Analyzing Mike McCarthy’s Season-Ending Press Conference

Mike McCarthy

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy met with the media on Wednesday for his season-ending press conference and talked about several aspects of his football team.  It was the first time McCarthy has spoken since the death of his younger brother, Joseph McCarthy III, last week.

Here are some of the highlights from today’s session.  You can watch the entire conference here.  I’m paraphrasing several of McCarthy’s responses and combining a few where appropriate.

On if any changes can be expected within the coaching staff, specifically special teams“It’s important to evaluate. . I haven’t had the chance to do that yet. . I thought the changes we made last year benefited our program this year. . health was better, for example.  Will continue to evaluate”

It’s clear that McCarthy hasn’t had a chance to determine if he’s ready to make a change in his coaching staff yet.  The team did block quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt and senior personnel executive Alonzo Highsmith from interviewing with other teams who were interested in talking with them so the Packers are holding firm on their policy to keep their coaches whenever possible.  McCarthy did not directly address special teams so the debate will continue as to what the Packers will do with special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum.

When asked if the staff was upset at not being able to speak with other teams, McCarthy reiterated that they’re all made aware of the team’s philosophy on that and there’s no surprises when the Packers block an interview request.

On whether it was personnel or execution that hindered special teams and the Seahawks keying on Brad Jones on the fake field goal – “Comes down to knowing your opponent and executing your responsibility…more about their call versus our formation.  They made a great call and we weren’t able to make the play we needed.”

Before I get into the fake field goal and Brad Jones, I think we need to revisit the definition of insanity.  Doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result.  All season long, Green Bay’s special teams made gaffe after gaffe.  Seven kicks were blocked.  Seven.  So why is anyone surprised that special teams were a huge part of this team’s undoing in Seattle?  The trends were all there and there was nothing to indicate that they were any more capable in this area than they had been all season long.  I, for one, said all season long that this was going to bite this team at the worst possible time.  The lack of ability to improve and get away from the issues this unit had despite the fact that they added another assistant coach says a lot about the work that needs to be done here in moving forward.

Until the NFL banishes all special teams, the Packers have to figure out a way to be good in this area.  A championship team typically executes well in all phases.  When the Packers looked bad on special teams, they were alarmingly bad.  For a coaching staff that has had so much regular season success and seems to have a good program in place, this phase of the game was a real head scratcher in 2014.  They even inserted starters to boost production and attempt to avoid some of the common mistakes.  That did little good in the end.  If there is one area where I see an obvious need for a big change, it’s here.

As far as Brad Jones being the key on the fake field goal, again, who is surprised?  Jones was the bane of this team’s existence this year and the rest of the league paid attention.  Unfortunately, the Seahawks did a ton of homework on this player and made Green Bay’s weakness their strength.  Again, the trends were there:  Brad Jones can’t make plays.  So let’s make him have to do just that in order to stop us from scoring.  And wouldn’t you know it?  Jones didn’t make a play and Seattle found the end zone.  Just like special teams showing up and being exactly who they were all season, Jones did the same.  This wasn’t the back-breaking play of the game, but the fact that one guy out of the 11 that were on the field was the one-and-only key for Seattle to take a big risk in a huge game says enough by itself.  If Jones is back in Green Bay next season, I immediately question this team’s desire to improve and move forward.

On what was learned from the Seattle game and how to turn it into a positive in 2015 – “The 2015 team won’t carry the burden of how the 2014 team’s season ended.  Have to learn from victories and defeats.  Big plays and execution are important.  Seattle made big plays at the end.  Need good fundamentals and applying what you do best to win”

There’s the eternal debate about whether anything truly good can come in defeat in the NFL.  I suppose any incident in life can be a teacher, but let’s not fool ourselves into thinking next year’s team won’t have this game in the back of their minds at some point throughout the season.  When human beings are placed in stressful situations, they tend to rely on their brains recollections of past experiences to get them through it.  Through that process of recalling the past, sometimes the bad things that happened are also recalled.  I don’t buy for a second that the next team that tries an onside kick against the Packers won’t have some players a bit more tense and wanting nothing more than to be the next Brandon Bostick (and let’s hope that that player isn’t Bostick himself!).

Yes, this team needs to move on from what happened and there will be changes in players and scheme next season, but a loss like that and on that stage is the type of thing that never really leaves you.  As a head coach, McCarthy is going to have to work extremely hard to keep that ghost out of his head as he’s calling tight games late.  He talked about needing good fundamentals but part of that should also be an attitude of confidence and playing to win vs. playing not to lose.  It’s been said a hundred times by now: the Packers were playing scared at the end against the Seahawks and it cost them the biggest opportunity they’ve had since their last championship.

On why Julius Peppers gave the “no mas” sign on the Morgan Burnett interception – “those types of calls are made in the heat of the moment and are more about the situation than a principle.  I believed we could move the ball and change the field position.  Can’t fault Morgan for not moving the ball”

I obviously wasn’t on the sidelines on that fateful day in Seattle but I have to believe that a discussion of some sort took place about what to do if the Packers were able to force a turnover.  Peppers is a 14-year veteran who ran two interceptions back for touchdowns this season.  This is just a shot in the dark by me here, but I  highly doubt his instincts kicked in and said “it’s a bad idea to run with the ball in wide open space right now”.  The defense was likely told to get down with the ball and let the offense work its magic.

