Why are the Green Bay Packers so Damn Frustrating?

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Yes, I’m quite frustrated. The past two Packer football seasons have started with Super Bowl aspirations and ended with “hopefully we’ll make the playoffs.” I guess that’s ok if you are the Rams, but the Packers are supposed to be loaded with talent.

In fact, I believe we do have a lot of talent. I also believe we are underachieving and there is too much of a pattern here to ignore it any longer. 2008 was bad, but I figured the first year post-Favre would go that way. 2009 and 2010, while better record-wise, have revealed a trend of mental mistakes culminating in close loses (often to BAD teams).

It is no secret McCarthy’s record in close games is pitiful. You can find numerous references to that on most Packer blogs. The question is why? I would like to approach this from a different angle, albeit a snarky one (because I’m frustrated damn it!).

Albert Einstein once said the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again but somehow expecting the results will be different. Consider this…

I have no idea what Mike McCarthy thinks or what he says in the locker room or behind other closed doors. What I do know is that he is mentally ill if he means only a fraction of what he says at the podium during press conferences. Coach, you were ok with the way the 2 minute unfolded Sunday night? Standard stuff? Look, I don’t care what his personality is.

What I do care about is that Packer Management looks honestly at this team and tries to improve areas where we are not getting it done. I’m simply seeing too little of that. Definition of insanity…let’s keep defending the troops and using the word “excellent” and “good job” every time we describe a player or a game situation. That’s working well.

Then we have the whole “availability” and “accountability” mantra from MM. Well, availability might be honored but accountability? To say it is hypocritical would be too
polite. Brady Poppinga played snaps for years while Desmond Bishop sat on the bench. Poppinga got to make mistakes but God forbid if Bishop made one in his limited playing time. No, they don’t play the same LB position in the 3-4, but they did in the old 4-3.

Bottom line, MM had a blind spot for Poppinga. Period. Bishop is a rising star. Oh, and what about Frosty the Punter. Never mind. It’s too easy. Definition of insanity… Let’s be too stubborn to move off a decision we make. Oh, and let’s make it worse by becoming even more stubborn when the thing drags out so long that it’s now laughable.

We have had the same OL starters (barring injuries) all year? Do we pass block or run block well enough to make that statement? Our receivers can’t catch the football. Have the coaches done anything differently? Have they changed the receiver’s pecking order, even for a short time? Definition of insanity…let’s keep talking about accountability with our words but never back it up with our actions. I’m sure the guys will be motivated knowing no one is looking over their shoulders.

But let’s not limit accountability to just the players. What about special teams? Why are our special teams mediocre – bad? Injuries? Perhaps, but if that is the case how does one explain what Dom Capers is doing with the defense? I would certainly think a new player can pick up special teams assignments a lot quicker than defensive assignments. Shawn Slocum, please explain.

Back to players – how does Mason Crosby get a pass? The guy didn’t even have to defend his job! I’m sure there is a stat guy or gal out there that can tell me how many
FGs he missed in our close loses the past few years. I do know he was a factor with his misses. Yes, I do know that. I would think an NFL kicker can hit 50-yarders in a dome
a good percentage of the time. As Aaron over at CHTV said, an NFL kicker ought to be able to kick off into the end zone in a dome. Yikes!

Oh, and can we sign or draft a kick returner please? Anyone remember Desmond Howard? I’m talking to you Ted! Special teams is equally RETURNING the kick and
covering the kick. Definition of insanity…let’s ignore BOTH accountability for special teams performance and accountability for special teams personnel. Maybe we’ll get
lucky and that won’t hurt us.

Now, the winner of this snarkfest is…why in the world do we have an offensive coordinator if the HC is calling the plays? Jersey Al noted it probably makes more sense
to let the OC call the plays and have MM be a real HC/Administrator. Agree, agree, agree. There is NO WAY on earth MM can call plays in crunch time AND manage
the clock, timeouts, 4th down decisions, etc. as well as if he was not calling plays. I’m sorry but he’s just not that good. No one can be with that many important things going on at once. Definition of insanity… Let’s keep all these decisions on MM’s plate despite so many close game loses. I’m sure one has nothing to do with the other.

Like I said, I’m frustrated. The Packers should be 11-3 right now. I can accept loses to the Bears, Falcons and Pats. That’s it. Please don’t tell me about injuries. Yes, we have
plenty, but we should have beaten the Lions with me at QB. Besides, we weren’t playing all that great before many of the injuries. We have to beat two very tough teams to get the 6th seed this year. Where have I seen that before? I’m tired of it. It’s like a broken record the past few years.

I’m not asking for anyone to be fired. I am asking each guy in coaching/management to tell the guys/players under him what they are accountable for. I am asking each coach/manager to question if the team should think about a different way. I am asking for honesty and candor within coaching/management.

And if the management of my favorite football team can not accept these suggestions, THEN I will be asking for some heads.

Andrew Shales is a long-time fan of the Green Bay Packers. You can follow him on twitter: AndrewInAtlanta


24 thoughts on “Why are the Green Bay Packers so Damn Frustrating?

  1. This article gave me flashbacks to TV shows and the the similarity of Mike McCarthy and Robert Young of FATHER KNOWS BEST.
    Just like the show,every MM post game ends the same way.No matter what or how bad the misdeed incurred by MMs players,coaches or the kids Bud and Betty,punishment or blame is never up to the level needed imposed.The press conference and the TV show ends weekly the same way,an never ending rerun that needs not be watched.

      1. The worst part was the press after the Lions game. Less than 5 minutes of questions after that mess? What were those guys doing?

  2. Andrew, great to hear from you again. Thank you for representing my views of this season. The way people talk is we who want, no demand, better of our beloved Packers is that we’re ranting fools who don’t understand the game. They’re totally happy with being 6-0 in moral victories.

