Monday, November 9, 2009

Fire Mike McCarthy?

"Shameful" says the Packer Report. "Ugly from any Angle" is how it was described in the Journal-Sentinel. The Press-Gazette calls it the low point in Mike McCarthy's career. Mike McCarthy himself says, "It doesn't feel good. This one definitely hurt. I'm disappointed in the way we played. We have some recurring problems that we have not cleaned up yet." These are just a few of the reactions to the Packers' loss to the previously winless Buccaneers last Sunday, a game that featured 6 more sacks for Aaron Rodgers, and three unanswered touchdowns in the 4th quarter by the Buccaneers.

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.
I do not get the impression that the players are terrified of coming back to the sidelines after committing a stupid penalty, in the way they certainly would have been under, for example, Mike Holmgren.

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.


  1. For the last 4 years we have been hearing from Mike McCarthy that he has the people in place, there are "just a few things we need to clean up". If we have the talent, than the teaching must be the problem right? Just like with a talented player coming out of college, at some point potential needs to be fulfilled. I am so sick of MM's excuse's, when is he held accountable? When you ask about "his" vaunted zone blocking scheme he "bristles", like it aint' his fault. I have news, the Falcons use it, the Bronco's use it, along with numerous other teams, and thier blocking and running games haven't been in the ditch since 2005.

    The lack of dicipline that we see on the team is exactly what got Ray Rhodes fired, and the team was right to fire Ray back then. Why is it acceptable for the Packers to finish in the top of the leage in penalties for the last 3 years top two for the last 2.

    I hate to see anyone loose thier job in this economy, but given the base salary this guy is getting I'm good wiht his separation from MY team. I've had enough of his ego rising above the success of the Packers, and I don't want to spend another two decades (70's & 80's) in mediocrity.

    And don't even get me started on Thompson.

  2. Anonymous - I admit that it has taken me awhile (probably too long) to come close to your point of view, but I am getting there in a hurry. I don't like the repetitive excuses week after week. I don't like the lack of discipline. And I have to say, this case with the maintenance worker seems like a case of a guy coming unglued.