A Tale of Two McCarthys: Packers vs. Cowboys

Packers Coach Mike McCarthy

Packers Coach Mike McCarthy

It was the worst of times, it was the best of times.

Yes, I know that’s backwards (my apologies to Charles Dickens), but it fits the Packers Cowboys game doesn’t it?

The first half brought us as uninspired an effort as we have seen from this team. That’s saying a lot with some of the games we’ve endured this season.

My prediction for this game was that the Packers would need to score in the 30′s  on the 32nd ranked Cowboy’s defense to offset the bunch of points Dallas would put on the Packers D. I rarely get predictions right, but this one worked out.

However, never could I have predicted how this game evolved.

The first half was a symphony of horrible play by the Packers on both sides of the ball, but most shocking was the offensive ineptitude. A few people on twitter and even Troy Aikman used the line that the Packers offense were making the Cowboys defense look like the 1985 Chicago Bears.

From my perspective, Mike McCarthy’s play calling was horrendous. Both in type of play and situational play calling, he gave the Dallas defense nothing but vanilla looks and little to be concerned about.

I’ve been down this road before with McCarthy, most recently with my McCarthy did the Packers no Favors Against Giants post. The situation was even worse the first half of this game. Same old tired plays and some real head scratchers. Two yd pass route on third and nine? Four yard out route on third and ten? Keep giving the ball back to Romo and a hot Dallas offense? WHY????

I was beside myself. I lashed out on twitter. I said I’d be OK with the Packers losing out if it meant McCarthy was sent packing. Yes, I really said that.

I’n not normally the emotional lash out type of guy, but this one time I did. Next thing you know, the wrath of Packers apologists came down on me. I was a retard (not my word), an idiot, a dope. I wasn’t a true fan (guess I’ve been a poser for 45 years).

I don’t really care about what people say about me, but I tried to engage some of these people with some intelligent discussion. I suppose that part did, in fact, make me an idiot. More name calling. Then the excuses.



Packers vs. Cowboys – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 37 DAL 36

Jarrett Bush breaks up a pass against Dallas.

Jarrett Bush breaks up a pass against Dallas.

Green Bay Packers vs. Dallas Cowboys:  2013 Game 14

Unfiltered game day blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.


Aaron Rodgers was held out of this game and he is pissed about it.  Packers always err on the side of extreme caution with injuries, ironic since they always seem to have so many.

With Taylor and Tretter out, that leaves Sherrod and Newhouse as the 2 OL subs. That means Newhouse at guard again if something happens to EDS. Oh dear…

Dallas has the worst defense in the league, and the fourth-worse since 1935 in terms of yardage given up. Time of possession could be a big factor in this game.

The last time the Packers won in Dallas was 1989.


Today’s captains for the Packers: - T/G Don Barclay (offense), LB A.J. Hawk (defense) and S Sean Richardson (special teams).


Inactives for today’s game:


Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers

12 QB Aaron Rodgers
51 LB Nate Palmer
65 G Lane Taylor
73 G/C JC Tretter
85 TE Jake Stoneburner
98 DE C.J. Wilson
99 DE Jerel Worthy

10 QB Matt Flynn will start for Rodgers.

Dallas Cowboys
17 WR Dwayne Harris
23 S Jakar Hamilton
24 CB Morris Claiborne
50 LB Sean Lee
54 LB Bruce Carter
56 DE Martez Wilson
75 T Darrion Weems

32 CB Orlando Scandrick starts for Claiborne, LB 52 Justin Durant moves from strong side to middle to start for Lee, 51 Kyle Wilber takes Durant’s normal strong-side spot, and 59 LB Ernie Sims starts for Carter.

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

(sorry – missed most of it…)


Guys in trenches will be critical/ability to get ball in space is where big plays will happen.

Flynn brought consistency and flow to the offense…does a great job…playing to strengths.





Packers vs. Cowboys – First Impressions – First Half:

Packers win toss and defer.

Well that was awful coverage by Tramon and too late help from Burnett on a 27yd completion from Romo to Williams.

