Brian: McCarthy is Yost
Tell me that there are a few close losses and I’d admit that it may be a fluke. But when the number reaches double digits, then it moves onto being a problem.
In an NFL where free agency has made a team’s window for success small, coaches have been put on shorter leashes than ever. Close losses are no longer moral victories to learn by, especially when they happen for the 10th time. It may not be fair, but a coach needs to show a willingness to change and learn on the fly. McCarthy hasn’t.
Last season’s close losses were often because of the defense letting the other team score at will. That year the Packers gave up a total of 225 points in their six losses. That’s an average of 37.5 points per game. An offense cannot be expected to compete with that every game.
This season, in its six losses, the defense has given up an average of 19.5 ppg. That cannot fall on the defense anymore, as the offense has been right there in these games but unable to stick Wayne Larrivee’s dagger in the opposing defense.
Not much has changed this season in terms of personnel, other than the rash of injuries the team has sustained. However following the performance the team put forth Sunday night against the Patriots, I have no doubt this team has the talent to beat anyone, but just isn’t cutting it.
The lack of a running game shouldn’t be attributed to Grant’s injury, but rather to the way the running plays have been simple, one dimensional and sparse all season until last week when they unveiled the pulling off tackle sweep, which got Brandon Jackson into the open where he shines. They ran it 38 times compared to their average of about 25 per game this season.
What this comes down to is the team being on the cusp of making it. The Brewers rode CC Sabathia to the playoffs in Yost’s last year even if he was let go before they made it. While McCarthy may find his way as a head coach, this is his first stop in the NFL in that role, and he has shown a hesitance to adapt to his team’s personnel. Perhaps it is time to move onto someone who will.
Dick: McCarthy is not Yost
It's a total fluke.
This was supposed to be the year. It's reasonable to expect a few injuries, and any worthwhile team should be built to withstand the loss of a key player here or there. But 5 starters? Its a miracle the team is even in contention for the playoffs, and that's a huge credit to Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff.
Ned Yost had a full arsenal of weapons at his disposal when he was axed. But against the Patriots Mike McCarthy went from Rodgers-Finley-Grant to Flynn-Quarless-Jackson. That's three Pro Bowl caliber players replaced with reserves, and McCarthy still had the team competing for a win. The team played so well that after the game Cris Collinsworth had more good to say about the Packers than the winning team.
But that's the question, right? Yost was great for getting the most out of mediocre teams, and that's exactly what McCarthy is doing right now. However, I look at this year's losses and see where he has corrected his mistakes. Example: Last season Green Bay was the most penalized team in the league, and after the 18-penalty Chicago game there was concern that the problem had resurfaced. But the Pack has averaged only 5.1 penalties per game this year, good for 5th in the NFL.
Its things like that that push the stubborn McCarthy to change his ways. Though very set in his convictions, he's shown a willingness to change when faced with clear evidence to support it. That's why I'm interested in seeing his approach against the Giants. At New England Brandon Jackson finally stopped dancing in the backfield and looked decisive in his runs with a nice 22 carry, 99 yard game. He gave his coach a reason to trust him.
If Mike McCarthy loses control of his team, then yes, he should be fired. But right now his Ryan Braun has concussion issues, his Prince Fielder is on the IR, and Ted Thompson decided not to get him a CC Sabathia. I think he deserves another year before we decide whether he can take his team to the next level.
Where do you stand? Comment below!