McCarthy scenarios appear clear
Packers beat writer Ryan Wood answered questions from readers Monday, a day after Green Bay’s 24-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Read the complete transcript at jsonline.com/packers.
Q: What happens if McCarthy wins out and we don’t make the playoffs?
A: I think not making the playoffs would be a nonstarter for him returning. The thing is, there's four things they can do at the end of the year: extend McCarthy multiple years, extend him one year, have him return and not extend him, or fire him. They're not going to have him return as a lame duck, and a oneyear extension effectively makes him a lame duck also. If they miss the playoffs for a second straight year, I don't see the justification for a multiple-year extension. That leaves you with termination.
Q: In the end, didn't it come down to injuries? Consider what it looks like if we have Mike Daniels and they (the Vikings) lose Danielle Hunter, and if we have Kevin King and they don't have Harrison Smith. A whole different ballgame.
A: I think it came down to a quarterback the Packers need to play close to perfect playing much below that level. Look, there are a ton of things going wrong when a team falls to 4-6-1 and loses four in a fivegame stretch. But this is a QB league. When the QB plays well, the team wins. When he doesn't, it loses. Pretty simple.
Q: What causes the change from what we did in quarter one and rest of game in each of last four games?
A: Yeah, it's been the same script each week. That's among the most frustrating parts of this slide. The Packers have gotten early leads, can't hold it. They've given themselves a chance to win in the second half on the road against good teams, but they don't seize it.
Q: Playing offense in the NFL has never been easier, unless you’re Aaron Rodgers.
A: He's just got to get on schedule. That's probably the surest way to eliminate the missed throws. We've seen this from him before. Practically the entire 2015 season was like this. It's not so much the scheme and play calling that's wrong with the offense. The entire timing is off, and that starts with the quarterback.
Q: Did you read the Andy Benoit SI piece on Mike McCarthy? What do you make of the idea that MM is way more "innovative" than the narrative would have you believe?
A: One of the best compliments I've heard about McCarthy as an offensive coach is the flexibility in his offensive scheme. Personnel guys love it, because it gives them a larger net when evaluating talent. It's also important because injuries are a fact of life in the NFL, and McCarthy has been a master over the years of adjusting to whatever attrition his team faces. As Benoit points out in his article, McCarthy has done that again this season with the receiver position. They're playing two rookie receivers all the time; clearly they don't have the same demands as Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison. That MVS and EQ have been so successful this early is a testament to Aaron Rodgers, but also Mike McCarthy for creating opportunities for them to succeed. There are positives, no doubt. They just don't matter much when the team is 4-6-1.
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer (left), talks with Packers head coach Mike McCarthy after Sunday’s game.