27

February

Mike McCarthy: 2012 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Mike McCarthy

Mike McCarthy

1) Introduction:  Entering 2012, Mike McCarthy was riding high as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers. He won a Super Bowl in 2010 and followed that up with a 15-1 season in 2011.  It was the most successful two-year stretch the Packers have had since the 1996 and 1997 seasons.   Despite the stunning finish in the loss to the Giants in the playoffs, many expected the Packers to be right in the thick of things again in 2012.

2) Profile:

Michael John McCarthy

  • Age: 49
  • Born: 11/10/1963, in Pittsburgh, PA
  • Rookie Year: 2006 (as a head coach)
  • NFL Head Coaching Experience: 7 years

Biography and more   

(3) Expectations coming into the season:  The Packers offense was a juggernaut in 2011 so expectations were high for McCarthy as the offensive play caller going into 2012.  The Packers had a relatively smooth 2011 without much adversity unlike the 2010 Super Bowl winning team so it was worth watching what would happen with the 2012 team should it hit some speed bumps.

The Packers were hoping also to establish more of a running game and that was clear when the team signed Cedric Benson in training camp.  McCarthy also was expected to keep airing the ball out on offense though with hopefully a bit more balance.

4)Overachievements/Underachievements:  McCarthy got a lot out of James Jones this year. Not many expected him to put up 14 touchdowns and not even be the breakout receiver on the team.  That title went to Randall Cobb, who was used all over the field on offense thanks to the create mind of McCarthy and receivers coach Edgar Bennett.

McCarthy also had the special teams in position for very successful trick plays early in the season.  It was an aggressive side to McCarthy that many fans have fallen in love with and it speaks volumes to his faith in his players.

As far as underachievement, McCarthy failed to get a solid running game going although it was on the right track before Benson went down for the year with a foot injury.   The team also blew a game against the Indianapolis Colts that had they not blown that lead, they would have earned a first round bye and the 49ers in all likelihood would have made the trip to Lambeau Field instead.

26

February

Dom Capers: 2012 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Dom Capers

Dom Capers

1) Introduction:  Many expected 2012 to be a rebound season for the Packers defense.  The unit was the team’s Achilles heel in 2011 and it cost them a shot at a second straight Super Bowl.  Ted Thompson reloaded the team with talent via the 2012 NFL Draft,  so it was up to Dom Capers to turn the defense around.  Capers was expected to get the unit closer to 2010 form when it was one of the best defenses in the NFL.

2) Profile:

Ernest Dominic “Dom” Capers

  • Age: 62
  • Born: 08/07/1950, in Cambridge, OH
  • Rookie Year: 1986 (defensive backs coach with the Saints)
  • NFL Coaching Experience: 36 years

Biography and more

(3) Expectations coming into the season:  In a word: improvement.  The defense was bad in 2011, but a lot of those flaws were covered up by the record-setting offense the Packers had that year.  When the offense finally had a bad game, in the playoffs of all times, how bad the defense really was became clear.

Thompson infused the defense with youth via the draft and Capers was expected to get the youngsters ready to push some of the veterans.  The defense was not expected to be the liability it was in 2011.

4)Overachievements/Underachievements:  If we were to go by players, Capers got a lot out of rookie Casey Hayward. In fact, Hayward has done the impossible and made it likely the team can survive without the recently released Charles Woodson and in fact maybe even thrive.  Hayward also made Tramon Williams a better player and Williams improved over his atrocious 2011.

The linebacking corps would be considered an underachievement, but injuries took their toll with Desmond Bishop, DJ Smith and Nick Perry all finishing the season on injured reserve. Clay Matthews had another stellar season, but the linebackers struggled overall.

Perhaps the biggest failure the defense had (in the regular season anyway) was giving up over 400 yards to Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Peterson had a great year and is a very talented back, but anytime a running back gains roughly 20% of his season total on your defense in two games, something is wrong.

16

February

Ryan Taylor: 2012 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Ryan Taylor

TE Ryan Taylor

1) Introduction:  When Ryan Taylor was drafted in 2011, many wondered what the Packers were thinking.  Could the team possibly head to training camp with five tight ends?  They did and kept four in 2012 with Taylor once again among them.  A special teams ace as much as anything else, Taylor showed enough in camp again to make the team’s 53-man roster heading into the regular season

2) Profile:

Ryan Lawrence Taylor

  • Age: 24
  • Born: 11/16/1987, in Winston-Salem, NC
  • Height: 6’3”
  • Weight: 254
  • Rookie Year: 2011
  • NFL Experience: 2 years

Career Stats and more: 

(3) Expectations coming into the season:  Taylor was expected to once again be mainly a special teams contributor.  He only had one catch in his rookie year (though it was a touchdown) and the Packers had other options above Taylor as a receiving tight end and that was evident in Taylor only playing 130 offensive snaps all season.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights:  Just like his rookie year, Taylor only had one catch but this one was longer (11 yards) yet it wasn’t a touchdown.  Taylor’s lowlight came in the form of a $21,000 fine in November for an illegal block against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 9.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success:  Taylor was part of a special teams unit that featured some successful trick plays early in the season but other than that his impact was minimal.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs:  None.

 Season Report Card:

(C-) Level of expectations met during the season

(D+) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(N/A) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: D+

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke

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