How will McCarthy Scheme Around Packers Injuries?
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.——————