For some reason, there’s a thought around the league that Mike McCarthy is a good coach. Maybe it’s because the Packers are a perennial playoff contender. Maybe it’s because he won a Super Bowl. But that perspective needs to change. McCarthy is a terrible NFL coach who’s carried by Aaron Rodgers. Take away Aaron Rodgers and you essentially have Hue Jackson.
First, let’s start with the play-calling. It’s just terrible. I watch the Packers a lot because I like watching Aaron Rodgers. And nearly every time I watch them, I’m scratching my head more often than not. Let’s start with Aaron Jones. Do you know one reason that Tom Brady constantly gets to throw to wide open receivers? Part of it is a great scheme. But a huge part of it is that they are usually dedicated to establishing the run. Teams have to respect the run. Typically, the Packers haven’t had good running backs so they haven’t been too keen on establishing the run. But they finally look like a solid running back with Aaron Jones. Aaron Jones has his most carries of the year last night with 14. It’s only the third time this year that he’s eclipsed double digit carries. Well you might be saying, “Well maybe he’s not very good”. Well actually, he’s been great this year. He’s average 6 yards/carry this year. 6! That’s tremendous. And that’s not just on 10 carries. That’s on 58. Even yesterday with an increased workload, he had 76 yards on 14 carries, an average of 5.4 ypc. And yet, McCarthy fails to utilize him more. By comparison, Sony Michel, the Patriots first round pick this year, has 98 carries. So he has nearly double the carries and he’s played 1 less game! Even in games where Michel doesn’t look great, the Patriots are so committed to establishing the run that they keep feeding him the rock. Aaron Jones getting the ball more would open up the offense and help out Aaron Rodgers.
Another issue isn’t just the who get’s the ball. It’s when the calls happen. We saw Aaron Jones start off strong last night. The Patriots looked like they had their hands full. But then, the Packers decided to abandon the run completely, opting for exclusively passing. The unfortunate part for Packers’ players is that Aaron Rodgers keeps bailing out McCarthy. Let’s look at the Packers’ first touchdown drive. Jones started off running the ball well that drive (and for the duration of the game up to that point). The Packers ended up getting down to the 2. Despite the fact that the running game looked strong, McCarthy didn’t call a run play. He called three straight pass plays. The call on third down was the worst of them all. He had Rodgers roll out left to pass. Fortunately for the Packers, Rodgers was able to extend the play and eventually find Davante Adams open in the end zone. It’s a play that only worked because of Aaron Rodgers.
McCarthy has been the coach of the Packers since 2006. In that time, he has only one Super Bowl win (and only one appearance period). Having a generational talent like Aaron Rodgers and only making it to one Super Bowl is inexcusable. However, the Packers make the playoffs every year and are perennial Super Bowl pick. However, hopefully McCarthy’s negative impact on the team are accentuated this year by the Packers’s struggles. If McCarthy isn’t fired soon, the Packers may have wasted the greatest quarterback of all time.
-Stephen Brown III (@sbtrey23)
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