Mike McCarthy 2006-present: Coach
Tom Clements 2006-present: QB Coach, Offensive Coordinator, Play-caller
Aaron Rodgers 2005-present: Quarterback
Its is now almost 24 hours removed from the most thorough ass kicking the Packers have endured in the modern “McCarthy” era (2011-present). 2-Time NFL MVP and top consenus “most talented” QB in the game, Aaron Rodgers threw for just 77 yards last night, 77 FREAKING YARDS!! How does that happen? Even Brian Hoyer never looked that bad in a game this year. A lot of what happened last night has been a concern for most Packers fans the last few weeks. But not to the level of what we saw last night. That was the most inept showing of offensive football I have ever witnessed as my time as a Packers fan. For the first time ever, at least this far into the season, I don’t know what this teams offensive identity is.
How did it come to this?
How can no one get open? Why is it so hard to get Randall Cobb the ball, when DeAndre Hopkins can get 20 targets a game with 1/10th of the help and quarterback around him. Why have I not seen a damn slant or screen pass sprinkled in the first half when it matters. Greg Jennings on the slant use to be a staple of this offense. I can’t recall the last time I saw a slant. Why is this brain-trust beating a dead horse with the same old shit; Rodgers 7 step drop, wait, wait, wait, nothing, sack, incomplete pass or hoping for an defensive PI. Where is the offense that could count on dinking and dunking all the way down the field, and that was without the threat of a legit run game. When guys like Brandon Jackson and Deshawn Wynn toted the rock. This offensive style and its kryptonite have been brewing for awhile. Remember the Buffalo game last year? They man pressed and rushed four, and it was the same shit down after down. Rodgers dances and dances till he has no where to set his feet, throws off balance and the only reason he doesn’t get picked or tipped ball is because he has enough arm strength and accuracy to put it in a safe incomplete zone. Even with Jordy Nelson last year, there arose times when every Packers fan screamed the same thing, WHY IS NO ONE OPEN?!
What the hell is this present day offense? Why does it seem that the only thing this offense does well is backyard football on a 12-men or off-sides penalty.
Since McCarthy has been here, I have seen his offense go through 3 evolutions.
Evolution #1 (2006-2007)
This was the Brett Favre Years but it was rooted in the West Coast offense. The Packers had no running game to speak of. McCarthy used the short passing game as an extension of the run game. Quick slants, 3 and 5 yard hitch routes and quick outs were the norm under McCarthy/Favre. And Favre fully embraced the West Coast offense in 2007 and had a renaissance year.
Evolution #2 (2008-2010)
This was what McCarthy was brought here to do. Groom and establishment his offensive mindset and scheme with the prototypical QB, Aaron Rodgers. After 3 years of retooling his mechanics and mastering the McCarthy offense, the Rodgers era began. This was known for the same West Coast premise of the previous 2 years but balanced that with the attack of the outside boundaries, middle of the field posts and the patented deep post. But what made these years really excel was the number of different personnel groupings McCarthy deployed. Down after down you saw receivers shuttle in and out, all four tight ends saw exclusive playing time, 5 wide sets, 4 wide sets, tights ends, fullbacks and receivers alike going on and off the field. And each different time, the defense had to react to that and it created advantageous matches.
Evolution #3 (2011-2014)
The Prolific era, really defined in 2011 and 2014, no coincidence that those were Aaron Rodgers two MVP seasons. This offense exclusively attacked the perimeter downfield, no one was better than the Packers at pushing the ball up the field. In 2011 and 2012 the Packers had no run game to rely on at all, but it didn’t matter because no one was better than Rodgers at placing that go route on the money or giving his receiver a 50/50 ball in one on one, and usually his guy won. The 2013 I omit because the main guy in the brain-trust (Rodgers), was not there. They did find a running game in 2013 and that carried over to 2014 where in the first time in the McCarthy Era, the Packers had a balanced offensive attack. They also opted for less variety, going exclusively with a 3WR 1TE 1RB set. The logic was that they could be faster with less substitutions, run more plays, let Rodgers catch them with 12-men and capitalize with some backyard football, everybody go deep and I’ll throw it.
