Packers Mike McCarthy a Modern-Day Nero: Fiddles while Green Bay Burns All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Packers Coach Mike McCarthy
Mike McCarthy: Fiddle Player

Mike McCarthy is widely praised for his calm demeanor and approach to head coaching.  Never one to fly off the handle, McCarthy soldiers on with his plan, come hell or high water. Despite the team collapsing around him, McCarthy refuses to panic or take drastic measures in an attempt to turn things around.

In some cases, and definitely right now, that’s much more of a negative for the Packers than a positive.

When “Stay Calm and Carry On”  isn’t working, sometimes you have to say f**k it and go kick some guys in the ass.

The Packers were a complete embarrassment to the organization in front of a national audience yesterday. Actually, last Sundayalso, but they caught lightning in a bottle and lucked out a tie against the lowly Vikings.

When your players come out and lay eggs several weeks in a row, who’s responsible? Ultimately, it’s the head coach’s job to have his players ready to play. McCarthy has failed in that department.

But our star quarterback is injured!!!  He provides the motivation. Hearing a lot of that on twitter.  Folks, if Packers players need their quarterback to provide motivation to block and tackle and play hard, it’s a sad state of affairs.

And in effect, it is.

Sure there have been other injuries, and I admittedly have used that myself as a reason to give them a pass for most of this season, but not anymore. Today the Packers actually got three starters back on defense; Shields, Jolly and Perry.

It didn’t matter. They were gashed as badly as any defense I’ve ever seen. The front seven seemed to be moving in slow motion in comparison to the Lions. When they were in reach of Bush or Bell, it was like they were waving at ghosts. Even the arm tackles were hitting nothing but air.

Special teams were just as bad, with the man Mike McCarthy cut, Jeremy Ross, adding some embarrassing insult to injury to the head-hanging Packers.

On offense, I was optimistic when McCarthy threw a couple of screen passes during the first series. Seemed like he had a plan for slowing down the Lions’ rush that would soon register 7 sacks. He didn’t – we never saw another screen the rest of the day. If I’m wrong about this (I did miss a few plays) someone please correct me.

While his play calling was as unimaginative as usual, at least he did throw a lot more on first down today. Problem was Matt (the false savior) Flynn could do little even when he had some time to throw, which wasn’t often.

Suh and the dirtbags soundly stomped on (just figuratively this time) Josh Sitton and the good guys on the Packers offensive line.

It’s been said teams take on the personality of their coaches, and this couldn’t have been more evident today. Schwartz the Dick’s Lions played hard, relentless and take no prisoners football. The Packers played even-tempered and gentlemanly football, perhaps better suited for a Cricket match than a football game.

After the Eagles loss, a testy McCarthy assured us in his post-game press conference that he would address the “recurring issues” first thing Monday morning. Then in his Monday afternoon press conference, he blew off those comments with a shoulder shrug and an “I said that? Obviously, he had done nothing.

And it was just two weeks ago that McCarthy praised his team, saying how proud he was of their response to the challenges they faced. This was right after they didn’t show up against the Giants. I was flummoxed by those comments at the time, but figured maybe they were a fore-bearer of good things to come. They weren’t – now they just sound stupid and fairly tone deaf  to the timber of his team.

Last week, after the fortunate tie against the Vikings, McCarthy said,  “We’re a football team going through some peaks and valleys. I thought our team did a very good job fighting through the valleys.”  Really Mike? Really? Three penalty aided scoring drives to save some face after a horrendous three quarters of football against the lowly Vikings is something to be proud of?

If you’ve been a reader here for awhile you know I’ve been a critic of McCarthy before. Just two weeks ago I called out his lack of creativity in play design/play calling and this game only reinforced those feelings. For a guy who claims he has enough plays to play a triple header and not repeat any plays, I’d like to see McCarthy use some of those other plays – wouldn’t you?

I can point to at least five plays the Lions ran today that were well-designed, deceptive, timely and not surprisingly, successful. You see nothing like that from the Packers offense. Same old tired plays that require perfect execution to be successful, because the defense knows what’s coming.

