Monday, December 03, 2018

Packers Postmortem

I usually save these until the Packers' season is actually completed, though let's be real, when you lose at home to the Arizona Cardinals, your season is over.  Yet I come not to bury the 2018 Green Bay Packers but to praise them, since if this frustrating season was what it took to eradicate the Mike McCarthy plague once and for all, then it was worth it.

The Packers didn't bother delaying the inevitable, firing McCarthy within a few hours of today's loss.  As happy as I am about this coaching change, the unfortunate part is that it's happening now and not five years ago.  I think it was during that stretch when the 49ers owned Green Bay over two playoff games when I suddenly realized, "huh, it probably isn't a good sign that McCarthy is being completely outcoached by the sentient pants model known as Jim Harbaugh."  Compound this through increasingly soul-crushing playoff losses to the Seahawks, Cardinals, and Falcons, and the writing was clearly on the wall about McCarthy's near and total inability to adapt to an opponent's game plan.  Or, even worse, his inability to adapt to how an opponent adapted to the Packers' game plan, which usually wasn't hard to do since I think Green Bay has been using a 1990's high school team's playbook for the last decade.

In hindsight, it's a minor miracle that the Packers actually won a Super Bowl with this guy on the sidelines, and if you're going to say "but Mark, McCarthy is a championship-winning coach," my counter is, so was Barry Switzer.  So was Brian Billick.  So was Jon Gruden.  Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and just as those coaches were gifted with Jimmy Johnson's talent, an all-timer defense, or the Raiders being idiots, McCarthy was gifted with Aaron Rodgers, as good a quarterback as has ever played the game.

Poor Rodgers has literally not smiled all season, since after suffering a knee injury in the opening game, he has had to suffer through indignity after indignity as the Packers have kept blowing games.  First it's the referees deciding that Clay Matthews is public enemy #1 every time he breathes on a quarterback, only to have the NFL reverse course after three weeks and promptly never call any roughing penalties again.  Then it's Ty Montgomery costing the Packers a game with an idiotic attempt to return a kick, or Mason Crosby single-footedly blowing a game by missing about 48 different field goals.  I will freely admit that this is far from the most talented Green Bay roster, but my god, the incompetence.  Even with a middling roster, no coach is more adept at getting the absolute least from his team than McCarthy, and the result has been nothing but awful losses.  Well, and that hilarious comeback over Chicago, since LOL Bears forever.

I cannot wait to see who the next Packers coach is, since there's nowhere to go but up.  Imagine bringing in some innovative Sean McVay type to bring the team's offense into the 21st century and take full advantage of Rodgers' ability.  Rodgers will think he's won the lottery.  Green Bay already made some progress in shaking off the doldrums with last season's front office shakeup, and it needed to oust McCarthy to finally get things on track.  (This SI story about the Packers' dysfunction is pretty damning.)  I'm calling it right now, the 2019 Packers will be back in the playoffs and, with a few breaks, might even make a quick turn-around to being Super Bowl contenders, a la last year's Eagles.

Have fun coaching a junior varsity high school team and/or the Browns next season, McCarthy.  

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