It’s easy to second-guess the decision making now after the fact but in looking at the play, Burnett has easily another 15-20 yards of wide open real estate that he could have picked up on his own.  If McCarthy truly wanted to flip the field position, why not take the certain yardage after the pick?  When you ask players to think too much during an intense game like football, bad things happen.  You have to let players play and do what comes naturally.  There’s risk on every snap in football.  In a game like that and of that magnitude, Burnett’s sliding was the ultimate sign of fear.  No player should be sliding and giving themselves up unless the clock reads 00:00 and their team has the lead or if their offense only needs a few kneel downs to run the time out.  As it turned out, the Packers attempt to play “keep away” from Seattle backfired when the offense lost yardage and had to punt the ball back shortly after the turnover.

Offensive line’s struggles at times at the goal line – “I don’t agree with the goal line struggle.  Playing on the road vs. at home is different.  Some things we’ll look at and can get more creative in that area.  Thought run blocking as a whole was impressive.  A number of times we creased the defense and scored”

It’s not McCarthy’s personality to say the Packers had their fair share of issues inside the 10-yard line this season.  But the reality is that the eyeball test says they did.  With the players this team has on offense, not punching it into the end zone with less than 10 yards to go is an all-out crime.  There’s too much talent not to have one option free and clear.  Here we are again re-hashing an issue that the team had all season long and how it reared its ugly head in the NFC Championship game.  These things don’t happen by accident!

On the first two offensive possessions, the Packers got deep into Seattle territory and decided to take the points and kick field goals instead of going for it on fourth down.  There will always be a lot of debate about this, much like we still question Mike Sherman’s decision to punt on fourth-and-one against the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2003 playoffs when he had Ahman Green at his disposal.  In this case, you have Aaron Rodgers and some of the best receivers in the league.  It’s only fair that I state for the record that I was OK with taking the points on both of these possessions because of how early in the game it was.  Had the Packers won, McCarthy might still have been criticized for being too conservative, but against a good Seattle defense, the last thing the Packers needed was to be stopped on fourth down and have the Seahawks and their crowd ignited.  McCarthy also said he saw some penetration that the Seahawks were able to get on the early downs that led him to question how successful they could be in trying again.  Going back to the Burnett slide, these decisions are made in a split second and in the heat of the moment.

On McCarthy’s own health situation – I feel good and am reminded him that my own health can’t be taken for granted”

This reminds us all that this is a football game.  Entertainment.  It’s not life or death, although for some it sure feels that way.  I still have friends who are visibly down about the outcome in Seattle and who have trouble sleeping at night.  We’re all fans for our own reasons and no one can tell another how to go about their fanhood.  We can, however, all try to be a bit more aware that after the game ends, life goes on and we all have our roles to play with friends, family, jobs, etc.  Let’s remember that above all else, we all cheer for the same team and want the same thing.  It’s 2015 now and it’s time to move on.

My additional thoughts

  • Randall Cobb needs to be re-signed – While it seems like a no-brainer that the Packers bring Cobb back after the season he had, every day that passes without a new deal only raise more questions about how the Packers are handling the situation.  Cobb told reporters as he was clearing out his locker last week that he hasn’t signed on the dotted line.  While I have every reason to believe the team will bring Cobb back, I also hope that Cobb is aware of the team’s plans and isn’t feeling slighted with every passing day
  • Changes are needed – Brad Jones and Brandon Bostick need to be shown the door.  Jones caused a fumble early in the NFC championship game that helped the Packers jump out to an early lead, but as big as that paly was, it was too little too late.  His mere presence gave the opposition the ability to outmaneuver the Packers and get back some momentum in a game that the Packers were owning at the time.  Jones offers no value to this team and is easily more liability than asset at a key position.  The Packers need better and more and they won’t find it in Jones.  Bostick simply made a mistake.  Everyone is human and he stepped up and owned it after the fact.  But the fact remains that he had one job:  to block.  This takes us back to McCarthy’s referral to the split-second decision making that goes on in a football game.  Bostick obviously wanted to make the play, but he had done nothing all season long.  Nothing.  Like WWE superstar The Rock says, “know your role”.  Play your position and let those more skilled, play theirs.  Bostick pulled a Steve Bartman and he will have to live with it for the rest of his life.  I’m all for giving second chances.  The Packers have shown a reluctance to move on from underperformers in a swift manner in the past but in this situation, I think the Packers need to move on from Bostick and let another team grant him that second opportunity.  As for coaching staff changes, I’m not certain that letting Shawn Solcum go is the answer to the special team woes, but it would send a message that the team and more importantly, McCarthy, expect more.  As for defensive coordinator Dom Capers, who has been a topic du jour this offseason so far, I don’t think the team can afford to let him go at this point nor do I think it’s necessary.
  • It’s OK to question Mike McCarthy’s ability to lead this team in the postseason – I get that it’s tough to win playoff games.  You’re playing against elite teams every week and have to be at the top of your game to advance.  Still, when I look at how many top-tier players the Packers have, especially at quarterback, this is a team that should probably have more to show than it has over the last four seasons.  I’m not necessarily saying they should have another Super Bowl title because that’s always incredibly difficult to achieve, but it was also a realistic possibility for this team in at least two of those four years (2011, 2014).  McCarthy is one of the winningest coaches in Packers history and in the NFL.  He’s led the Packers to a playoff appearance in six straight seasons now.  The Packers have averaged 11 wins per season during that time.  You can’t win a championship without getting in the tournament in the first place.  The Packers are very good at getting there.  It’s what happens from that point forth that is becoming an issue.  For as solid as McCarthy can be from September – December, we have seen some pretty spectacular losses by his teams in January.  The 2007 NFC championship game, 2009 wild card round, the 2011 divisional stinker at home after a 15-1 regular season and this most recent game.  Coaches coach and players play, but teams tend to take on the persona of their leadership and they have had more than their fair share of collapses.  It’s at least worth considering where the lack of confidence stems from.  As long as McCarthy is coaching this team, I don’t see how we can’t wonder if more of the same is in store for future playoff runs.  When I look back at the 2010 team, I see a roster that was loaded with solid veteran leadership and playmakers.  Guys like Charles Woodson, Nick Collins, Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and Ryan Pickett.  Perhaps the Packers achieved the ultimate despite McCarthy’s presence?  This current team has a stable of its own veterans, but they don’t seem as strong as that past group.  The calming effect and confidence just isn’t quite the same.  This is probably insighting the rage in some of you, but I say this more to start the discussion than to deem McCarthy inadequate to lead this team to another championship.  Carry on below in the comments!

Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on

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85 thoughts on “Analyzing Mike McCarthy’s Season-Ending Press Conference

  1. “Burnett has easily another 15-20 yards of wide open real estate that he could have picked up on his own.” Not if you account for Seahawks closing in on him. They don’t just stand there and wait. I don’t have a problem with securing the ball when the Packers were in control of the game and time was running down.

    1. Him going down was the right move but what was the wrong move was the 3 run plays for negative yard after that..Bottom line if MM would have played aggressive and put the ball in Aarons hands they might pick up that first down to run the clock out but he played prevent football and it cost them the game!

      1. We can say “they should have thrown” and “they might have picked up the first”…but they also might have thrown a pick, or ARod might get sack/fumbled, etc.

        The play selection was sound: play the clock with a 2 TD lead. Force Seattle to use their TOs. If you don’t get a first down, it’s OK because you put your defense which had been beating the Seattle offense all day back on the field. We’re letting the outcome dictate the coulda-shoulda-woulda and cloud what’s sound football decision-making.

        1. To all, yes, this is all in hindsight and there’s no shortage of opinions on it. To me, sliding and giving yourself up that soon showed a mentality that is not of a championship caliber. I stand by that 100%. Run until you’re tackled unless there’s no time left on the clock. I also didn’t care for the following offensive series. Both situations led to the downfall. To say one did and not the other. . we can agree to disagree

          1. Agree! This was one of those games it seemed where the D was taking pressure off the O all game long and this was one of those where they did but also could have put the game out of reach. Run until your tackled,

          2. Agree with you Jason Perone… at the time I said that might be one of the plays that would come back to bite us in the arse (ask my wife if I said that!)… and it was..

            1. Hell, ask my husband about what I said in the 1st quarter, with the balless MM not going for it on 4th and barely one.

          3. Correct on both counts. We lost because we stopped playing to win at the moment Burnett intercepted and went down. I also do not think Peppers came up with that advice on his own – I suspect coaching staff either specifically addressed the possibility, or worse, that was the overriding philosophy the team absorbed.

          1. You’re doing exactly what dobber was saying, allowing what was a fluke outcome to decide what the strategy should have been in hindsight.

        2. It’s that exact thinking that cost the Packers a shot for the title..You just verified McCarthy’s conservative play calling as the way to not win games!!! Bottom line if they would play 60 minutes at full throttle instead of taking the foot off the gas when they get a lead they would win more games!

          Playing to win is much better than playing not to lose plain and simple!

        3. by all means, dobber, put the defense back on the field. but the aggressive defense of the first half. why did they send out the “don’t rush the quarterback” soft one? those long pass completions were just awful to watch.

        4. Thrown a pick? It’s Rodgers, not Favre. The outcome was a result of the sit-on-a-small-lead mentality that COST THEM THE GAME. The outcome was dictated by the “play not to lose” instead of “play to win” mentality. It’s classic playoff McCarthy, and I for one hope TT has a long, soulful talk with him about it.

            1. Yes, that would be the guy with 5 int.’s all regular season, and 2 in the playoffs. GET A CLUE, DOBBER!

        5. C’MON MAN, as Ditka would say–5 MINUTES LEFT and you want to run out the clock on the ground when Lacy had gotten far less yards and success against the Hawks after halftime? That’s PLAYING TO LOSE, and that’s exactly what happened.

      2. BALONEY–you guys need to go back and look at some tape–the ONLY players in Burnett’s path were maybe TWO O-lineman that hardly had speed to catch’im, IF they did, he still had an estimated 10-20 YARDS to gain before contact–that was enough or close for a Crosby FG. Do YOU realize–a Crosby FG right there instead of McCarthy surrendering to Hawks “D” on 3 consecutive runs by Lacy–would mean that last drive Rodgers led for the TYING FG–would’ve been a WINNING FG for Crosby and Packers. McCarthy CHOKED in his decision just as he nearly did vs. Patriots and Falcons during season and allowed an opponent to hang around and win a game Packers should’ve driven the nail in coffin and WON.

