Regular season game thirteen at Detroit: Time to move on from McCarthy « Ol' Bag of Donuts

Regular season game thirteen at Detroit: Time to move on from McCarthy

What’s the ultimate goal of any football team? What are you really in it for?

Do you want to win championships? Or do you want to be the cute, loveable team that’s always sort of in the running, but never really in the running?

In other words, are you the New York Yankees or the Minnesota Twins?

Once again, Green Bay Packers fans learned the hard way that – as long as Mike McCarthy is the head coach of this team – the Packers will always – repeat: ALWAYS – be the latter.

At countless times in Sunday’s utterly embarassing 7-3 road loss to the Detroit Lions (the Lions – let that one sink in), McCarthy showed he has neither the intelligence nor the understanding to guide the Packers to a Lombardi Trophy.

And that is why, when the 2010 season comes to its merciful end, he must be relieved of his duties. It’s time, people.

There will be some who will suggest that the deck has been stacked against McCarthy from the beginning, that the Packers have just been done in by bad luck on the injury front. Okay – really bad luck. Those same people will point to Aaron Rodgers’ concussion, one that caused him to miss the second half, as a reason to give McCarthy a pass for this most recent disaster. He was working with a backup quarterback, after all, so what did you expect?

Sorry, but that’s all a bunch of garbage.

Remember, Rodgers was healthy for the first half, guiding an offense that was out of rhythm, out of synch and just plain disinterested. Detroit cared. The Lions battled. The Packers, particularly on the offensive line, never matched that intensity. Facing one of the worst secondaries in the game, Green Bay’s receivers failed to break free. Even 30 minutes against that defense would have been enough, had the team been prepared. But it was not, and that’s on McCarthy. 

Then there’s that little matter of his abilities as a playcaller. In short, he has none.

Once Matt Flynn entered the game, things needed to be simplified. When they were, Flynn had a fair amount of success. But, once again, at the most crucial time of the game, McCarthy decided to drop that approach, instead carrying on with his moronic idea that Flynn could run the plays like Rodgers.

On Green Bay’s last two offensive plays, needing only one yard to keep the drive going, McCarthy let Flynn air it out, Flynn missing on both attempts. Now, perhaps Flynn made poor decisions, but who was the one that gave him an opportunity to make such decisions? Oh yeah – the man calling the plays, the same man who decided to stick with the ground game, even though it had exactly zero success.

Fans argue about McCarthy’s approach to the running game often. He needs to go with it more. He needs to ditch it. Neither side is wrong, really, but McCarthy usually is. Football games are fluid. From week-to-week, your approach has to change based on the flow of the game. The best in the business do this. In five years as head coach of this team, he’s shown no ability to do this and the running game is the perfect example. He’s stubborn when it’s uncalled for and he’s too quick to drift away from it when it’s needed. Do you see that changing? Show me the progress he’s made.

As for the injury excuse, sorry, but that holds no weight, either. In Green Bay’s five losses – by a combined 16 points – the Packers have been downed by four teams that they are out-and-out more talented than, even with the injuries (Atlanta being the lone exception). They lost to Chicago because of sloppy play (another wonderful trademark of these last five years). They lost to Washington and Miami due to poor playcalling. Sunday was a combination of both. Four wins left on the table, a lack of talent factoring in none.

This is nothing new, either. In his time as head coach, Green Bay has been blown out very few times. More often that not, the Packers lose by the smallest of margins, usually done in by rotten playcalling or by being sloppy and unprepared. McCarthy’s really good about standing up at the podium and putting the blame on himself. But you know what he’s terrible at? Correcting such failures.

Oh, sure, he can get his team to bounce back for stretches, maybe even gaining a playoff berth or two out of it. But the same mistakes, the same failures, well, they always creep back in. Because at a certain point, a guy just is what he is. McCarthy’s there now. His teams will always be the same. Pull off an upset or two, crush most of the bad teams and lose some heartbreakers they had no business losing. Playoff entry. Earlier than necessary playoff exit. Super Bowls? Not a chance.

And, if that’s the case – if we know that beyond a shadow of a doubt, which we do - then what the hell is the point in keeping him around? Don’t you want to win a championship? Isn’t 11-5 or 10-6 and a playoff game or two just not good enough, particularly with the talent on this roster moving forward?

Speaking only for myself, I dread the idea of becoming the Twins or the San Diego Chargers. That’s not enough for me. I went through this with this last guy coaching the Packers. I don’t want to be “in the mix.” I want that damn trophy.