But, teams like the Seahawks, Lions and Bills exposed something, something the Giants did in 2011. Man press at the line, rush with four and “CONTAIN” Rodgers in the pocket. Do that and he begins to dance in the pocket, left, then right, then back, then…….well at this point nothing. So far this season, the Packers offensive identity seems to be wait for an off-sides or 12-men slip up and do some school-yard ball. That is not a reliable offensive scheme. If the opponent is going to line up in man coverage, where are the routes that are designed to beat man coverage? McCarthy? Clements? Rodgers? How come I see Brady, Rivers, Manning hell even Cutler continue to find ways to get their guys open in the middle of the field. Every time I looked Sunday night, a Bronco defender was glued to his hip. Why are their no rub routes, triple sets, screens or crossing routes?! God knows I have seen enough run against us, that shit works. Owen Daniels was out running Micah freaking Hyde on a crossing route. Just throw the damn ball, if old man Peyton can do it, it can’t be that hard. Which brings me to my final point….
For much of his entire career, Rodgers has been the best at avoiding turnovers. So much so that his TD to INT Ratio is the best in NFL History and its not even close. He has not thrown more than 10 interceptions in a full season since 2010. In fact he hasn’t thrown more than 13 in any season and that was 2008, his first season as a full-time starter. Rodgers and McCarthy believe that ball security is of the utmost importance. But can it get to a point of no return? Some of the Packers fans have wondered whether Rodgers cares too much about his penchant for not throwing interceptions. There were times that Rodgers had guys open, not wide open but NFL open but he refused to throw the ball. Instead looking for a bigger play, and against a defense as good as Denver’s, that will not happen. And lets also point out that Sunday night was his worst game as a professional by far. But it does not hide the fact that for 3 weeks, he has said the receivers need to get separation better, win their one-on-ones better. So far this season that is not happening. Something needs to be done.
For the supposed best quarterback in the NFL, not being able to throw a receiver open is concerning. I saw Philip Rivers do that time and again 2 weeks. Our corners were right there every time. But Rivers countered with back shoulders throws, he fit balls into the tightest of windows. Where is any of that Rodgers? I know you are devoid of Jordy Nelson this year but really? 77 yards! That should never happen under any circumstance, I don’t care if you’re facing the 85 Bears or the 2000 Ravens. 77 yards from one of the best quarterbacks is no excuse. And it’s also time for you to start showing up in big prime-time games. For as much playoff flak that Peyton Manning catches, he always showed up under the big lights during the regular season. Other than the Patriots and Cowboys in 2014, what big game have you won sans your 2010 SB run? You got blasted in Seattle to start 2014. The now benched Kaepernick ran over you in 2012. “Elliot” Manning took it to you in 2011. An all-time great quarterback should not be this average when it counts.
And that is my biggest fear. I know I sound spoiled when just 5 years ago the Packers ran the table and took home SB 45. But I don’t want this team, this quarterback to be just another Drew Brees. I don’t want Rodgers to have all the stats and numbers and have just one ring like Peyton Manning. We’re better than that, you’re better than that. It’s now half way through your career and disturbing trends. When the Jordan comparison surfaced earlier this year, Rodgers said he was not worthy. You’re damn right you’re not worthy. Jordan would never have put up a performance like that on Sunday night. Figure it out, you’re better than this. And I know it is just one loss and a lot of teams would’ve lost to Denver on Sunday night, but things like this harden you for January and that is the only thing that matters. You better figure it out and soon, the undefeated Panthers are up next and that has home-field advantage implications. So if you don’t want to have to go on the road in January, you better bring it this Sunday because another effort like Sunday night’s will just be another wasted opportunity that is starting to become far too common lately.
Figure it out,