Yes, indeed there are recurring problems. Stupid penalties. Too many sacks. Play-calling that seems to ignore the sack problems, rather than trying to avoid sacks. Poor special teams play. Unbalanced game plans.
Let's just focus on the sacks for a moment. On Monday, Mike McCarthy said, "We don't need wholesale change. We may need to adjust some things and that will be our focus. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I have all the answers, but I'm very confident in the issues that we've had in pass protection, that they are correctable." Would it be inelegant for me to suggest that it is time to start fixing the problem, if it is correctable, rather than talking every week about how the problem is correctable and needs to be cleaned up?
It pains me to say this, because I like Mike McCarthy, but I think he needs to be fired unless the Packers pull together a winning record in the second half of the season. The team as a whole may not be as good as some of us thought it was, and certainly some of the individual players are sub-par, either because of their skill level and/or because of injuries. Some of that reflects on Ted Thompson, some of it reflects on the individual players, and some of it is just bad luck. So Mike McCarthy is by no means the only problem. But when you look at the continuing problems he talks about every week, he bears some responsibility for a lot of them:
- Unbalanced offensive game plans.
- The failure to call plays that minimize the prospects for taking sacks.
- The tendency I have noted to play it safe on defense, rather than to play aggressively.
- Inadequate team discipline, leading to a rash of stupid (and sometimes critically important) penalties.
If there was any doubt that things are getting out of control in Titletown, consider the latest ridiculous story to hit the news. It seems that a 22-year part-time member of the Lambeau Field maintenance crew was fired before the Vikings game after, in one version, calling out to the coach to get the boys ready to "kick some butt" this weekend, or in the other version, saying something along the lines of "don't lay an egg" in the game. Here is a suggestion: if McCarthy and the Packers want to show that they are tough guys, next time a player commits a stupid penalty, kick him out of the game, rather than taking it out on part-time maintenance workers.