Mike McCarthy Displays His Own Polluted Mindset

Mike McCarthy's Packers offense

The NFL has become a league of constant change and adaptation. What works for you one year will probably not work for you the next. To believe you can run the same base plays every year and have faith that Aaron Rodgers wins the game for you? Well, that’s a polluted mindset, Mike.

The Green Bay Packers offense should be one of the more dynamic in the NFL, but to use a technology metaphor, Apple Computer they’re not; instead, think staid IBM.

The “IBM Way” is a declaration that they have their way of doing things and will continue to do things that way, no matter what. Apple computer instead reacts to the market dynamics and adjusts accordingly.

Mike McCarthy is an IBM guy all the way.

I’ve written many times about McCarthy and his lack of creativity as a play designer. For a man who loves to talk about un-scouted looks, where have they been these first three weeks? Has anyone seen anything different from the Packers? If you have, please clue me in.

I used to think having DirectTV was a great thing, but now I’m having some doubts. You see, I get to watch games of a lot of other teams thanks to DirectTV, and what I see makes me jealous. I see bunch formations confusing defenses, I see players in motion (and I don’t mean the tight end as an h-back), I see jet sweeps, I see crossing routes, I see pick plays…

I see so many things being done to confuse defenses, but I don’t see these things from the Packers. I see the same 8 running plays, the same 10 route combinations. Talk about doing your opponent a huge favor.

Where is the creative use of Randall Cobb? He may not be Percy Harvin, but couldn’t the Packers at least try to use him in a similar way? For a coach who claims to have a big enough playbook to go through three games and never repeat a play, where are these other plays?

I’ve heard a lot of moaning that the receivers aren’t getting open enough. Why do you suppose that is? Are they suddenly not as good as they used to be or do defenses know where they are going? The Packers best pass plays seem to come when Rodgers extends the play and the receivers are left to improvise. When, you know, the defensive backs don’t know where the receiver is going.

During this preseason, I had great hopes for the Packers offense based on their use of the running backs in the passing game. Designed routes, screens, dump-offs, they were all working and they were drive extenders. They gave the defense another thing they had to worry about covering. WHERE HAVE THEY GONE?

I was watching the Seattle – Denver game and towards the end of the fourth quarter, Phil Simms started gushing that the Broncos were pulling out plays he had NEVER seen them run before. Well, neither had Seattle and those plays allowed the Broncos to come back and tie the game against the best defense in the NFL.

Simms will not be gushing about Mike McCarthy’s offense any time soon.

Packers fans have been spoiled by Aaron Rodgers. Too many times he has bailed the Packers offense out and fooled people into believing it’s McCarthy’s offense. It’s not.

Mike McCarthy has his base principles and concepts, has his game plan, but one thing he hasn’t had in a few years, is an offense that surprises anyone. He believes if the players just  execute his concepts, they will be successful, no matter what. That’s the IBM mindset, and in today’s NFL, Mike, that’s a polluted mindset.






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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, 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 Drafttek.com.


50 thoughts on “Mike McCarthy Displays His Own Polluted Mindset

  1. Good stuff Al as always. Nice to know somebody else is as deflated and pissed as I am. The biggest worry I have of the Packers, is them not noticing their own mistakes. Hopefully I’m wrong.

  2. “The “IBM Way” is a declaration that they have their way of doing things
    and will continue to do things that way, no matter what. Apple computer
    instead reacts to the market dynamics and adjusts accordingly.”

    Absolutely spot on article! With the variety of weapons that this team has, they do a very poor job of designing plays to take advantage them. Why are they not finding more creative ways to use guys like Randall Cobb, and what ever happened to Richard Rodgers, is he still on the team??? The defense decided to show up today for a change, but this time it was the offense and McCarthy’s lack of creativity that sent them home with an “L”…

  3. Seriously I’d like the Packers to turn the keys over to Rodgers. Sure they’d game plan prior and all, but then I’d see if the problem is with Rodgers changing plays on the line or MM’s original calls.
    I know one of MM’s favorite things as HC is to call plays, but maybe if he were observing, instead of buried in the play sheet, he could get a better feel for what’s going on during the game.
    There’s some advantages to continuity, such as the QB and coach being on the same play, but things have gotten stale and I have sensed a growing rift between QB1 and the coach over play calling.