But McCarthy soldiers on. Ignoring all that’s going around him with steadfast belief (stubbornness) that his way is the right way. No need to change things up, no need to panic. No reason to go out of the box in a desperate attempt to steal a win or two in Rodgers’ absence.

Perhaps this has become a redundant tune from me, so sorry if I’m boring anyone, but I feel strongly that the Packers would be a better team if Mike McCarthy was not the head coach. It’s great for the players to be part of team tranquility, it’s obviously why they all like playing for him – but is it the best way to coach a sport so dependent on emotion?

Whether it’s stubbornness, naivety, denial or ego, Mike McCarthy fiddles on while the fire ranges around him. Personally, I’d rather have a fighter that does everything he can think of to put out the blaze.

Put down the fiddle Mike…


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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


60 thoughts on “Packers Mike McCarthy a Modern-Day Nero: Fiddles while Green Bay Burns

  1. Well, you hit on some really good points.

    I often wonder what kind of a coach he would be if he wasnt calling the plays, and simply managed the game, like Mike Tomlin and John Harbaugh.

    And I would love a reporter to follow up one of his reasons/excuses with an explanation. Take yesterday, after the game. What does he mean by this: “I didn’t really feel Matt had a lot of great opportunities, frankly,” Define the opportunites, please. Like going on the field to start a drive? To me, thats an opportunity. If you want great opportunities, are you referencing field position? And thats just one example. Ever watch or read his pressers? Try to make sense of his ‘coachspeak’. If he preaches accountability, he needs to be more accountable for his responses, and not just mumble-jumble his way through the pressers.

    1. Agree with all of the above. Here’s the good news; good draft pick, maybe Capers goes, gives time to make Tolzien into a legit backup–Flynn is bad.
      Draft-day strategy: the 1st 10 picks = 5 Offensive Line, 5 defensive line (alternating). Solve those two problems and the Pack will be pack no matter who the HC is…

        1. FA safeties are cheap!

          Did TT forget all the FAs on the 2010 squad? Peprah, Green, Walden that year, all necessary and all contribute. Woodson, Pickett, Bush and Kuhn were FA signings earlier.

          Just sign one FA for the biggest hole after the draft to show you care Ted. This year SS screamed “We got nobody” A fair number of veteran choices were available prior to the start of camps at 1.5M or less.

    2. Yesterday hurt on So many levels. Non existent tackling and blocking dominated from start to finish. This was the first time under mm I saw a mm packer team beat mentally before the game was 1 qtr old. The players on both side, but especially the defense, packed it in for not just this game, but now it looks like the season. It was like watching the pack of the 70s and 80s play without really believing they can win. Just show up seems to be the standard now.

      Before this game, dc was in deep trouble with packer nation. Now, mm can be added to the list.

  2. MM and TT are egomaniacs. And we all know how long it takes for a bruised ego to heal. Oh crap another injury to the Packers team…

      1. By refusing to sign any respectable free agents, by running Lacy into the line twice then throw on 3rd and 9 time and time again. By denying his team is in trouble, do I need to go on? I hope AR is done for the season because this is a wash till heads roll!

  3. The last few years when the Packers have been beaten badly it comes down to the same thing…….losing the battle on the offensive and defensive lines. The skill positions, qb,rb,wr,db seem good. We get blown off the ball and put no pressure on the passer.

  4. The injuries are a convenient excuse, but MM is in denial that his team just flat out sucks right now. It’s unusual territory for GB and I don’t know that anyone around here really knows how to deal with it. IMO MM and the team has just gone into shock over the accumulation of bad breaks this team has gone through. They haven’t handled adversity well, which is very unusual.

    That being said, there is still a lot of talent on the team. I hope MM lets Capers walk, along with Raji, Tramon, and J. Jones. Get a simpler system in place so the defense can play faster and better next year.

    The future is still bright guys. Just didn’t happen this year.

    1. I dunno how new this is. Yesterday was pretty much like recent losses to the Giants & SF. They’ve consistently lost to teams that have good offensive & defensive lines.

  5. Love the “Nero” comparison. They even kinda look alike, although I have no way of knowing if Nero’s eyes pointed in slightly different directions.

