE will probably put 8 in the box to stop Lacy. They may put haden on nelson to take him out of the game and they might roll the rest of the coverage at Finley, leaving Boykin to beat them 1 on 1. I like Boykin more than most but that does not sound like much points unless he pulls a Fauria. It’s even worse on ST and Defense. Pack ST figure to be depleted, giving CLE good field position most of the day. Then, where’s the pass rush going to come from with all the injuries at OLB? Is Palmer ready to be a factor? Probably not. Mulumba has not looked like a pass rusher. With all day to throw, and with good field position, CLE should be able to put 24 points on the board. So, at 10.5, I’m taking the Browns. I just hope the Packers at least win the game.

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  11. Archie says:

    Pack may want to try using Lance Taylor as 6th OL to help Lacy. Get CLE to commit to stopping that package then hit them up top. Just a thought.

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  12. Icebowler says:

    Cleveland doesn’t have much of a run game so I think we’re going to see a lot of nickel and more dime than we’ve played all year. I think you’re going to see a lot of Safety and Cornerback blitz’s if our rookie OLB’s can’t get to the QB early. On offense, I think our jumbo packages might actually improve our red zone production.

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    • nick perry says:

      If there was a week to get the secondary going for the Packers, this is it. The Browns have two excellent receivers in Josh Gordan and Jordan Cameron, the TE. I could see Shields following Gordan but you better believe the Browns are going to find out exactly who can cover Cameron,(please no McMillan or Bush). Maybe on offense the Packers get Franklin involved, line him up wide or in the back field and try to get him the ball in space. I would hope we see why Bostick was kept this week instead of trying to keep Crabtree for a pretty modest amount, and Williams who I never thought had a fair shake. Before all you D.J. Williams haters come out it’s just a opinion. I pretty sure all of here aren’t coaches, although sometimes I wonder.

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  13. John Zoul says:

    Nick, your ideas are appreciated. Good points on Cleveland’s two top receiving options. Hope we do not employ the brilliant defense we used against San Fran in game one where we decided to leave the tank Boldin wide open…
    Also, turnovers will be key as the Browns have a very solid defense. Green Bay by 4…

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