    2. Or, he could have run, made yardage, Peppers and others could have blocked. You don’t stop playing 5 minutes before the game ends and hope the other team is just going to sit on their hands. Especially a defending SB champion.

  2. While I do agree that Cobb should be signed I also think if his price tag is so high that they have to let other key players walk because they have no cap it would be a unwise move. I feel the most important player to get signed this year is Bulaga, just look at what happened when he went down for a game and Sherrod stepped in, this O line has gelled into one of the best the team has had in a very long time and to lose a big guy like Bulaga would be a major loss and could be the difference in keeping Rodgers upright and healthy. I say that is more important than having Cobb. Bottom line is the Packers have Janis in waiting who could be the opposite receiver of Nelson on the outside this year and move Adams to the slot. Also Abbrederis will be back and he is a pretty good slot/outside receiver himself. So as I said it would be nice to get Cobb signed it would not be the death of the team if he walks also.

    1. C’MON, neither Abbredaris nor Janis is able to step in Cobb’s shoes right now and Adams isn’t ready to move inside. BONEHEADED move by Thompson NOT to have signed Cobb BEFORE the season–Cobb was ready and the contract price would’ve been far less than AFTER a great PRO-Bowl season. That’s gonna cost Packers more money when it shouldn’t have. Boykin is gone,they’ll let him walk and may release Bostick, releasing Brad Jones and Hawk will save some cap money for Cobb, but Thompson still cost himself some big money IF he gets Cobb re-signed but he’s still got good depth with Abbredaris, Janis and Myles White on the roster.

  3. The point about Burnett reminds me of seeing Wes Welker when he was with the Patriots. The Patriots were playing the Colts in the playoffs when Manning was the Colts’ QB. It was a slug-fest. The play I remember was Welker catching a late TD pass from Brady. What impressed me was he chose not to score ASAP. He burned time off the clock by running along the goal line as a Colts defender was closing on him. When he was close enough, he stepped over the goal line, scored the TD ending the play. He had enough situational awareness to take seconds off the clock keeping the ball away from his opponent and scoring the TD. Where was the situational awareness of Peppers and Burnett?

    1. Janis and Abbrederis are still virtually unknown commodities…and if Janis really had that much to contribute, he would’ve been active on game day. Next season is a new game, though. While I don’t think they should break the bank on him because functional slot receivers are a dime a dozen, Randall Cobb gives the Packers tremendous versatility without having to “package” very much and telegraph play selections and tendencies. That, and he can catch the ball…hopefully Jordy Nelson will work on his concentration a little this off-season.

      1. Have you watched any Badger film with Abby playing? He is far from a unknown, he is the best route runner with great hand that has come out of Wisconsin! As for Janis the reason he did not play this year in my opinion is because he came from a division II school and he needed to learn the speed of the pros and that took time but from his few plays he was in during preseason he looks just like another nelson but with better speed so unknown maybe but I am sure he can play ball or he would not have been on the payroll all year either!

      2. Nelson will work on his concentration? He barely missed a pass all season. Yes, the Buffalo game, and who knows what was behind THAT debacle. (Not buying the “Olivia admitted we have sex” excuse. Think we all knew it.)

  4. Some questions…

    Exactly WHY is playing on the road different than playing at home? OK, I get the part about game prep schedules and silent counts, but the rules of the game are not different for the road team. This is exactly the sort of over thinking that seems to bite MM. You’ve got your team, so why not play your game?

    ‘M is a very good “Wednesday coach,” but the most pressing need right now (besides asking Shawn Slocum to clean out his desk) is to shift play calling from MM to a real OC.

  5. The press conference didn’t really contain much. They are increasingly more like press releases. As much as I don’t like McCarthy’s avoidance, I expect him not to throw people under the bus. I hope that they handle things behind the scene. I just don’t have a lot of confidence that he will make some of those changes and we will be forced to live with the weaknesses again next year.

    Before I get too crazy, let me just thank Jason Perone for tearing the scab off the wound.

    Brad Jones and the Field Goal: I am not making a case to bring Brad Jones back to handicap our defense for years to come – BUT – the 7 point field goal goes well beyond Brad Jones. A.J. Hawk bit hard and Sean Richardson was, again, in no-man’s-land. For all we know, Jones may have been coached to get to the kicker. Seattle saw Green Bay’s poor discipline and schemed against it. This is our Special Team coaching in a nutshell.

    Brandon Bostick: A big mistake, no doubt. I would hate to see the Packers axe a man because the moment was bigger than the man. The ball coming right at him, the big eyes and the feeling that he could make the play – it is understandable. The fact that he doesn’t have hands is the troublesome part of this event. Will Bostick be another one of those 3 or 4 year investments that take up roster space and don’t pan-out.

    Morgan Burnette: His slide is a missed opportunity, little more. The inability of the offense to do much with the ball was the real problem.

    Hey, with these rationalizations, I could do the press conference.

    1. “Just like special teams showing up and being exactly who they were all season, Jones did the same. This wasn’t the back-breaking play of the game, ”

      Are you telling me that if the Packers play good, disciplines ST on that kick, stop the fake and hold the Seahawks to zero points on that drive that it wouldn’t have been (to quote our esteemed colleague Big T) “the kick in the ding-ding” that demoralized Seattle and paved the way to Arizona?

      I refuse to say that the game hinged anywhere on one single play, but that was a huge one (i.e. 7 points of huge rather than 3 or 0) and could’ve all but shelved Seattle’s chances of recovering.

