2018 October : Packers Insider

It’s time to part ways with McCarthy, and Montgomery

October 28, 2018 by  
Filed under News

By Brian E Murphy, Packers Insider senior analyst

~Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine turned in a great game Sunday in Los Angeles, almost shutting out the NFL’s best offense for the first half.

Unfortunately, the Packers’ head coach football IQ is not up to par.

I’ve defended Mike McCarthy for a long time. Against many people. But after three atrocious, mental mistakes today costing the Packers a very needed win, I’m done defending this coach.

I must admit, Aaron Rodgers is partly to blame too.

2018 Rams 1

There were three incredibly stupid mental errors today (plus one basic¬†stupid mistake), from the first drive to the last kick return, and they all mattered. It wasn’t as bad as the Meltdown in Seattle in January of 2015, but like that one, many were self-inflicted and many came down to coaching at the top. Brandon Bostick simply shouldn’t have touched the ball on that onside kick. Morgan Burnett shouldn’t have slid down and ignored a possible touchdown on that interception. Rodgers shouldn’t have thrown the two ints as each were mental mistakes.

Well, today Rodgers shouldn’t have taken the sack to end the first drive of the game, which had gotten into field goal range. It was 3rd & 2, at the 37-yard line of the Rams (meaning a 54-yard field goal if you want to try for that). But against a great team like the undefeated Rams, that’s 4-down territory, and you run the ball two times with the red-hot Aaron Jones. He had just run for 28 yards on 3 carries on this opening drive.

But nope, the combination of the geniuses McCarthy and Rodgers dropped back and took a 14 yard loss and walked away with no points. Nothing to show for an opening drive where Jones averaged almost 9 yards a carry.

2018 Rams 2

Towards the end of the first half, up 10-0 with the defense playing like the 1985 Bears, the Rams had to punt yet again, and the punt was a good one. Former Packer Sam Shields downed it at the 1-yard line.

As soon as he downed it, I said we have to either QB sneak it for a yard or two, or throw a quick pass to one of the sides with the best matchup. You absolutely cannot, ever, drop back well into your own end zone and hand the ball off in there, especially against a defensive line with Donald, Suh, and Brockers. That’s common sense. But not for Corky and/or Rodgers. That was a gift of a safety for the Rams and a change in the momentum that had been 100% on the Packers’ side.

Shortly later, with field position and momentum switched, the Rams had a touchdown and the game was 10-8. The defense stopped the 2-point conversion attempt at tying the game. Instead of a possible wire-to-wire almost-easy win like the underdog Bills had at Minnesota a few weeks ago, or the underdog Lions had against the Patriots a few weeks ago, now we had a tight ballgame. This should have been a game the Packers had a 13-0 or 17-0 lead at the half. Instead, it became a nail-biter. One that you knew just one lucky bounce, or one turnover would probably decide it.

Ty Montgomery ultimately proved that thought correct, though, but before that, Rodgers made that simple mental error.
Rodgers wasted a timeout and 45-potential valuable seconds with a careless timeout at just over 5-minutes left on a 3rd & 6. There was no reason to call that timeout as the play was in plenty on time and the players were ready. After the wasted, illogical timeout, Rodgers got sacked immediately by Aaron Donald for a 10-yard loss and a punt coming. A terrible 20-yard punt, by the way. Remember, all this with the Packers clinging to a 27-26 lead. A huge W or L was at stake, in reach.

Thanks to the terrible punt by the rookie Scott, the Rams had an easy field goal and took a 2-point lead. It was a great job by the defense, and they left 2:06 on the clock for Rodgers to get Crosby into game-winning field goal range.

That :06 of time was crucial as it would be like a free timeout, as long as the kick returner took a touchback and didn’t waste the precious 6 seconds. This free timeout would allow the Packers first play to be anything, middle of the field, a surprise run, etc. and not have to worry about getting out of bounds to stop the clock.

But Montgomery didn’t get my memo, and he tried to be a hero and bring the ball out. This was dumb, to begin with, and anyone with a high-football-IQ would have known this. Now someone obviously doesn’t have that. He’s the one who did it, but what did special teams coach Ronald Zook tell him prior to the kickoff? What did McCarthy tell him? We’ll never know.

Like Brandon Bostick in 2015, obviously, the coaches did not think ahead of time and make sure all players knew their dam one job. The Packers could have been at the top of the NFL World back in 2015 had they made sure Bostick knew that his job had to be to just go smash Chris Matthews, his guy, as the other front line guys did to their guy. Jordy Nelson would have caught the ball and put the Packers into the Super Bowl.

Today, perhaps the Packers would have won had Montgomery not brought out the ball from the end zone. Or had Rodgers not gone back 4 yards into the end zone and handed the ball off, giving the Rams a safety and the ball back.

These are mental mistakes, and they have plagued the Packers since the 2011 season. What is the common denominator through all this time?

McCarthy has ridden Aaron Rodgers' coattails longer than Ted Thompson did. His time should be up tonight. Turn the team over to Mike Pettine, and at the end of the year, bring in a young, offensive guru, perhaps from the Chiefs or Rams offensive staff.

McCarthy has ridden Aaron Rodgers’ coattails longer than Ted Thompson did. His time should be up tonight. Turn the team over to Mike Pettine, and at the end of the year, bring in a young, offensive guru, perhaps from the Chiefs or Rams offensive staff.