Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy has a track record that speaks for itself:
.664 winning percentage in regular season
5-3 record in playoffs including a Super Bowl Championship
Two appearances in the NFC Championship game
Three NFC North division titles
Not bad, right? Even by the sky-high standards of the Green Bay Packers and their fans, those numbers exude success. But McCarthy has become somewhat of an intrigue lately. As we know, he calls the offensive plays for the Packers during games. He has done so since his arrival in Green Bay.
At times, especially this season, he has had fans and analysts alike scratching their heads with some of his decision making. Now, I realize that he gives quarterback Aaron Rodgers some freedom to alter the play at the line if Rodgers sees something he thinks he can take advantage of. It’s hard to say exactly whether some of these offensive failures were McCarthy calls or Rodgers check-out’s. Whichever is the case, McCarthy is responsible for all of it as head coach.
Despite having clinched the NFC North division with today’s win over the Chicago Bears, the Packers still have a chance to improve their playoff seeding over the last two weeks of the season. They return home to face the Tennessee Titans next week which screams (and I mean a blood-curdling scream) “trap game”. Any lapse in that game and even worse, a loss, will fall squarely on the shoulders of McCarthy and how he prepares the team this week. In week 17, they will face the Minnesota Vikings in what will surely be a tough game as the Vikings are now in great position to reach the postseason.
Any Packers player or coach who is asked will tell us: “We believe in coach McCarthy and what we are trying to accomplish”. And that’s not a bad thing. I’d rather have that type of team culture than some others that I see (the Philadelphia Eagles come to mind). At the same time, I think Packers nation is starting to grow anxious as we watch McCarthy baffle everyone from fans to the TV analysts (even Joe Buck and Troy Aikman) with some of his play calling. And specifically late in games when the Packers have a decent lead and their destiny is in their own hands.