And I know he’s never going to bring it to us. So the time to move on is now. The Packers may go forward or they may go backward. But at least we won’t be middling. My God, I’ve had enough of middling.

-Chris Lempesis

17 comments to Regular season game thirteen at Detroit: Time to move on from McCarthy

  • Grossma

    I hear Brad Childress is available.

  • Jeff

    Finally a commentary that I can really get behind!!! How does this team consistently not show up prepared and ready from the opening moments? How do they continue to play uninspired football, the whole time spouting that they are to be considered a play-off caliber team? A play-off caliber team shows up, and if the opportunity presents itself, crushs the opposition at the first chance. (ie-Patriots vs. Bears) I was caught thinking several times today watching the game that this team does not believe it can win this game. They did not take the fight to the other team, but allowed the Lions to gain the upper hand in almost all situations. Even if it wasn’t a TD, your offense is not doing anything to score points, why not take a look? 4th and 1 and you decide that your BACKUP QB should throw to the endzone? Really, that’s the best you can come up with? I am only consoled by the fact that the Bears also lost. I wonder if this team really believes that they can win close games. I also wonder if that thought has come into the heads of the players, is it being reinforced by some of the “stupid” things being done on the sidelines?? Self doubt is a dangerous thing when your next stop is Foxboro!!

  • barutan seijin

    Is it the coach or the team or both? I agree that McCarthy is feeble-minded, but i’m not convinced the talent level is as high as you say it is. The O-line is kind of soft. That’s a crucial weakness.

  • Anita

    Can’t argue with any of this. However, who would you prefer the Packers hire. Not that I disagree with your article at all. I’m just curious as to who you’d rather see coaching the Packers and who you think capable to take that next step.

    Also, this has been bugging me for awhile. We read about how McCarthy is not one to run a really rough training camp. Afraid of injuries, obviously. However, do you think that easy-peasy philosophy is a factor in the rash of injuries, or just rotten luck? If you’re not in proper condition, you’re going to get injured more easily. Are the Packers well prepared PHYSICALLY to play a season when they break camp? If not, doesn’t the buck stop with the coach?

  • admin


    Thanks for the comments. Well, there’s one name that has been in my mind all day: Bill Cowher. Sounds crazy and it likely wouldn’t happen (TT would need to give up some control, which he hates). But think about it: A large part of the defensive coaching staff either played for or coached with him. Gotta love that continuity. And Cowher’s “associates” (whoever they are) have leaked it to multiple papers that he’d only come back to a team with a young, elite QB (check!). This team needs someone who can bring some discipline, some edge. He’d do that. And he knows how to win. It makes sense.
    RE: The physical play. Yes, I agree with you. This team rarely seems ready for the season to start. His camps are too soft. And that’s with guys getting hurt in camp, which always seems to be an issue.


  • I feel your pain Chris. I came to the sad conclusion earlier this year that the Packers will most likely never win a Super Bowl with Mike McCarthy as head coach and offensive coordinator. His situational play calling is my biggest beef. He’s so stubborn, he often ignores the down, distance, game situation, etc. and calls only what he thinks the defense will give him. Sometimes you have to accomplish a specific goal on a play, like get a first down on 4th and one and a minute left to keep your drive alive (Even if the D is giving you a one-on-one with Greg Jennings)

  • Bearmeat

    Money Quote from Jersey Al “His situational playcalling is my biggest beef”.
    That pretty much nails it, Al. His playcalling needs help. He out-thinks himself way too much.
    IMO: We need to root for DAL and MIN (ACK!) to win out. We need to win out, or at least only lose to NE.
    Slocumb, Campen and OC playcalling need to be reassigned for 2011. But McNugget’s not gonna get fired. The injuries are too easy of an excuse..

  • A_Lerxst_in_Packerland

    Unfortunately, it seems highly unlikely that they’d replace him at this point. I hate to think of season after season passing like this with Aaron Rodgers missing out on chances to go to the big game, until one day he is no longer playing at a high enough level (see Cincinnati Bengals and Carson Palmer, who seems now to be a pale shadow of his former self).

    All-in-all, this was a really depressing game.

  • A_Lerxst_in_Packerland

    One more thought – I’m suddenly reminded of the story about Lombardi throwing out the massive, overly complex playbook the team had been using when he arrived. Better off to keep it simple, and just execute your plays so that your opponent can’t stop you, even if they know what’s coming.