Josh Boyd showing up early – big tackle for loss.

How do you see the blitz, make your adjustments and you still look caught by surprise and take a sack? Can someone explain that?



Packers Periscope: Week 15 at Dallas Cowboys

The Past: In reality, the Packers and Cowboys aren’t all that different; both are storied franchises whose heydays came after hiring relatively unknown New York Giants coordinators.  Both had a renaissance of sorts in the 80s and 90s; Jimmy Johnson, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin for the Cowboys and Mike Holmgren, Brett Favre, Reggie White and Desmond Howard for the Packers both lead their respective teams back into relevance.  Both have been successful franchises in the last couple years; obviously Green Bay boasts a Super Bowl over the last couple of years that the Cowboys have no answer for but to call the franchise “unsuccessful” would be glossing over a decent team who are still the highest grossing franchise in the league.

While the Packers and Cowboys have only played each other 24 times in NFL history; perhaps the most historic game of all time occurred in New Years eve, 1967 where the temperature dropped -15F and an unassuming quarterback from Alabama drafted in the 17th round quarterback sneaked his way into the hearts of Packers nation and became a legend.

The Cowboys would probably like to forget the last time they played the Packers, a 45-7 demolition at Lambeau Field that would ultimately lead to the firing of then head coach Wade Phillips, which was punctualized by several coaching mistakes which ultimately lead to a bad call on a fumble returned for a special teams touchdown being unchallenged because the Cowboys had already wasted all their timeouts.  After that, the entire team simply gave up and let the Packers had their way with the Cowboys; Clay Matthews recorded sack/interception returned for a touchdown while James Jones logged 123 yards and a touchdown on 8 receptions.

The Present: Both the Packers and Cowboys are at a crossroads of sorts for their playoff hopes.  Frankly neither should really be in the discussion; the Packers are a completely different team without starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Cowboys have been wildly inconsistent, almost beating the Peyton Manning lead Denver Broncos but getting blown out by the Bears last week with a backup quarterback that’s just been benched for Jay Cutler.  Still the Packers are 6-6-1 and have a shot to get into the playoffs (especially if the Lions continue to play poorly) while the Cowboys are 7-6 and again are one game out from 1st place in the NFC East.  However in a league of parity, both teams with essentially .500 records are still in the playoff hunts with a reasonable chance of actually getting in says platitudes about how a team’s fortunes can change in a matter of moments.



Cowboys, Steelers on Packers Schedule Evokes Ghost of Christmas Past

Packers Cowboys Steelers

The Packers face some interesting history when they take on the Cowboys & Steelers in 2013

When the Green Bay Packers 2013 schedule was announced, one thing was very clear:  it’s going to be a doozy of a season for the Packers.  They have one of the toughest schedules in the league and it will certainly challenge them to repeat as NFC North division winners.

I thought we’d take a quick break from our daily coverage of current Packers happenings and look at some interesting history.

There are two games that really stand out to me on this year’s slate.  Not because of the playoff implications or because they are the “team to beat”.  It’s simply about some Packers history and how it also connects these two opponents.  I’m talking about the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Connection

The Packers visit Dallas and will play the Cowboys on December 15th.  One week later, they will host the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 22nd. The last time the Packers beat the Cowboys in Dallas was on December 24, 1989.  The last time they beat the Steelers during the regular season was on December 24, 1995.

So how ironic is it that this year’s games against each opponent come in back-to-back weeks and so close to the Christmas holiday?  As you’ve heard me say before: history has a tendency to repeat itself.  Is this the year the Packers finally exercise the ghost of Christmas Eve?  Beyond that connection, there are others throughout these rivalries.  Let’s take a look at each.