  4. How about getting Jeff Janis into the action? That dude may be the fastest guy on the field. Why aren’t trying something to get the ball in his hands? And… handing the ball off to Lacy 5 yards deep in the end zone? Really?

    1. Totally agree – creates a defense problem for opponents.
      The season could very well turn around when they suit up Janis and start him opposite Nelson.
      Rodgers of course will have to be convinced this works
      Will MM do this? Not according to this blog that doesn’t have a lot of optimism in MM creativity.

  5. It drove me crazy that they started out with a series of running plays (I do not fault MM for attempting to establish the run), but then they wait until 3rd and long to pass. And when he does pass, it is from the shotgun and not off a play-action. Kind of defeats the purpose of establishing the run.

    Also, the screen play (that they used to do well) is supposed to help slow down a pass rush.

  6. I agree with this, but why does Clements get a pass? Isn’t he supposed to be the guy, you know, coordinating the offense? Certainly MM shares some blame, and he’s the one calling the plays, but when we’re talking play design, and it’s stubborn lack of creativity, isn’t a lot of that on Clements? What exactly sure he do?

  7. Bravo Al. Well said and something that’s needed to be said for sometime.

    Oh and MM is also “IBM” when it comes to his selection of defensive coaches — or is Dom more like RCA?

    Anyway, it takes a Jersey guy to tell it like it is while the lap-dog Wisconsin press constantly tells the locals we should all be thankful to have MM & TT because they won a Super Bowl. 4 years ago.

  8. Pure Gold. When I criticize McCarthy when we’re winning I’m usually scolded. It takes a special kind of loss for people to realize just how bland and vanilla McCarthy’s offense truly is. Suddenly, hating on MM is popular again.

    The people at Total Packers put it best: MM is an offensive coordinator, a really good one in fact. But a true coach he is not.

    I wanna say that this is a learning experience and that the Pack will rebound, just like they always do. But the truth is, I’M GETTING TIRED OF SEEING THEM HAVING TO HAVE LEARNING EXPERIENCES!!!!

    How many times do they have to fail like this to finally get through their head that this offense is so predictable that they can’t get away with it forever???

    Well it’s on to Chicago. Packers will probably beat them through and through and then go RIGHT BACK to plain old predictable playcalling the week after and then another embarrassing defeat after that. Sigh…

    1. I’d go on the record almost 180* opposed to that thesis.

      MM is a great HEAD coach, an organizer, delegator, administrator.

      His biggest weakness is his own personal hubris that he’s a great OC, capable of out-coaching another team’s DC on game day and that is the crux of the issue that is handicapping the Packers.

      Between his offensive creativity vacuum and Capers defensive brain cramping tongues, improvement and increasing success for this team is the exception not the rule.

  9. I wrote this as a comment on ProFootballspot and felt in applies also here with Jersey Als thinking.

    “The Packers have all the ingredients a writer would need to create a great story…plot,cast,location etc.The problem is its just another book like many others written and no one takes it seriously.

    The answer to that is being able to translate it to the ‘Big Screen’ so to speak.McCarthy won’t allow someone to make an adaptation to the screen..action,moving parts etc in fear of becoming what he already is…dormant and passe’.

    Most writers today write with the hopes of it becoming a movie….Seattle has such..which is why their #1 at the box office.”

  10. For years I have been I been beating the same drum about MM. Had he not won it all in 2010 I would like to think that he would have been let go, but him and TT are joined at the hip. With some good offensive minds out there looking for a head coaching job maybe the packer faithful should start trying to get both of them out. With one of the most dynamic QB’s in the business we just barely get by year each making it into the playoffs. AR is not going to be around forever, to not get at least 1 or 2 more SB’s with him would be a let down. Its time for a change in the regime.