      1. I am not sure that you are replying to me but my point is about Brad Jones. The misplay by the Special Teams was huge on this play. Give them the bloody 3 points and guard against the 7. Brad Jones is being vilified for something he was a very small part of. As I point out, many others were chasing the ball and missed the big picture. Ultimately, this was a discipline and coaching issue that the other team took advantage of. People need to stop blaming B. Jones for being a feral cat.

        1. Not only that it’s been well documented the Seahawks were taking advantage of Hawk as well. Jones was just part of that fake working. If Hawk covers the man running FREE, House may catch Ryan and at the very worst they get a 1st down. Because of Hawk the Seahawks score 7 EASY points. Up 16-0 in the 4th quarter, crowd no longer a factor, just concede the 3 points!!!!

  6. Very interesting article with lot of notes. I may be wrong, but I still feel presence of bitter in your text. Bitter for the loss… I was listening Mike McCarthy conference and read, later, the answers. Mike McCarthy said that everybody’s job is in question, so his too. He also said that he has to made evaluation before any decision he will make. I think that is fair. Second, he did not throw any player under the bus and did not want to talk specifically about any play against Seattle. Any one who expects more was delusional, knowing how Mike McCarthy function.
    Also, I will not refer to the games before 2010. 2010 was SB winning season. After that Packers went to 15-1 with 2 games which showed huge problem in Packers offensive side – one dimensional attack. Those 2 games was against Giants and against Chiefs. One of them they lost. When Giants came to Green Bay they already knew they will win. So, Mike McCarthy understood what was wrong and he tried to change that by returning some RB & getting DuJuan Harris. But Packers were surprised by read option from 49ers. Packers were the first who was smashed fully by that plan. It was surprise and no team had answer on that till SB champions, Ravens, who had one months to recognize what to do. That is why 2012 finished one and done. 2013? Be honest and try to find 11 players on defensive side of the ball who were not injured in that game. Do you forgot Andy Mulumba jumping on one leg while he was trying to close running lane for Kolin? Do you forget how much of Eddie Lacy we were seen that season. That was second game Aaron & Randall came back from long term injuries…. All that questioning capabilities of Mike McCarthy to win in the post season are little bit ridiculous. He had his main player injured for whole post season and he came with game plan that produced one victory and was on the verge of another… Everybody was talking about how important is for QB to have right footing and stepping. How important are legs for QB, not only for running, but also for throwing the ball. Well, surprise for you! Aaron had only one leg. His second leg was not in the condition he was able to trust that he can use that leg in every moment. Did you noticed his long throws went short or to long or all together they were not precise… Because of his injury!
    Now, lets talk about Packers defense who kept Seattle offense scoreless till 2:13 before the end of the game? This is something that comes by luck or by chance. I’m sure that this is something Dom Capers and Mike McCarthy has to go in their credit. We have top offense. Something has to go in Tom Clements and Mike McCarthy credit. I can understand that some people do not like Mike McCarthy because his attitude and behavior with Brett Favre issue, but hey, that is something else…

    1. ALERT croakpackfan–Kaepernick was a RUNNING QB, how Dom Capers did NOT understand that, somebody needs to check his desk for the Jack Daniels bottles. Kaepernick had RAN the ball against Packers in the very first game of season that year, substituting for Alex Smith. Just a game or two later Kaepernick was starter and Smith finished with injury. Kaepernick RAN against every defense he faced before Packers played him in playoffs–was Capers DRUNK up to that time that he didn’t understand that?? I told all the Packers fans that were watching game with me–this IS a running QB and Packers better be ready for him. Instead Capers defense had NO idea how to stop him and he set NFL RECORD run yardage for QB in a championship game.THAT was Capers job to be prepared and he was absolutely CLUELESS. Don’t forget McCarthy had to send his coaches to Texas A&M after the season to get TAUGHT how to defend a COLLEGE play that NFL QB’s had used back in its infancy with the running QB’s in those early years, even into 1950’s. P.S. you know what, I’m still NOT convinced Capers can defend it.

  7. We have demanded a run game for years which would increase the chances of not just reaching but winning a SB and yet we have witnessed the run game being a huge reason for the loss in that endeavor.

    We failed to score on not one goal line possession but on back to back possessions because of the inability to run when ‘needed’.This was the beginning of the empowerment of Seattle to never quit even though their offense was at the onset of missing in action.

    The Packers offense wasn’t really much better since the advantage taken from the many turnovers of Seattle resulted in 9 points and another huge victory for the Seattle defense,which was aided by a Packer offense that did near nothing the second half.

    The INT by Burnett should have been the dagger that put to rest any further hope of the Seattle defense thinking a win was still able to be obtained…but alas,the very weaponry that was demanded to secure these types of wins became the very reason for the same result as without…a loss.

    I commented that a run game is only as viable as the success it can have when the opponent knows it’s coming and still cant stop it…this aspect for the Packers run game failed in the beginning and at the end at which both times the opponent knew it was coming and shut it down again and again.

    The injury to Rodgers can be used as reason for this or that,but how much failure is needed to realize using the strength of the offense,even if not 100% is still better than an already witnessed clusterf%&k of failed attempts….three failed rushes in a row when again the opponent knew it was coming that resulted in not a miss of inches but actual loss of yards at a time of the exact importance of getting a run game.