    Tough to watch, Al. The last 2+ years remind me of a condensed version of 1997 through about 2003. We lost bodies from both Super Bowl years, then tried to rebuild with more of an emphasis on rushing the ball and then the defense collapsed. There likely will be no 4th and 26 defining moment and no Ed Donatell scapegoat this time, however.

  6. Al, I totally agree with your comments on the Lions’ play-calling. I know the plays you’re referring to, and I had the same reaction – wow, that was creative and effective; why can’t our team ever do that?

    This feels like a Lost Season at this point.

  7. It takes years of smart moves and some luck to build a winning team along with spending some buck to make good acquisitions like when the packers got Reggie White. The players the packers have now are not NFL ready. The only keepers are Rodgers, Mathews, lacy, and Nelson all the others can be let go and replaced with no loss Including the so called coaches they seem to be more facilitators then coaches always making excesses for poor performance. So now we can wait for the personal replacements and then another two or three years to be a respectable team again.

  8. Yesterday’s game was a turning point for me. Before yesterday, I still struggled with whether we needed coaching changes, after all this unit won a Super Bowl. I have felt that DC probably should be replaced, But I also know that injuries and our talent level have definitely contributed to poor defensive play. I also still liked the calm and steady approach of MM, even though his in-game lack of adjustment and stubbornness were very frustrating at times.
    But yesterday was a tipping point for me. We basically had our starting D out there and we couldn’t make a tackle when it counted. And while Flynn is no Josh McCown, our offense shouldn’t have looked that un-inspired and inept. MM said he takes responsibility, but I have to believe that at this point, the team has lost confidence in him. Rogers seemed to illustrate this to me in how he lost his temper on the sidelines. While I used to think MM’s loyalty and calm demeanor were assets, I think they have resulted in him losing this team.

  9. The most embarrassing performance from a Green Bay Packer team since the 70’s. Couldn’t block, couldn’t tackle, absolutely couldn’t cover the pass or rush the passer. The only bright light would have been play of the receivers when Flynn actually got the ball out of his hands. No excuse for this what so ever, having the team prepared is the job of the head coach regardless of the players provided by the GM (see Carolina Panthers…). You know during the off season I was for a few min’s hoping that TT would grab an aging and low cost James Harrison just to put some MEAN in the defense. Oh well. Always was & always will be “A Packer Fan”

  10. I was just anti-Capers but this five game span has put me on the anti-McCarthy bandwagon too.

    Their jobs aren’t to design schemes that only work when carried out by multiple hall of famers, but to maximize the talent you have. Putting Newhouse at guard shows me they can’t even diagnose who their best players are. If Lane Taylor and Sherrod are worse than Newhouse that’s scary. Desmond Bishop never would have played if not for injuries.

    Can’t believe I’m becoming a clean the house zealot…

    1. surely the house has to be cleaned on the D side; i see maybe three keepers, and the newly signed burnett is not one of them. Bakhtari had his first truly bad game, but then so did Sitton and everyone else on the O line. but i would not clean house on that side of the ball. Where is Lattimore, surely he could do a better job than Hawk did yesterday. What in the world is the excuse for having Hawk on Reggie Bush out of the backfield? This was such an embarrassing performance that it really makes me wonder if a radical change is not in order. We cannot waste the prime years of true star like AR.

      1. At this point more in favor of a coaching purge than player purge. I know he was hurt this week, but lattimore started the year behind hawk jones and francois. Last year it took them too long to see EDS was better than jeff saturday, and rodgers had to lobby for playing time for dujuan harris.

        1. They can’t spot talent on their own team. Same with Bishop and Lattimore. And look how Ross embarrassed them yesterday.

  11. Interesting and good point. Newhouse has officially now proven he can’t play either left or right tackle, as well as center. Please MM don’t try him at guard.