    If Lombardi was still around, I dare anyone to ask him how he felt about a moral victory against NE. When you are within 3 or 4 points in the last five minutes, a good coach would find ways to win most of them. The only close games MM wins ae the ones that he gets a big lead and then hangs on (see Detroit #1 this year). And, how about those were AR got the lead with minutes left only to ST’s (all aspcets) fail and cost GB the victory.

    Yes, injuries were a problem. They were probably more an issue with defense than offense. Dom took what he had and adjusted. The result he is at or near the top of points per game stats.

    MM took the “it’s the system not the players approach” and tried to force it down. Did not work too well.

    Sunday is going to be critical. Rodgers will be playing so he better do something with the Oline like keep them overtime practicing the basics. If the Giants get a free shot at AR the season will be over.

    And ST’s? Right at this moment I’m pouring kerosene on my effegy of Slocum.

    1. To be honest, I thought we’d get blown out by the Pats. Defense was particularly impressive with Green, Walden, Shields, Peprah and Bigby on the field at the same time. But when you have a chance to win you have to close the deal. The offense didn’t do that. The last drive was a sin and the way MM characterized it was worse. I’m really looking at Ted and Murphy here. Are they asking critical questions? I have no way of knowing but I sure get the sense that they are not

  3. Well done Andrew. It’s completely frustrating to hear MM continue to make ambiguous comments and avoid the tough questions. He also likes to give answers that imply he understands football at a much deeper level than the average reporter or fan and that we really don’t understand what we are talking about. I’m sick of it.

    Even with the injuries, we should have won at least 3-4 more games than we did.

    No idea where TT and Murphy are on this but I sure hope winning is still the goal.

    Then again, it took a Scooter McLean to get a Lombardi.

    1. Thanks. Al was kind enough to let an old fart spew for a bit.
      I like MM but I think the HC/playcaller thing is not working. Close games come down to a little thing here or there and I really wonder if MM is the best HC he can be with all the things on his plate. I just don’t want to go into next season with the same game plan. Murphy and Ted need to ask critical questions about the way we are set up.

  4. Please continue to “Snark” away!! Well written-Thanks!! I have heard people say, “Well, McCarthy always owns up to his mistakes.” GREAT!! Please stop making them!! Your comment about continuing to do the same thing while expecting a different result is dead on! I continue to wonder how all of this is so obivious to the fanbase, and yet seems on the surface to completely elude those in charge.

    1. Thank you 🙂 I sometimes wonder how much damage all the preseason media hype does. I guess I’m asking if the players start to believe their press clippings before they’ve won anything. Well, if we don’t make the playoffs or we’re out early, Greg Jennings will have more time to take all his money and work on a new clothing line (snark)

  5. I blame all reporters. They need to get some New York press in though meeting and make the coaching staff accountable for their acts. Our reports are too nice. We talk about MM put a fire under the players but when I see most of the Mm stuff after games, they let him slip by with nonsense answers.

  6. I feel your frustration Al as some of the things that have bothered you have bothered me as well. With 2 games left and a playoff spot waiting for us if we win both, lets hope for the best.

  7. You forgot to mention 3 down lineman on 3rd and long. That makes me so damn frustrated I could punch a hole in my wall.

    1. Yes. I initially had a lot more in there but it was so long you would have had to take an extra day vacation to read it. I tried to take it easy on Capers too because he has done a pretty good job with that motley crew, but I agree with you David. I’m sure I have selective memory but since the 3rd and forever conversion by the Eagles in the playoffs it seems we give up an awful lot of 3rd and longs. It is particularly frustrating now when we have a DC that can scheme blitzes that work (yet we don’t on 3rd down)

  8. I happen to think the answer to your title question is simply “Special Teams.” We could very likely have the #1 scoring defense in the league and miss the playoffs. I don’t know if that’s ever happened before. So our D is good enough. I think our O is good enough. What does that leave?

  9. So I’m just wondering if your still so upset with the packers management now! They stayed consistent with what they were doing in the face of criticism like yours and pulled out every victory after this post to win the superbowl. Seems to me MM knew what he was doing after all!

    1. First, I’m thrilled the Pack won the SB. That’s 4 in my lifetime, 3 of which I have seen live on TV. If you read everything I’ve written in the past 3 years (mostly on CHTV), you would know how hard I defended MM and TT after the Favre fiasco. I like MM. He makes mistakes like all human beings though. I am happy he won a close game and that it happened in the SB. I’m even happier that defense, which was held together with chicken wire and duct tape, came up so big in the 2nd half. We have the talent and youth to win several more.

      Having said all that, yes, I am still concerned that we improve some things next year. The truth is the WRs left at least 2 touchdowns on the field in the SB with drops and Big Ben should have never been in a position to win at the end. That’s part of my concern. We can’t seem to close games out. I’m also glad Mason was not in a position to win/lose the game. I was at the Atlanta playoff game and he made nothing in warm-ups from 50+. He also missed one in that game. That’s in a dome mind you. Actually, Special Teams as a whole were not impressive this year. On the bright side, MM got unanticipated production from James Starks since my original post and that helped a lot and will help next year as well.

      Further, A-Rod confirmed my suspicion during SB week when he said MM is a “players” coach. The man has favorites. There is no question in my mind. I believe that hurts him sometimes. I also still believe he needs to let someone else handle the clock and timeouts during games next year. That area needs improvement.

      So, happy, yes. Thinking everything is peachy for a repeat, no. We have some things to work out. And listen, if all it takes for the Pack to go on a run is for me to document my concerns then I’ll do it every week 🙂

      Here’s to the off-season being short so we can get back at this thing

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