    Somebody needs to burn McCarthy’s playbook – now!

  • Mark

    Yeah let’s get back to the Packer sweep and the screen. What happened to the high energy defense attack,I was just as excited to watch the defense as the offense. Now it looks like they let the offense dictate. I know they have been playing well but not with the same energy as the beginining of the season. The whole D looks flat to me. McCarthy has to be on the hot seat.

  • [...] those whom I consider more level-headed have begun damning McCarthy and declaring that the Packers will "never win a championship" with him at the helm. (For the [...]

  • Nate

    Anita brings up a really good point; who do you replace McCarthy with? Remember, it took Bill Cowher 14 (FOURTEEN!) years to win a Super Bowl. And on the way there they suffered through two 6-10 seasons, two 7-9 seasons, and 9 post-season defeats.

    One lesson could be that stability and persistence pays, certainly the model TT is working off.

    I’m beyond frustrated with this team; just enough flashes of brilliance and potential to make one think they can go all the way. They were not mentally prepared yesterday to make the plays in a winnable game.

    What about promoting Capers?

  • Mike

    Chris, I agree with you completely in the fact that McCarthy needs to go but where I’m getting confused is wasn’t he on your list of things to be thankful for on your November 26th post?..but your right in the fact that this is just looking like more of the same from the coach he replaced.

  • Rob

    Can we just step back from the ledge a little? If you went back to August and heard that the Packers would lose Finley, Grant, Tauscher, Barnett, Burnett, Jones, Neal, Poppinga, Chillar and friends to IR, but you were told they’d be 8-5 and a game out of a playoff position, you’d take it wouldn’t you? Let’s give McCarthy some credit. How many teams would have folded under all of these injuries?

    No, McCarthy is not perfect. Neither was Holmgren. Neither is Belichick. Neither is Sean Payton. Somebody earlier raised the question, who is out there that is better? Cowher took 14 years to win a Super Bowl and past success doesn’t guarantee that he’ll win a future SB (Parcells, Gibbs, etc.). Gruden is out there, but many would say he won with Tony Dungy’s team. There’s Dungy, but like Cowher, he had one championship over 13 years in two jobs.

    This is a year where any team that qualifies has a chance to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl (except the Bears). Based on the season as a whole, does anybody feel like the Packers couldn’t beat the Falcons, Saints, or Eagles? They might lose, but they’d at least have a shot to win those games. Now with Finley, Grant and a healthy defense returning next year, do people think that McCarthy would completely ruin their shot? Let’s see how this all plays out before we get the torches and pitchforks ready.

  • Pad Level

    Atlanta’s not a more talented team overall than the Packers, just better coached and blanced.

  • This article makes me sad. You guys have been very good at not doing the “I’m angry with the recently loss” kind of journalism. This is a departure from that.

    I’m with Rob. You can’t say those injuries haven’t hurt, 14 players on IR? That excuse doesn’t hold water? Seriously? What does hold water then? In the midst of all of games we lost there is (atleast) one crucial injury. You don’t think losing Finley changes the gameplan midstream? Or Rodgers, or Grant, or Barnett? You really think we can just plug and play people in the middle of games and the plan should just sail on? Sorry. I think in following weeks it can (and has, thanks in part to good coaching), but injuries are the biggest factor fighting the packers success this season.

    McCarthy does alot well that no one gives him credit for, like dealing with Thompson. Like getting young players invested in the their team and team mates. Like getting a team with double digit starters on the IR to 8-5 and in playoff contention. Is it perfect? no, but its real football, not madden 2011.

    Injuries? New conditioning coach is needed immediately – preferably one who doesn’t trip players on the sideline. Special teams? Sorry Slocum. Playcalling? Who is the offensive coordinator again? Exactly, I don’t know either. Our O-line has some talent, but it has some deficiencies too. It isn’t that players aren’t grading out well, its that the guy grading them isn’t very good at it. Campen probably needs a new home.

    Changes need to be made, but I don’t think that the head guy is the problem. Now, if in the offseason, the head guy doesn’t take it upon himself to make some of these changes, then you have to change the head guy.

    Did they look past Detroit? Hell yes. But if Jennings catches that ball this was an entirely different game. This isn’t time time for knee jerk reactions, or maybe you don’t remember the 70’s and 80’s. When you drift into the middle of the road, you choose a side and steer back there (Green Bay). You don’t open the door and jump out. When you are faced with an oncoming truck, then you jump out. (Minnesota)

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