    1. When EDS was injured, Lang went to C and Newhouse took over at RG. The results were predictable. Awful.

  12. I’m a full-time coach in another sport and while I’m not in the NFL game sometimes the BS that comes from Lombardi Ave is amazing: to wit-this hubris that just by having “full confidence” in Flynn, Newhouse, Sherrod, etc… is enough to make them good. What? I once heard something from an old Nvay friend, “Don’t P— on me and tell me it’s raining”. As the HC, admitting you’re wrong, even going long-term and shifting focus to next season now by experimenting with schemes and strategies, is a strength not a weakness. The coaches are always playing the last game not the one in happening to them. I remember when I first saw Kapernick and though he really wasnt that good. He ought to send the Packers am thank-you card as they made him seem great, probably made him millions even though he’s just a middle-of-the-roader.

  13. Great article, Al. I’m ready for a coaching change. I also think TT needs to step up his game or step out.

  14. This team is dead period ! AR has made up for the short comings of not only the lack of talent, but coaching. So true that this is such a vanilla offense with predictable play calling. TT and MM egos are getting in the way.T he organization needs to take a step back and re-think that free agency is not a bad thing. You just do not have to go Ape S–T crazy, but finding immediate talent is there & at a decent price. Yesterdays game was one of the lowest points in all my years as a fan, and I date back pre- super bowl era, and we had some lean years. If MM had players who take the blame week end and week out for why they lost the game he would release them.So put a mirror in his office and take a look at himself.The sad part is he probably still thinks he is the best choice. If this were other teams you would hear chatter and rumors of the coach being fired on sports networks so why not with him. In watching games and not that I think highly of there opinions, but Terry Bradshaw said last week how fortunate we are to have MM and what a brilliant coach he is. Troy Aikman has said it on numerous occasions when covering the Packers. Obviously great hall of fame players and I try to see what they are saying to be, but its just not there. My only fear is that the organization feels that we still have a chance, and mathematically we do. If AR is coming back to give this team a fighting chance, then please stay out. I would rather lose the rest of the games than to possibly him getting injured even worse, cause you know they will be coming after him. After yesterdays debacle who thinks that O-line will give him a chance to throw. They are good at talking trash about someone, and deservedly so, but back up what you say you need to.

  15. Is there a D worse than ours? I am hard pressed to figure out whose it would be. I am not ready to call for Mac’s head, but I sure would like him to give up play calling and hand it over to an OC with more imagination. I would turn the rest of the year into seeing who we can keep on the D side. and do not bring Rodgers back until he is absolutely ready.

  16. When you look at the successful coaches throughout the league, ie Pete “the Cheater” Carroll, Jim “the Prick” Harbaugh, Bill “Hoody” Belichick”. Jon Fox (okay, he’s a good guy but Boss Elway is a tough MFer, they all have the same thing in common. That is they are angry on and off the field. They take their job seriously and won’t put up with any shit from their players or coaches. In affect, they are feared. McCarthy is just the opposite with such generic lines as “they held their own today” though I’m not sure what he was referring to by “their own”. Then follows it up with “we’ll look at the tapes of the game….”. Are you kidding? Did anyone miss Rodgers shaking his head back and forth after a play was clled in? Did anyone miss himthrowing the clipboard? Bottom line, MM is boring, predictable, unimaginative and a real p*##y!

    1. Rodgers needs to be calling the plays. McCarthy takes too long to get the plays in and too long to adjust his play calling to adjustments made by the defense.

        1. No, I think that only would work if you only have ONE personnel package on offense. How do you coordinate player substitutions in a timely manner if Rodgers is calling the offense?

  17. Get out the broom and sweep it clean – starting with TT. TT more than anybody is responsible for this hot mess. Aside from AROD and CMIII and a few WRs, the talent on this team is horrible. MM is one of the worst HCs I’ve ever seen and I’ve been living and dying with teh Packers since 1960. Give me Forrest Gregg or Bart Starr over this guy.

    Dom Capers either has become senile and/or TT is giving him no talent. Or is DC picking the defensive talent? All defensive coaches need to go, even Trgovac who I always liked. Offensively there’s a couple of guys I still like but when the broom comes out – clean sweep. Mark Murphy doesn’t have the cayones to do that this year but another year of this crap and he will have no choice.

