McCarthy still trying to figure out how the Packers lost to Giants
By Bob McGinn, Journal-Sentinel
~Green Bay – It took coach Mike McCarthy five weeks before he had the time and was in the right mood to watch tape of the Green Bay Packers’ 37-20 loss to the New York Giants in the NFC divisional playoffs.
It took him portions of two days, one for the offense and one for the defense and special teams.
Even now, he isn’t quite sure why the game unfolded as it did.
“This will be a game I still don’t have my hands around,” McCarthy said at the NFL combine. “If you can keep your team on a path you have a chance. The Giants are an example of that. They got a lot of things moving in a positive motion at the end of the year.”
Now, the Packers will be remembered as a one-and-done playoff team that was one of just six clubs in NFL history to win 15 or more games in the regular season.
McCarthy talked about the collapse of the Packers at Lambeau Field with a friend who works as a sports psychologist. Without mentioning what they discussed, it was clear that the drowning death of Michael Philbin, the son of offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, one week before the playoff game was among many factors to come up.
“He said, ‘I don’t have anything for you,’ ” McCarthy said. “He did say there were a lot of external elements the team was going through . . . you quantify that into the preparation and the mind set and the heartbeat.
“I mean, we’re plus-24 and we go and turn the ball over four times and it wasn’t anything that they did. . . . I’m not trying to discredit the Giants. . . .
“But John Kuhn never fumbles, and he fumbled off the back of Bryan Bulaga. Ryan Grant is going to the ground and gets hit and it’s out. We have a seven-man protection and a three-step drop and we give up a sack-fumble.”
Was McCarthy anxious playing a red-hot New York team as a 7 ½-point favorite?
“I wasn’t at all,” he said. “I thought the Giants probably were one of the better teams in the tournament, but we were playing at home and had the ability to prepare in the weather.”
Ball security might be the No. 1 point of emphasis in McCarthy’s program. As the playoffs loomed, he made sure the Packers practiced outside each Wednesday and Thursday for more than a month, mainly trying to insure proper ball-handling.
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