    We demanded a run game to help Rodgers and we got a run game that actually hinders him when the need for its success is paramount.

    As has been written,there are many plays that perhaps could have changed the outcome of the game but I’m a firm believer in the change of one thing changes everything and nothing happens as did but only wishful thinking for the what/only ‘ if ‘ crowd remains the same.

    This team failed in many areas and each can choose which is more prominent/easier to hold true….end result was too many failings all game long in total. 🙂

    1. “The Packers offense wasn’t really much better since the advantage taken from the many turnovers of Seattle resulted in 9 points and another huge victory for the Seattle defense,which was aided by a Packer offense that did near nothing the second half.”

      We keep forgetting how good that Seattle defense is and that the Packers managed to run up some yardage but very few points (hello, field position) against them. In all, that game, despite being played in the 20s, was a defensive battle. It’s all about execution and every play the Packers try to execute is being guessed and countered by an elite defense. No team plays in a vacuum and no outcome is automatic. Who wins each battle? I think that if the Packers end up winning 19-14, we’re calling it a classic. As turns out, everybody but Packer fans is calling it a classic.

      “As has been written,there are many plays that perhaps could have changed the outcome of the game but I’m a firm believer in the change of one thing changes everything and nothing happens as did but only wishful thinking for the what/only ‘ if ‘ crowd remains the same.”

      To paraphrase Cameron after being pulled from the pool in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Taryn Miller, you’re my hero!

      1. It is a classic…and like the Biggest Draft Busts segments often viewed,this game will be on the Biggest Chokes of All Time.

        Pulling someone from a kool-aid filled pool is something I would never do,especially when they ignore all signs of denial…..I’d get a lounge chair and a drink and watch the floundering about…I may offer a stat sheet as a possible floating device while they grasp at the numbers amid the eddy that surely ensues…..Happy spinning!!!!

      2. No. I would not call this game a classic. Either the better team would have wiped the floor with Seattle like 35-10, and it’s boring. Or GB doesn’t execute well and it’s close, but a badly played game.

        Or GB chokes and Seattle wins despite crapping the bed themselves.

        GB vs NE was a classic game played between 2 good teams. This? No. Never.

    2. Taryn… smh…

      You are SO wrong. GBs run game is effective. Not Seattle good, but effective. MUCH more so since Lacy showed up than it was at any point in MMs tenure.

      1. Of coarse the run game is better than it has been since Lacy arrived as they in essence had none…..and I’m not saying it isn’t,but I am saying it hasn’t really created the wins or made them easier to obtain that were expected by getting a better run game and likely more true in regard to road games.

        Can you honestly say you believe the Packers have won more games because of the run???

        I think we have struggled more to win games because of a focus on a run game that is used half arsed in a game. 🙂

        1. If your only criteria on a “successful” running game is being able to run when everyone knows its coming and you do it anyway, you are looking at MAYBE a dozen teams in the past 10 years who fit your billing of “successful.” And NONE of those teams passed the ball well either. The Seahawks and 49ers last year… and the Eagles in 2013… and… having a hard time thinking of others… not many. That’s my point.

          The competition level in the NFL is way too close to be able to just physically assert dominance without the advantage of surprise or scheme. GB is an effective running team. More than effective enough to keep people honest – which with ARod and his passing options, was enough to lead the league in scoring and otherwise be a deadly offense.

          1. Excellent analysis. I posted something down below about running the ball in general.

          2. It isn’t the only criteria but it is a top one criteria when going up those excellent defenses that will undoubtedly be the undoing of your season…as witnessed.

            We couldn’t get one positive yd during two goal line possessions and then we get tossed for 4+ yd losses on three run plays each….sure the defense of Seattle and Det and SF and Buf are tops…but that’s who you need to be successful against…better than an 0-9 showing vs Sea and doing well against the lesser in regular season doesn’t constitute success…just average ability.

            I guess we’ll need to hope those type defenses get eliminated by one who can run against them and maybe we can back door into the SB as we won’t win by attrition with our version of ground and pound.

            The failure of the Packers vs Sea if need be pointed as most likely…the failure of the run game to get what should have been gotten when needed to be gotten…that’s why we got him..right???

            1. No. The failure at Seattle was stupidity by all involved – especially the “Special” teams. MM’s playcalling yes. But MOST of those events were non-repeatable crap. We play that game 10 times, we win 9.5.

              Flukey play does not equal SEA > GB

    3. Your right on the run game, when it matters most we run only one way, the same play over and over .Slam Lacy into a wall. Too much talent, Lacy, Cobb, screens etc to have such a vanilla run approach.

  8. I have a ton of respect for this guy. He possesses deep football knowledge, is a great administrator, and is the best Monday to Saturday coach in the NFL. His achilles heel is his game-day, situational awareness and his ability to direct ALL elements of the team, not just the offense.

    Here’s a quote from the presser that in my mind may represent THE single largest issue keeping the Packers from making the next step in overcoming their less-than-stellar postseason performance history.

    “As the play-caller, I don’t get a play-by-play of every guy looked at during the game. Unless it impacts the game as far as a player injury, I’m not really notified.” That comment would be perfectly understandable were it coming from the offensive coordinator, but it’s not coming from the head coach. Now expand on that and think about how many other things escape his notice. How much does calling the offensive plays usurp his attention, and prevent him from head coaching the other two units? Could it be part of the reason that when there’s a sea-change in-game, he (and his other coordinators) are typically lacking in recognizing and adjusting to it?