    Per the Ghost, I like my guys. God made only so many big guys, you have to grab one whenever you get the chance. Yuch!

    New era and another SB for AROD!

  18. If only the game was played as well as this article was written. You hammer on the nail perfectly. This team played like a bunch of street free agents and 7th rounders. This D staff is what MM said he supports. In every big game this is the same result. This is not Detroit, Tampa Bay or Cleveland, this GREEN BAY, and this SHIT is unacceptable. LIFE LONG PACKERS FAN!!!!!!!

    1. “This team played like a bunch of street free agents and 7th rounders.”

      TT trades down all his picks to corner the market in the 7th rd. Don’t ya know, they’re cheap to sign. Just draft and develop baby! The Ghost knows best. Oh, the UFA are nice too. Even cheaper. How else are you going to pay Raji and Hawk et. al. the big bucks.

  19. Troy Egghead & Joe Cluck in the Broadcast
    Coop…Old Mac’s farm team laying eggs all over the field…No Xs…no Os…only E I E I Os! What is that Fowl smell? It’s
    the Detroit Turkey Day Massacre!

  20. In the real world when you don’t do your job or under preform you get fired. MM this season is a bust. Let AR get healthy and start evaluating for next season. 9-5-1 or 8-7-1 will not get us in the playoffs and when you start with your evaluation emotions and EGO aside start with yourself as offensive play caller. TT go back and talk to or have Ron Wolf evaluate your preformance EGO aside.

  21. I wouldn’t go as far as to say MM needs to be fired, but he definitely needs to give up his play calling duties. I honestly think he is a good head coach, but he is trying to do too much by doubling as an OC.
    As for our defense, like I’ve been saying for years now, Capers just doesn’t put his players in their position of strengths. Our CB should be pressing at the LOS on almost every down, yet he allows opposing WRs to get free uncontested releases. Ask any NFL WR what they hate, and they will tell you it’s getting pressed at the LOS.

    1. great write up Al. You nailed it.

      folks, MM isn’t going anywhere!!! So get over it and you can’t let 9 defensive people go. Get real.

      We CAN let a few D go such as Raji, take his 8 mil and invest it in someone else.

      At some point, TT or Mark Murphy have to step in. FIRE someone NOW and send the message to those who quit.

      I like the Lovie idea!!! A proven D coordinator at St. Louis and Bears

  22. I still had some hope until yesterday when reality was fully exposed for all NFL fans and teams to see. The comments here about MM’s predictability, and his ego getting in the way are apparent for all to see. I still believe that MM is (or can once again be) an excellent coach. But it’s time to face child hard reality. His coaching staff isn’t getting the job done.

    MM has no control over player selection. His control is over how the systems and players are developed for success. In this, in 2013, he has failed.

    So he can either stick with the status quo systems and coaches and sink with them, or he can realize that significant change is required and lead that change with no guarantees, but at least taking action. His future and his legacy is on the line with his decision.

    In my opinion, the Capers D system is obsolete. We need an innovative young coach with fresh ideas to revive our D. On offense, MM needs to them the offense over to an O Coordinator who is creative, and will use our weapons to their full potential. MM needs to shake things up. We need new coaches for the O line, defensive backfield and special teams,at a minimum. Forget the loyalty and focus on what it takes to win. AND TT, for God’s sake get us a Safety that will dominate!

    1. Problem is offense w/o AROD is just as bad as defense. And MM is convinced it is NOT the coach’s fault. This presumably includes him. Is this why the team laid an egg on Turkey Day? This team is finished. And it won’t come back until coaches and players are changed out.

  23. The talent level on this team is pathetic. Especially on defense. If you don’t believe me, look at the facts. Pro Football Focus grades: I will start with the Packer Lion match up. Anyone who thought the Pack had a chance to win this game is a foolish, head in the sand, non-realist. The offense grades have the pack 41.60, Lions 47.20. Defense -29.63 to 34.60. A 64.23 difference! What happened was not an aberration. Special teams 7.70 to 11.20.
    Lions have more talent in all phases of the game. How can coaches be objectively evaluated with this poor of talent. If you take a look at the grades since 2008 of the active players you will see that Newhouse is the worse player at -45.50 followed by Hawk at -44.20. Replace these two and you solve a lot of problems. The other problems: Raji -13.40 ( don’t pay for this! ), Bush -12.90, Worthy -12.60, Jolly -11, McMillan -9.10, Bakhtiari -9.30, Palmer -7.90, Barclay -7.60, Mulumba -5.40, Neal -5.10, J. Jones -4, Quarless -3, Jennings -2.10. Very poor drafting. It is on the coaches that they keep starting some of these dregs.

