After the Packers lost their playoff game, my Dad looked over at me and asked if I was mad. I looked at him and said of course, but honestly I just do not believe we are good enough to win the Super Bowl right now. As much faith as I have in Mr. Rodgers, I just am not sure how good the Packers really are right now, and I am not sure how much faith I have in our head coach.
Going into the year, the Packers were multiple people's picks to go to and win the Super Bowl. After this season though, I think the question becomes, are the Packers the favorite or is Aaron Rodgers the favorite. This year the Packers overcame injuries and rookies on both sides of the ball. To go 11-5 without Jennings, Cobb, Nelson, Bulaga, Bishop, Woodson, and Matthews consistently or at all throughout the year is a difficult task. However, what if the Packers had next year's schedule instead of this year's schedule? Would it have been as easy to beat the 49ers, Ravens, and Falcons (3 teams who are still competing for the Super Bowl) as it was to beat the Jaguars, Cardinals, and Titans. Obviously not! The point is though that the Packers were very fortunate to have a schedule as easy as they did. This year 4 of our 5 losses came to a playoff team and 1 from the defending champs.
The point I am trying to make in all of this is that as Packer fans, can we rely on Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy to beat all of these teams the way Patriots fans do with Brady and Belichick. Next year we will face 6 playoff teams along with the Giants, Steelers, Cowboys, and Bears (even though we own them) who were 1 game or a tiebreaker away from the playoffs.
I have always been on the fence about Mike McCarthy as a head coach. I know that every coach in every sport at every level will always make questionable calls and that no coach is perfect, but I feel I am always questioning the same thing about certain decisions McCarthy makes.
I want to preface before I get into discussing my take on the future of this team with Mike McCarthy as our head coach that I am solely analyzing this based on using my eyeballs. I am not going to support my points with statistical evidence; this is my opinion based on what I feel that I constantly see in each game. I believe that statistics can skew any argument in anyway, and after reading this I am sure some other writer could find statistics to argue against my point. My points are being made based on what I feel that I always see in Packers game related to McCarthy.
Let's say we were to play a game of word association but more situational association.
If I were to say Packers, your response would probably be football, cheese head, or Green Bay.
How about if I said Packers are facing a 3rd and 1. Your response would probably be handoff to Kuhn for no gain.
How about Packers defense is in a 3rd and Long situation. Your response would probably be rush 3 and play basically a prevent defense.
How many times have we seen these situations occur? Again I want to reiterate that I am sure there are statistics where it shows Packers do a different play more times than just handing it off to Kuhn or playing prevent defense on 3rd down. I bet when you are reading this though, you are saying I feel like I see it every game. Going in to the 49ers game I was actually laughing thinking the Packers should play more of a defensive scheme I just criticized to contain Kaepernick's running abilities. Instead this time the Packers decided to blitz almost every 3rd down in the first half leaving the middle of the field wide open for him to run like a kid playing backyard football.
I will always give credit where credit is due. McCarthy's performance in breeding young players is very good and that is not an easy task to tackle. However, I believe McCarthy's main issue is his inability to adjust in games and throughout the season when something is not going right. We have all seen the failed 3rd and shorts. The amount of 3rd Downs we give up on defense to poor play calling. It has got to the point where McCarthy is just plain predictable. I do not want to throw all of the blame on McCarthy. We are still short at running back, and we are weak defensively. Since our Super Bowl run, we have lost key players such as Collins and Jenkins, and we have lost the James Starks we had in those 4 games. However, we cannot rely on just acquiring another pro bowl safety and it's clear that we cannot find a consistent running back all season to play the way Starks did that playoff run.
I know I did not delve into every positive and negative of McCarthy. I do not want to make him out to be this awful coach, but I am just trying to show that his flaws in my opinion will hurt this team from progressing down the road. We do need to fill certain positions with better players, but I think McCarthy needs to start thinking outside the box and not stick to his own one specific system. People seem to forget about number 4 because of number 12, but do not forget number 4 only came away with 1. I believe that with Rodgers we will always have a chance, but as long as our defense continues to play like this and McCarthy keeps up his tactics, I do not think we will be ready to take that next step...again.
Go Pack Go.