Packers Coach Mike McCarthy to Address Unrealistic Expectations All Green Bay Packers All the Time

Mike McCarthy has addressed the 800 pound gorilla in the room. In public. At a press conference.  Two press conferences, actually. Yes… I’m talking about Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy.

I’ll be honest. I usually find Mike McCarthy press conferences to be rather entertaining. Not because they’re any good, but more because I derive some sick pleasure in seeing how many ways McCarthy can say the same thing – usually nothing.

And then there are the flat out jaw-dropping comments, like after the Bears debacle when he claimed that he thought the run game had been productive.

But this week has been different. Never one to be too forthcoming in his comments to the media, especially regarding the psyche of his team, McCarthy talked about the Packers players and what could perhaps be a wave of  unrealistic expectations in the locker room. It’s something I’m sure no Packers player would want to admit, but have they fallen prey to all the Super Bowl talk? Are they looking ahead and not focusing on being their best week to week?

In his post-game press conference on Sunday, when asked if he was happy with HOW his team played, McCarthy said the following:

I’m happy that we won the game because I knew we were going to be stressed in a couple areas going into this game. I think sometimes false expectations get built because of the past, because of numbers, and because of individuals.

I especially find the “individuals” comment telling. Is he referring to some of his players, like Nick Barnett and his “Super Bowl or Die” proclamation? Or is that a shot at many of the national media that seemingly anointed the Packers as Super Bowl champions in the preseason?

Fast forward to Monday’s press conference and McCarthy had this to say:

Frankly, the only team that really deserves to even talk about the Super Bowl is the New Orleans Saints. They’re the champion until someone takes it away from them.

This was in response to being asked whether it might be a positive for his team to be disappointed despite winning because they felt a Super Bowl caliber team should have won more easily. Clearly, like any coach, McCarthy wants his team thinking only about the upcoming game.

And then there was this gem:

Just because people think we are supposed to go out and win by two touchdowns, that’s not realistic, and for us to let that in our locker room is not what we are all about. So maybe this is a good shot of reality that we need. We have had a different week. We felt like we lost a game we had a lot of chances to win, and then we had to do some things at the end of the game to win another division game. These are all good experiences that we can learn from.

A good shot of reality is a fine way to describe the last 10 days. Struggling to beat the winless Lions and then watching the Bears, the team they handed a win to,  implode on Sunday night should certainly tell the players they haven’t played to their abilities the last two weeks.

In this last comment, McCarthy also seems to be specifically referring to outside influences and the players buying into the hype created my media and fans.  McCarthy said he would address this with the team and I couldn’t be happier about that.

Back in June, I wrote about how the Packers Super Bowl hype machine had gotten out of control – to the point where it would do more harm than good. Specifically, I was thinking of the effect on the players and what happens when they start to believe their press clippings. Rather predictably, the players started vocalizing their Super Bowl expectations.

I was told by many readers there was nothing wrong with it. Why shouldn’t the players express such public confidence? These guys are professionals and can distinguish between the hype and reality. Well, call me old school, but players are still human and I still don’t agree.

Personally, I never want to be considered a favorite before a game is even played, and I’m a big believer in laying low and shutting down the loudmouths with quiet, but deadly, efficiency. Kind of like the Mariano Rivera approach to playing baseball. You can be confident and KNOW you’re going to win, without shouting it to the world.

Too many players on this team fell into the trap of believing something would happen just because it’s expected to. This is the NFL. What team ultimately wears the champion’s crown  is probably the most difficult to predict of any major sport. The somber mood in the locker room after a division win told McCarthy that these players may not truly realize how difficult a road it will be to make a Super Bowl run. Ugly or not, they should be grateful for any win within the division, and realize it’s just one more step towards the ultimate goal.

For his part, McCarthy promised to address this with the team in their Monday meetings. Unrealistic expectations of an easy route to the Super Bowl must be squashed quickly and thoroughly. Hopefully the last two games have accomplished that, but if it hasn’t, McCarthy should let them know it in no uncertain terms.