    1. Well, it is on TT for acquiring these players and coaches in the first place.

      On the other hand, I have won $500 in each of the last 4 weeks betting against GB. In the MN game, I even got points to go against GB. I’m hoping AROD stays out till he’s 100% healed – I’d like to get another bet or two cashed first. Next best thing to a Packer win, making $$$.

      1. That tells you something, doesn’t it. They’re 0-5 against the spread since the Bear game. Even Vegas overrated the Packers.

  24. Yesterday the bottom fell out. Plain and simple. It happens. I don’t think that the Packers would have won yesterday even with Rodgers. He doesn’t play defense or block after all. This why I hate all Thursday games. With all the injuries and transitions the Packers had no chance to prepare or this game and it showed everywhere. IMO everyone is to blame, coaches, players, and management. Now, where do we go from here. You don’t measure a team or a person by the fall, but by how they respond. We’ll see how the Packers finish the season. If they can pull themselves together then MM should stay. The offense is fine at the skill positions and maybe the O-line is OK with Bulaga and Sherrod back next year. Maybe Trettor at Center and draft a TE. On defense, regardless of how the next 4 games play out, Capers needs to go because the defense needs a serious attitude adjustment. They cannot accept being pushed around week after week. 3-4 or 4-3 we need new, big, mean interior D- linemen and new, mean, intense ILB’s. Also a shut down corner and a safety who can deliver a hit. Long list but that’s where we are. In the meantime, we can judge MM on his leadership over the next 4 games. If he can’t pull this team back together his time may be up as well. Thanks, Since ’61

    1. TT makes all final decisions on draft picks and FA acquisitions and TT/MM make all final decisions on which players to cut. MM makes all final decisions on coaches. Pretty simple to figure out who are responsible for this hot mess. They were riding AROD’s coattails. He hid teir putrid mediocrity.

      1. I wonder how good the information TT is getting. Not much genius in evidence lately.

        It could be that people are afraid to give him the straight scoop, or that he overrides them, or just that the front office talent drain is having its effect.

      2. Meanwhile AR loses basicly another year and ages like everyone else,and not being the kind of bodytype that can withstand hits from what amounts to small trucks because of a line that can’t stop anyone, I’m sure wonders if that injury will ever really be aloud to heal properly when he’s thrown back into this BS!!!

  25. Well! I used to get screamed at for saying EXACTLY what Al just said in this article! guess what! I was saying this 3 years ago! I have always believed this coaching and Packers brain trust to be exactly what they are finally showing us to be. The loss or ageing of the last real good FA’s ( Wood and Pick) and any of the non-drafted TT personnel combined with A. Rodgers injury finally proves my assessment. These guys are over-rated, uninspired, and non competitive in the locker room! They are all TT and MM boys. They carry the ethos of the brain trust and it is showing. MM is a great QB coach PERIOD! nothing else! I repeat nothing else! Capers just sucks! as do most of the position coaches. As long as the Packer management continues down this austere path of TT only players and NO ACCOUNTABILITY we will see the same results, if not worse! OH Yeah! but we are UNDER the salary cap!!!!! Put that in your pipe and see how that smokes . . .

    1. I’ve been in the same boat Mike. It was easy to look at each year’s roster additions and subtractions since 2010 season and see that the team was getting worse by the year. Hawk and Raji suck. Harrell was even worse. His best DL pick to date …. Mike Neal and he reached into the 4th round with a 2nd R pick to get him. He has been mediocre but at least when he hits a guy, he goes down, more than you can say about Hawk. And Raji almost never hits a guy.

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