    1. My thoughts exactly. Thompson’s drafts have been terrible for the most part since Schneider left before the 2010 season. Look at the 2011 and 12 drafts, for the number of picks he didn’t do well at all. To top that off he refuses to sign a FA for the most part. I applaud Thompson’s signing Peppers, but it’s to little to late. This team is farther from a SB with each passing year. Trust and believe, the rest of the NFC is praying the Packers keep MM and TT.

  11. Much of GB’s offensive futility so far has been due to the complete disappearance of the rushing attack. I DO think we need to keep in mind that SEA, NYJ and DET are three of the stoutest defensive fronts in the league, and they could very well be the best three that GB will face all year. Furthermore, I DO think we need to remember that Tretter and Bulaga have missed significant time against these very good defenses.

    But still. It’s hard to overstate how abysmally poor the GB running game has been over the first three games. Everybody expected GB to be able to gash you if you didn’t respect the run. Um…. on second thought, not so much. After three games…

    Only four teams currently have fewer yards rushing than GB, and one of them – CHI – still hasn’t played its third game yet.

    Only six teams average fewer yards per rush.

    GB’s longest rush on the season is 17 yards. Only one team is worse than that.

    GB has lost two fumbles in the running game, tied with only DAL and ATL. No team has lost more than two.

    Detroit didn’t budge out of cover two last night… and why should they? GB can’t run the ball to keep a defense honest, and they don’t have a tight end who can split the seam. It’s no wonder that the deep passing game has been virtually non-existent. The running game is “even more non-existent.”

    1. Do you think the Packers had any surprises for the Lions in the running game yesterday? Or did you see the same plays in the game they saw on tape? The stubbornness of this coach does nothing to help the situation out. No doubt, three very good run defenses they’ve faced and I expect things to be better against the Bears, but still, how about giving your guys a better chance to succeed?

      1. Al, it’s your site so you’re free to express yours opinions as you wish. The rest of us don’t get that pass.

        Most people here (including me) have never even seen a pro football game plan, and would be incapable of understanding it if we did. As far as plays are concerned, what look like the same 8 running plays and 10 route combinations on TV could easily be variations we can’t discern.

        Everyone is entitled to express their opinion. It’s fun to comment after the game. There were a lot of things wrong yesterday. In my observation, Lang, Sitton, and Linsley could not stop the middle rush so AR could not step up in the pocket. But when it comes to the details of game planning and play calling we need to know what we don’t know. I believe the expression “stay in your lane” is applicable.

        1. Was waiting for this. Someone always chimes in with “we don’t really know.” While there is some truth to that, there are plenty of people here who have played some football. Maybe not on the pro level, but we’ve studied plays, we’ve studied game plans, we’ve watched tape of upcoming opponents and schemed against them. Personally, I feel pretty comfortable analyzing plays. Without a doubt, if I went back and analyzed every play more closely, I’d feel even more confident of what I’ve seen, but that kind of free time eludes me at the moment.

          And I don’t know what you mean by “the rest of us don’t get that pass.” Your opinion counts as much as mine here, my site or not.

        2. I agree that Lang and Linsley, and to a lesser degree, Sitton (at least as to what I’ve come to expect from him) had bad games and allowed way too much penetration in the run game. RT and LT were roughly average.

          I don’t agree about any of the writers getting a pass. I suspect that the authors at this site need a pretty thick skin.

    2. Throw to set up the run, not vice versa. This isn’t rocket science though MM’s futility at play design and play calling would have you thinking it was.

  12. I’m not sure the “Look at Denver” argument holds a lot of water. Denver lost, their offense was pathetic for 3+ quarters, and they only scored 18 points – just 2 more than GB managed against Seattle (two of Denver’s points came from a Seattle safety). Denver’s total yardage was 332, which is sub par.

    Not counting a halftime kneel-down, Denver’s first 10 drives involved 50 plays, gained 187 yards (3.7 per play) and scored 3 points.

    That’s not awesome. Was Phil Simms also complaining about how badly Denver’s offense sucked most of the game?

    1. I don’t usually complain about announcers and analysts, but Phil Simms is about annoying as they come. He doesn’t seem extremely bright either. It’s not a shock he saw something he he hasn’t seen before. Combine that with his interference when his son was playing at U of L and you get a picture of not a very good guy. Of course, not knowing him personally this could be an inaccurate opinion.