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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for


21 thoughts on “Packers Coach Mike McCarthy to Address Unrealistic Expectations

  1. This is a convenient excuse for some poor play. The NFL is all hype, all the time. Good coaches and good teams handle it.

    Didn’t this happen last year, to some extent, too? Bottom line is, McCarthy and his staff have to handle this. It’s up to them to make sure that whatever problem jumps up does not affect performance on the field. I think he is too busy burying his head in the offensive gameplan all week long to have a very good grasp on the collective psyche of his team. Only when a problem arises several weeks into the season does he start to think about this stuff as much as he should.

    Whether it’s the Super Bowl expectations or some other thing, he needs to handle it. He is not doing that right now, and this is another example of how we are a poorly coached football team with McCarthy at the helm.

    1. I don’t remember anything near this level of hype last year. While I am not a huge MM fan, I will give him credit for showing some improvement this year in how he handles his players. Still has a ways to go, though and his gametime performance is still disappointing to me. I just found it interesting that he would entertain and share these thoughts with the media instead of “coachspeaking” over it….

      1. I didn’t mean the same hype happened last year; I meant that some poor performances early in the season happened last year, as well. Although the Packers were indeed receiving quite a bit of hype after last year’s preseason.

        I would just have liked to see your headline after the date of September 5 instead of October 5.

  2. Were the Packers already a media favorite or did it come more suggested by the media after Barnetts’ “Style Points” of exclaiming the infamous”SUPER BOWL or DIE” on the NFLN?

    I agreed with you AL on the premature boasting of such arrogance,when at that time,very few of our players could or would be able to start on other teams(less the obvious) and sadly that situation has gotten worse.

    I believe to “Win It All” your back-ups need to play like starters in the limited time they play or to play more than adequitly due to injury in a position. I fear we do not have this ability at or in individual and overall areas.

    Will MM get the players to Practice what they Preached or will MM get them to Practice what he Preached. Not sure which way is better? Thoughts!

    1. Shutting your mouths and playing the games like everyone is your last one is the best approach. You make valid points about the quality of the depth on this team at certain positions, but is that a problem every NFL team has?

      1. A true fact AL,but teams that have good back-ups win,the Packers seem to never get over that hump or bump in the road to Glory.
        IMO we linger to long on some players to mature and than realize their sub par as back-ups.
        I guess cutting the apron strings is harder for some coaches.A sharper pair of scissors for Xmas.

  3. In the ’90s, it took a long time for me to feel confident enough in the Packers to believe they were going to dominate their games. I don’t have the same feeling today as I did then, even with the talent level on this team and with the media anointing the Packers as “Super Bowl” attendees, there are several areas that cause concern. I think the last two games were good for the Packers and actually good for the fan base. You dominate one game and lose, you get dominated (statistically) and win. Hopefully this experience will channel the mentality into “one game at a time” and cause the players and the fans to realize that there are no free lunches and that every game needs your “A” game.

    1. Yep, and that’s what McCarthy needs to do; get them totally focused on the game at hand. Get the players to play at max level every game and do a better job himself of managing the game.

    2. You’re absolutely right.They were solid in all areas.Today our special teams are poor,and our pass rush and offensive line are inconsistent.Sometimes,I feel as if we still don’t have the right personel for our zone blocking and a 3-4 defense.However, a few wins can erase all those weaknesses.

    1. Throwing MM under the bus may be a little strong, but letting MM know that he is willing to drive the bus may get his attention at this juncture.

    1. …not wanting to spend the equalivent of a mid to early 2nd round pick on a one strike and gone for the year player with bad mojo and not able to be better than third on his own depth chart.

      By the way the conditional was not a 6th Ron. It is a 3rd or 2nd depending on starts and yards. It can drop to a 5th if Lynch lays an complete egg.

  4. Opps! Barnett is out for the year if he has the surgery. Tauscher has a shoulder injury that is more serious than the Packers are admitting. Collins has a knee injury they are trying to heal week-to-week. Lang has been inactive for at least two weeks. What’s up there?

    I’m worried, very, very worried.

  5. What’s to worry,haven’t we been assured that our offense will just outscore everyone.

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