Packers at Cowboys

Here’s the box score from that last Packers win in Dallas over the Boys.  To put some perspective on how long ago that was, that year was Jimmy Johnson’s first as Cowboys Head Coach and it was quarterback Troy Aikman’s rookie season.  Emmitt Smith was still in college and hadn’t yet started collecting any of his NFL-record 18,355 yards.  The Cowboys were 1-15 that year and they seemed destined for some rough seasons ahead until that little trade with the Minnesota Vikings.  Herschel Walker went to Minnesota and in Dallas, the rest is history.  They would go on to win three Super Bowls in the next six seasons. Along that Packers losing streak in Dallas have been some memorable games, including the 1996 NFC Championship game that the Packers almost came back and won.  More on that in a bit.



Breaking Down Packers Playoff Scenarios

With two more regular season games to go, here is an update on the Packers’ playoff situation:

  • The Packers have already clinched the NFC North. They will be in the playoffs, guaranteed at least one home game and no worse than the fourth overall seed.
  • If the season ended today, the Packers would be the third seed and host the sixth-seeded Vikings on wild-card weekend. That’s likely not going to hold up since the Packers play the Vikings in week 17. The Vikings also could win their next two games and still miss the playoffs.
  • The Packers can move up to the second seed if they win out and the 49ers lose once. The 49ers are at Seattle this week and host Arizona in week 17.
  • Whether the Packers move up to the second seed, or stay at No. 3, a second-round matchup with the 49ers looks likely. If the Packers are the third seed and win their first-round game, they would travel to San Francisco. If the Packers are the second seed and the 49ers win their first-round game as the No. 3 seed, San Francisco would visit Green Bay.
  • The Packers can get the first seed if they win out and the Falcons lose their last two games.
  • If the Packers stay the third seed, it’s very likely that their first-round game will be against a wild-card team from the NFC East or the Bears.
  • Let’s assume the Packers stay the third seed, who would you want to play in the first round: Chicago, New York, Washington or Dallas? I’d pick Washington. They can’t guard the slot and I trust Dom Capers to not to get thrown off by RG3 and the Redskins’ funky formations.
  • Chicago seems like the obvious choice, but beating the Bears three times in the same season seems like we’d be asking too much of the football gods.
  • Check out ESPN’s NFL Playoff Machine if you want to try and figure out potential playoff pairings yourself.

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.




Giants Didn’t Expose Any New Packers’ Weaknesses

Jermichael Finley

It’d be nice if Packers TE Jermichael Finley would get going and help the Packers crack the code of cover-2 defenses.

Now that you’ve had some time to digest the Packers losing to the Giants, ask yourself this:

Is your opinion of the Packers now any different than your opinion before the embarrassment against the Giants?

Mine isn’t. Here’s why:

  • We already knew the offensive line was a weakness. Take a super-talented front four and put it against a mediocre offensive line adjusting to injuries and what happened Sunday night isn’t terribly surprising.
  • We already knew the pass rush would struggle without Clay Matthews. Did we really expect another five sacks from this defense without its best pass rusher?
  • We already knew the Packers struggle against a cover-2. This one baffles me. Yes, running the ball beats a cover-2, and the Packers can’t run the ball, but it’s not like the cover-2 is some new revolutionary defense that came out of nowhere and was developed just to beat the Packers. They should be able to figure out some way to beat it by now, even if they struggle to run.
  • We already knew Mason Crosby would likely miss if asked to kick a long field goal. He was asked to kick a 55-yarder, and missed.
  • We already knew if Aaron Rodgers isn’t good to great, the Packers likely will lose. Thanks to bad blocking, an excellent Giants’ defense, weird playcalling, and some of Rodgers’ own struggles, he wasn’t good or great on Sunday and the Packers lost.

So there you have it. That’s a depressing list. But those same weaknesses have been there most of the season. It’s not like the Giants exposed a bunch of new flaws and areas where the Packers are weak. These are all things we already knew the Packers would have to overcome in order to be successful.

The Packers have manged to go 7-4 (with a five-game win streak mixed in) despite these flaws. Pretty much every other contending team has a list of flaws similar in length to the Packers’ list.

There are no perfect teams. Every now and then, a near-perfect team comes along. I don’t see any near-perfect teams in the league this season, either.

Let’s address each of the Packers flaws and see how it might impact the rest of the season.