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.

9

October

Little Mistakes Add Up to Big Loss for Packers

Rodgers vs. ColtsThere’s nothing worse than missing a game where the Green Bay Packers lose. Yes, it saves some heartache and keeps the remote control from flying across the room, but it’s disheartening to know that, when I go back and watch it, I’m only going to be disappointed. The one silver lining, however, is that the emotion has taken its course, and I can look at things a little more objectively.

With this in mind, I already knew what to look for when the Green Bay Packers dropped an 18-point halftime lead over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. I had to figure out what changed between the two halves of play and why things started going south. A lot of blame was passed around in the 24 hours following the loss, but I wanted to draw my own conclusions with the tape to back up my claims.

And what did I find? While I agree with “Jersey” Al that the offense deserves a lot of the heat, I don’t think I can point my finger directly at the play calling. And though Adam Czech is correct in pointing out the missed scoring opportunity at the end of the first half, I think there’s more to it than that. In fact, what I discovered was a lot of little things that added up to big problems. There was no one consistent failure, but multiple mistakes and drive-killers that allowed the Colts to make an historic comeback.

Dropped Passes by the Usual Suspects

It didn’t take long for people to start asking why the Packers didn’t put the Colts away in the first half. They were sitting on an 18-point lead and had over a minute to put a scoring drive together going into halftime. While it is a good question, the answer didn’t have anything to do with a lack of trying.

The Packers made a nice 6-yard gain on a short outside pass to Kuhn, who also managed to run out of bounds and stop the clock. Good play calling to start the drive, if you ask me. In fact, I didn’t have any issues with the next two play calls – it was the execution that mattered. Jordy Nelson made a big drop over the middle on 2nd-and-4, and then Jermichael Finley followed it up with a drop on third down to end the drive. So after less than 20 seconds coming off the play clock, the Packers punted it back to the Colts.