Packers: Mike McCarthy, Not Ted Thompson to Blame for Failures

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?

Seriously why?

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.

 

 

chris peterson

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16 Comments
Anonymous

i see the PLAYERS as failing this year,as to the teams troubles,,the coach doesnt drop passes,interceptions,miss field goals punt bad miss tacklles etc…

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Woody

Finally, this is the best story written about the Packers collapse this season. Ive never, let me repeat that, Ive never been a fan of McCarthys. No, not even during the Super Bowl run of 5 years ago. He kept ST Coach Shawn Slocum way too long & had Brandon Bostick not messed up the Seattle on-side kick, Slocum would still be the Packers ST coach.
McCarthy has gotten no better at game managing. His clock management skills suck. Unlike Big Bad Bill in New England, McCarthy refuses to rely on the Packers strength offensively.
The Patriots pass pass pass and arent afraid to do so. Am I suggesting McCarthy be exactly like Bill? No. But he could at least be closer to that. Whats wrong with passing 3 or 4 plays in a row? Whats wrong with passing to set up the run? Bill in New England proves time & time again, you go with your strength. He proves an offense does NOT NEED BALANCE nor does it need the appearance of balance between pass/run.
For McCarthy to blame Ted for the late season losses cuz hes fed up with Ted not going out & signing a FA to fill a “need” here or there is saying “its not my fault”. Yet Thompson keeps find gems in the draft (Randall, Rollins,) and keeps the salary cap in check for the Packers ability to re-sign these “draft & develop” stud players. A coaching’s job is to do just that….COACH! Coaching doesnt mean to just call plays during games. Coaching means make players better. If the Packers keep losing in the playoffs, thats because of McCarthy. He clearly should have gone for 2 after the hail mary for several reasons: 1) The Cards were stunned 2) The Cards defense was “dazed & confused” 3) The Packers defense had been out on the field for a long time on the series prior when the Cards marched all the way down & took the lead despite if the Packers had made just 1 more defensive play (Shields drops the INT, Cards score on a lucky tipped pass when the refs blatantly missed the offensive PI) 4) win or lose a game with the ball in YOUR hands & Aaron Rodgers hand!
Mike McCarthy is a joke of a HC. He says the same thing week after week. Then he also calls out Eddie Lacy in public about his weight when early in the season when questioned about it, he said Lacys weight was “fine”?
I hope Ted Thompson finds the way to dump McCarthy but he cant. Not after giving him a 5 year extension last year.

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chris peterson

Yea I agree with all your points. And I agree. MM needs to change and adjust or the Packers are going to be left behind. Thanks for your comment and compliments on the post!

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chris peterson

That is exactly what needs to happen. I think Bennett should just go back to that role. If you talked to personnel people at the start of the season, they rated the Packers personnel as good as anyone. They have elite players on both sides of the ball. They are good up front. Thompson does need look at vets more in the off season and during the season but no roster is perfect. My main point is that McCarthy didn’t get the most out of the roster TT gave him. Simple as that.

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toddbook

What? Are you serious Chis Peterson? . . . .

“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.”

Quarterback, Yes. Lacy was somewhat capable but was overweight. Starks was capable but fumbled often.

“A number of talented receivers”? Isn’t the ability to run good routes and get open and catch the ball considered talents? ”

“Quality Ofensive Line” . . . Uhmm, how well did they protect Rodgers? Injuries.

“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.”

Didn’t you just contradict everything you initially stated?

McCarthy certainly could have done things a bit better but he can’t control certain aspects that went wrong either.

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ron

Wrong..Thompson need to wake up to the fact free agency is a tool to help teams when they need a player..There were people out there..

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chris peterson

I agree. He does but this year MM had talent to succeed and didn’t get best out of it. Thats bad coaching. But TT needs to so better to. You are right about that.

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JIm

Good objective article. There are too many signs that indicate McCarthy has not done his job with the talent that is there. Too few adjustments and too many execuses. New England went further with much less talent than GB. NE is not in a play calling loop…they call what works and stay with it versus down and out and done. The question Thompson needs to ask himself is how much longer this level of futility in the playoffs can we tolerate?

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chris peterson

I think McCarthy deserves time to fix things. He has won a lot of games and I think he is still a great coach — he just made some poor choices this year. Thompson does need to get him a tight end and some help on the offensive line. And hopefully he doesn’t allow all our key defensive free agents to leave. But I do think if things don’t get better it may be time for a new voice in the room or some new innovation.

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shavager

Chris–first–I’m personally TIRED of hearing about loss of Jordy and O-line injuries–the Patriots LOST their top 3 RB’s and used 37 DIFFERENT O-line combination of players, yet THEY made the AFC playoff game with an offense that moved up and down-field on NFL’s BEST defense, something the Packers could do little of. Second–all these McCarthy wins–consists mostly of DIVISION wins over Lions/Vikings/Bears who’ve had a combined record of 122 wins, 123 losses over past five seasons–NOT a very good record of success. Outside their division, Packers have WON 15 games, LOST 13 games vs. teams with WINNING RECORDS–that’s barely over .500 ball no matter what sport you consider. McCarthy’s just NOT beating the better teams consistently and it STARTS with Ted Thompson drafting QUANTITY OVER QUALITY for this team. He’s abdicated moving up and getting in the top tier of talent in favor of filling his roster with cheap contracts and players who can’t compete everyday as a starter when called on. The O-line is perfect example–when injuries occurred, Thompson had only ONE pick that could compete at starting level–J.C. Tretter, the only players either CAN’T perform at needed level or haven’t been coached up to compete at that position. Even as offense slumped, McCarthy STUCK with Adams, Jones to compliment Cobb even when they could NOT beat ‘press cover’ that Pack’s offense struggled with. It was only when Jared Abbrederis and Jeff Janis was on the field, could GB’s offense get rolling ’cause Abby could get open, Janis had speed Cardinals’ defense HAD to respect–the 60 yd ‘hail mary on 4th and 20 for Rodgers–Janis was DOUBLE covered and still caught it. On the ‘hail mary’ into endzone with NO time left–Janis still DOUBLE covered, yet caught the pass–just Janis being on the field FORCED Cardinal’s into different pass coverages, something McCarthy should’ve done as soon as the Broncos game–maybe the END would’ve been a different finish for GB–a HOME field advantage in COLD temps vs. WILTING at a critical time in Arizona two weeks ago. McCarthy AND Thompson have EQUAL blame for GB’s misfortunes–McCarthy CAN’T overcome Dom Capers’ defensive failings in playoff games, Ted Thompson has failed to get THAT player that really helps this team in critical positions they are weak in. Thompson’s skipped better talent for what’s been left too many times now, the results show up on playing field when ALL the marbles are on the line.

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chris peterson

That is exactly what needs to happen. I think Bennett should just go back to that role. If you talked to personnel people at the start of the season, they rated the Packers personnel as good as anyone. They have elite players on both sides of the ball. They are good up front. Thompson does need look at vets more in the off season and during the season but no roster is perfect. My main point is that McCarthy didn’t get the most out of the roster TT gave him. Simple as that.

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