    2. You’d think Denver would have used some of those “new” plays earlier in the game when they were struggling, wouldn’t you?

  13. Just one thought! When opponents close Jordy, Packers do not have passing attack. The only mistake Jets did was to let Jordy one on one. Seattle covered him, as well as Lions. Packers scored just 1 TD per game! Jets gave us 3 TDs because they keep Jordy one on one… We do not have offense. Everybody plays alone and for themselves. There is no chemistry among the OL, RBs, QB & WRs. Defense was perfect – they kept LIons to 10 points only (3 points till 4th qaurter). The rest 9points was given by Packers offense… It is sad to say that, but this is the truth!

  14. Excellent….so sad that nothing is going to change though…not with this stubborn coaching staff…the Pack could use Cobb and Harris much more creatively and others as well…the league has caught up to MM now hopefully he will adapt and change things up…sick of hearing “pad level” or “we’ll clean that up”…….why does he have to stare at that play card there can’t be much on it…

    1. He coaches like a dead man.

      Zero inspiration + Zero creativity = Sh*tty results.

      Anybody surprised?!

  15. The problem hasn’t really changed. Our offensive line is, and has been, below average. Why anyone thinks Lang is not a big problem spot is completely beyond me. When the line gets blown up, which happens constantly, if you are watching, you can see it usually starts with Lang getting manhandled.

  16. Could not be said or put any better. I have been numb since yesterday and I only saw the second half. While I was pleased to see the defense show up (although they had their usual prevent breaks in there) I am just beyond frustrated. As a fan since the early 60’s I am at a loss to explain why when even in the lean years, when talent was few and far between they had to run the complete mix and of course there was the reverses,screens etc. What I can not understand and what kills me is to watch the last 3 games and so much of the last few years where they run the same stupid plays over and over and most of all waste the great talent they now have. Just amazing and sad, MM and DC days should be numbered although I still keep waiting to see my Packers show up, I need a great game!!!!!! We all do and deserve better than this,

  17. Couldn’t agree more with this article. Clearly, defenses have figured out how to stop the Packers offense. The Lions secondary is crap and they were able to keep our wide receivers covered throughout the game. Like Al stated, the cornerbacks knew the Packers receivers routes by heart.

    Their Dline was dominating the right side of our Oline. To counter this, zero screen passes or quick slants were called. Our running backs never drifted into the flat for an easy catch and run. These options seem to be erased from the Packers playbook, so it’s one less thing defenses have to watch for.

    A lot of people are stating the players just aren’t executing, but it’s a lot easier to execute plays when the defense doesn’t know what’s coming. Mike, it’s time to mix it up, or find a new job.

  18. Al you hit the nail almost on the head, I didn’t understand the whole keep running the ball against the Lions 3rd rank rush defense and not attack street pickups in the secondary. Mr Rodgers also needs to take alot of the blame as from what I seen this year he is playing scared. He won’t run for a 1st down and I even seen him pull a Favre yesterday and just fall down when under pressure. I think his heart is not in it and he is believing all the hype about him. I was actually hoping they would bring in Flynn yesterday so we could have a chance to win. I even made the suggestion of trading Rodgers to someone for their next 3 1st round picks.

      1. haha, exactly…big time Ted sure doesn’t wow me anymore, i don’t see how he’s so revered as such a genius and guru of the draft…basically without his brain trust he lost the past few years, his drafts are average to poor….just my opinion though, Ask Vic and you’ll get a much different one…

    1. If you were paying attention, you would know I have been writing not-so-complimentary articles about Mike McCarthy for years, going back to before the Super Bowl win, even. the past few years, he’s run one of the least imaginative offenses in the NFL.

  19. I’m done with MM , Aftee yesterday he has the balls to say Lacy needs to play better? What a loser. Hard to gain yards when the whole world knows when and what is coming, 3 and short we go for the bomb or we go with the run for 3 straight gain a couple and its 3 and out! Aaargh

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