    The offense on this team usually clicks along, but it’s been special teams and defense that yield in the highest pressure moments.

    He needs to find an offensive coordinator that he can turn over the process of in-game play calling to, so that he can finally become the all-inclusive head coach charged with the management of his entire team. Not because he’s a bad play-caller, but because he’s a better coach and his presence and involvement in all three aspects of his team would outweigh whatever he might feel the loss would be by no longer calling the plays.

    Questioning MM’s post-season record is reasonable. It is what it is, which is to say it’s not very good and warrants address in some manner.

    1. I noticed that statement also, surprised you’re the only person who has commented on it. The question is whether that type of injury information is received during the game by any HC, whether he is the play caller or not.

      On your broader point, I agree that it is very difficult for the HC to call plays and oversee all other game aspects. An alternative to another play caller would be a “bench coach”, like Don Simmer with the Yankees for so many years. A very experienced coach could provide help with clock management, penalty and challenge decisions and a myriad of other things.

  9. I feel confident that MM will make the adjustments needed this year. I have no doubt that he is burning up inside and his own pride and drive should be much higher, you gotta think. That team, flaws and all, nearly put Seattle in its place, in Seattle so it is not the end of the world. I cant wait to see next years team. Lots more talent that may have a big impact:Janis,Abbredaris,Hubbard,Thomas and Neal and with the draft coming, TT can fix the glaring ILB problem, and I hope, add a DT,CB and TE.

    Burnett play was the big momentum swing for me. It was an opportunity to put them away. Not saying he should have done a Deon Sanders to the endzone, but doing a quarterback slide sent out multiple bad messages instead.Of course there were so many plays but that one and the fake FG told me bad things could happen.

    Time to move on. Go Pack Go

  10. I really didn’t hear anything unexpected from MM is his press conference. MM is going to evaluate everything which is the correct and fair approach. However, I don’t see how his evaluation can lead him to any conclusion other than Slocum must go. Special teams have never even been close to good under Slocum and this season they sank to last in the league and cost us a trip to the SB. To improve this team means to improve its Special Teams and for that to happen a new ST coach is required. It also sends the message to everyone that we are serious about doing what is necessary to win a championship. Along with Slocum we need to chuck B. Jones. The Packers and MM have proven that they have built a team that will reach the playoffs each season. What they need to do is a better job of becoming mentally tough and mentally smart in playoff games. The Packers have the skills to defeat any team in the league but they consistently fail in the mental aspects of the game and the debacle in Seattle is the latest and best example of that failure. This is on coaching, (and I think that most of you know I am a supporter of MM but I need to fair as well) especially when the team fails in so many ways as they did in Seattle. They prepare well, play hard and then beat themselves with bone headed plays and/or penalties, and yes sometimes with boneheaded calls like rushing 3 including a spy on 3rd and 20. It happens too consistently, especially in big games. MM and the staff need to realize this and correct it as they did with the injury issue this season. If we can stay healthy (again) and play smarter this team can still have a great run. Thanks, Since ’61

  11. Lombardi said it best: “If you cannot run the football for one yard you are NOT a champion football team.” That sums up the Packers in this NFC Championship game. 3 times MM made the statement, “I do not believe we are a championship team! (4 times if you count the 4th and one late in the game! MM lew this game for his team with no confidence in his team. Put 2 big D-linemen in front of Lacy and ram the ball down Seattle’s arrogant throats! Score should have been 21-0 not 9-0! Wanna be champs play like champs! Even if you don’t make it at the 1 yd-line Seattle has ball backed up and we most likely get ball back in great field position. As it was Seattle claimed “victories” holding Pack to 3 measly field goals. MM SHOULD evaluate himself first instead of arrogantly thinking he made the results ght calls!

    1. “If you cannot run the football for one yard you are NOT a champion football team.” That sums up the Packers in this NFC Championship game…

      Very true Tim. I think that we like to see ourselves as a power football team when in fact we are still a finesse team.

      1. I don’t think it is true. What Lombardi said was true in the 1960’s. It is not true in today’s NFL. The new mantra might be “If you cannot pass protect for 3.5 seconds you are not a champion football team.”

        Truth be told, I can’t remember the last time I was confident that GB could gain a yard on 3rd & 1 or 4th & 1. GB values pass pro in the oline over run blocking. I am hopeful that when Sitton and Lang fully heal, and with the arrival of Linsley and Lacy, we will be able to consistently win mano a mano and gain that yard against a stacked defense.

      2. True but even a finesse team needs to do that. Any team really. I thought being from a West coast offense MM would be more creative like Bill Walsh. We have the talent to do that.

    2. Agreed, and at some point. preferably on the first 4th and goal, but for sure on the one yard (or one foot) line, you need to tell your team to get out there an DO IT. Every time you settle, you are admitting you don’t have what it takes. One damn TD down there would have not only won the game, but would have boosted morale. The Seahawks won the game mentally, believing they were destined and not giving up. We lost mentally: in the first quarter by “settling” THREE times, and in the last few minutes by playing scared.

