During that last two days, the internet has been up in arms about a report that Mike McCarthy is reportedly “fed up” with Ted Thompson’s unwillingness to sign veteran players.
And many have laid the blame for the Green Bay Packers’ flaws in 2015 at the feet of the Thompson, the long-time GM who lives and dies by his draft and develop approach. Yet, those who have done that are wrong — dead wrong.
Although I completely understand and share in McCarthy’s frustration of Thompson’s ultra-conservative methods — the bottom line is that this season — McCarthy and the Packers had more than enough talent to win the Super Bowl.
Is Green Bay perfect? No. Did losing Jordy Nelson to injury hurt? Yes. But the cupboard was full enough for the Packers to be playing yesterday and potentially even Super Sunday.
Let’s look at the facts: McCarthy had one of the best quarterbacks in pro football; he had two capable running backs; a number of talented receivers and a quality offensive line. And still his offense was one of the worst in pro football.
Defensively the Packers finally played well enough and had enough talent to be championship caliber. And for most of the season the defense played liked it.
This team started 6-0 for a reason. It simply peaked too soon, yes it was stuck with injuries, but the Packers had the capability to overcome them and just didn’t.
Aaron Rodgers took a step back; Davante Adams didn’t develop; the offensive line got banged up; Eddie Lacy got out of shape. There are a number of things that went wrong but very few that went right.
That’s to say, where are the players that got better this past season, especially on offense. The only ones I can really think of are Jeff Janis, Jared Abbrederis and J.C. Tretter. You can also make a case for James Starks.
Outside of those 3-4 players, most individual players on offense had down seasons. Rodgers certainly did and so did Randall Cobb. James Jones had his moments but even he played too much. McCarthy should have started giving some of his snaps to Janis long ago.
Jones was great this year, but he just lost the ability to beat man coverage on a consistent basis and in my opinion it hurt the offense.
After the team suffered a total meltdown McCarthy finally took over the play calling he gave up so foolishly last offseason. The fact that removed Tom Clements from that role shows he believes it to be a mistake and on that point — it’s hard to argue.
McCarthy’s best quality was always his quarterback development and play calling. This year the team failed in both aspects and it might have cost them a chance at the Super Bowl.
It was clear that at some point Rodgers lost confidence in the play calling, the offense and his teammates. He regained it in the playoffs, but had McCarthy not made the changes he did, he might never have lost it in the first place.
McCarthy was supposed to have a greater impact on the rest of the team and truthfully he didn’t do squat in that role. His clock management was awful (see timeout usage or overuse) and the team still struggled to win close games. And not only did McCarthy’s moves not have the impact he hoped on defense or special teams, it also damaged the offense greatly.
You could see things finally got going in the playoffs. Janis and Abbrederis (guys I’d been advocating for since October) finally got a chance and surprise, surprise they made plays.
The fact that McCarthy failed to adjust to things like an injured left tackle was infuriating. And why in god’s name would you continue to leave a backup or emergency left tackle,out an island with ZERO help against the other team’s top pass rusher?
I have to say it was strange. I had gotten used to McCarthy being better than most of the coaches he faced on a weekly basis, but this season that simply wasn’t the case.
During the games, he made poor decisions was slow to adapt; he also made numerous strategic errors starting with his decision to give up calling plays. During the season he failed to adequately develop his players and failed to put many players in a position to be successful.
One thing about McCarthy is that he is a relentless self-evaluator. He will fix the problems he created this season. He will get the receivers their own coach again and he will call the plays.
I believe the Packers will bounce back next season and McCarthy will be a big reason why. But if I’m wrong and I could very well be — it might be time for a change (as shocking as that is to say).
Green Bay has now gone five years since their last Super Bowl title and in case you haven’t noticed Rodgers isn’t getting any younger. If McCarthy’s time has run its course — Green Bay can’t be afraid to jettison him.
The Packers window is far from closing but unless McCarthy gets back to the foundation that built Green Bay into a contender — it could close faster than we all thought possible.