  12. I don’t question McCarthy’s ability to lead this team in the postseason one bit.
    Divisional round saw Dallas as the sexy upset pick by the national media full of ex-Cowboys and their sympathizers. Murray was supposed to run all over the defense, and Romo and Bryant were the next coming of Aikman, Smith, and Irvin. The Packers got down early with a gimpy QB and could have easily folded tent. They hung in there and did what they had to do.
    Moving on to Seattle, again the national media gave the Packers almost no chance to win this game. Vegas had it at 7 and if I recall correctly, the line moved to as wide as 8.5 by game time. Despite all the “experts” giving the Packers no chance, they were clearly the better team for 57 minutes. McCarthy was confident leading up to the Seattle game, which I love. I believe he had even said in a presser leading up to the game that he fully expected to win the game. I don’t kow how so many experts can call a game one way, and then it’s the coaches fault in hindsight. That just doesn’t make sense to me.
    The only thing I can really say is that he played the game a bit out of character, and I don’t know why. He was always a foot on the gas and hands on the wheel guy. He played this game much more conservative.
    That conservative plan, while out if character, would have still been a way to win the game. Obviously in this particular game, McCarthy thought it was the best way. What got in the way obviously, was the execution. If they had executed any one of a number of plays that were statistically in their favor (stop a fake FG, stop a 2pt conversion, recover a onsides kick) they win the game. The fact these were all on special teams, should point to that coach being let go.

    1. “He was always a foot on the gas and hands on the wheel guy. He played this game much more conservative.” Really? Then why were packer fans across the country screaming “Not Again!” at the TV?

  13. Nice article Jason. I agree with most. This team not only has lost in the playoffs, they have lost in grand fashion with the exception being 2010 where no one expected them to be there as a wild card team and they were playing with house money (and the veteran leadership on that team). Every other playoff game was played with the “scared” mentality. This year was exceptional in with one of the biggest choke jobs in playoff history. The consensus nationwide was a game that McCarthy blew. Talking heads from sports talk to Rush Limbaugh and even Rob Lowe weighed in on the horrible coaching in the last 4 minutes. Not that their opinion matters, it just demonstrates how this loss resonated throughout the country and hopefully should resonate with the board of directors. I am not suggesting Mike should be fired, however, a point should be made that something has to change and we will not tolerate another disappointing end. Complacency has settled in to Packer nation and too many people are happy with a good regular season and playoff appearances, however, this is TitleTown, not Playoff Town or NFC North Titletown. We have been blessed with more than 20 years of hall of fame QB play and not a lot to show for it. Job security can cause complacency and I think that has settled into 1265.

  14. I think that one glaring weakness that wasn’t addressed in the press conference and the analysis was the lack of a strong player besides Mathews at the linebacker position. When he had to come out during that final critical 4 minutes of the game, Marshawn Lynch had his way with the Packer defense. The lack of a run stopping defense has to be addressed in free agency or the draft.

  15. MM started the season scared and ended it scared. Running Lacy 3 straight plays was not “Smart Football”, not with Seattle playing a 9 man front and Sherman and Thomas both hurt and never testing them! At the very least run Lacy AT Sherman and make him try and stick that elbow out to tackle Eddie. Not once did MM go after or test Sherman. If I have Cobb, Nelson, and AR on my team, momentum being sucked away from my team before my very eyes and a SB birth hanging in the balance, I’ll be damn if I wouldn’t call a play to “Test” them.

    Hawk was also a key on the fake, maybe even more so. NFL Scouts have commented on why would the Packers have him in the game at such a critical point in the game. He’s slow, slow, slow, and was just as much of a “Key” on that play as Jones.

    1. Exactly. All of that drives me crazy thinking about how Mr Unscouted looks seem to forget what made the O so dangerous this year.

  16. We all forget Masthay’s poor punt after our three runs which gave Seattle a much shorter field and in turn a ray of hope.

  17. What is MM going to say??? ” I am an egomaniac who hates change, I love to repeat the same thing over and over and over, even if it doesn’t work. ” I love Slocum’s back door too much to fire him, even if it means sacrificing a trip to the superbowl.” Suck it!

  18. Good piece.

    “…..If Jones is back in Green Bay next season, I immediately question this team’s desire to improve and move forward……”

    Ditto AJ Hawk.

    Last year it was the two S.

    You gotta ask yourself how management is so poor at judging personnel.

  19. “…..As long as McCarthy is coaching this team, I don’t see how we can’t
    wonder if more of the same is in store for future playoff runs. …… Perhaps the
    Packers achieved the ultimate despite McCarthy’s presence? ”

    Bingo. MM, like his mentor, Marty Shittenheimer, are both playoff losers because they coached not to lose. It’s that simple!

  20. I can mention an infinite number of incidents in the game that need to be questioned and mostly have been…but how about this one-WHY DIDN’T THE PACKERS ATTACK SHERMAN’S SIDE THE LAST FEW DRIVES OF THE GAME?!!! It was obvious he couldn’t move his arm-THROW A FLAT PASS, SCREEN, OR ANY PASS, OR RUN WIDE TO THAT SIDE!!!!!-AT LEAST TRY IT!!!!
    Corky DeYulio
    Geneva, NY Packer Backers

    1. That would have seemed to be a no-brainer. Maybe MM thought he was faking it, but no way to find out if you avoid him. Again.

    2. That is the lingering recurring nightmare for me. Not even one time!, AND after not throwing in his direction in the first game. Words can not describe how frustrating that is.

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