This loss belongs to the coaching staff, not the quarterback

Discussion in 'Green Bay Packer Football' started by Mark Eckel, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. Mark Eckel

    Mark Eckel Guest

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    By BOB McGINN

    From a fan’s perspective, the travesty that unfolded at Lambeau Field on a rainy Sunday afternoon had everything to do with quarterback Brett Hundley.

    From a football perspective, Hundley was just an innocent bystander caught in a fog of incompetent coaching that started with Mike McCarthy and filtered down to his assistants.

    Ten defenders on the field for a second big run in three weeks. Leaving the wrong running back on the field for third and 1.

    A timeout wasted because the offense was confused. A timeout wasted because the defense was confused.

    Playing shock troops with 4 ½ minutes left, in effect throwing in the towel, even though a touchdown and field goal would have regained the lead.

    If McCarthy and his assistants can’t prepare and focus better than this, they ought to turn in the keys to their company cars and go cry in their beer over Aaron Rodgers’ broken collarbone.

    “I didn’t do a very good job today,” McCarthy said. “The second half is about as disappointed as I have been in a football team that I’ve coached here.”

    Just imagine the disappointment level among his impressionable players. All week, they no dobut heard coaches blab about everyone doing a little extra to compensate for Rodgers’ absence. Then those same people made more mistakes and showed less concentration than even a Pop Warner League player could tolerate.

    When day was done, the Green Bay Packers trudged off for their bye week with a 26-17 defeat at the hands of the New Orleans Saints, who actually were ripe to be had if the home team had played to its capability.

    McCarthy sagged to 1-4 against Sean Payton, one of the also-rans that general manager Ted Thompson interviewed in January 2006 to replace Mike Sherman.

    Five hours away in Minneapolis, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer started his third-string quarterback, Case Keenum, at the same hour McCarthy was starting his second-string quarterback.

    Imperfections or not, the Vikings have made it work with Keenum. He’s 3-2 as a starter, 4-2 as the quarterback of record. Against a .500 Baltimore team, Keenum didn’t throw a touchdown pass but the Vikings still prevailed.

    Not once did the Ravens turn the ball over. They got beat, 24-16, because Minnesota GM Rick Spielman has a real defense and the team’s rebuilt offensive line found a way to rush for 169 yards against a stout run defense even though rookie sensation Dalvin Cook was lost for the season in Game 4.

    Coupled with the Packers’ loss, the Vikings (5-2) took over first place in the NFC North over the Packers (4-3), the idle Lions (3-3) and the Bears (3-4). Seven teams in the NFC have a better record than Green Bay.

    Despite the shameful work being done on the sidelines and in the coaching booth upstairs, and the Saints’ vast statistical advantage (485-260 in yards, 36:56 to 23:04 in time of possession), the Packers shouldn’t have but really did have a chance to win.

    For the fifth time this season McCarthy concocted a gorgeous opening script that produced a first-drive touchdown. The Saints’ defense was a step slow, and Aaron Jones’ 46-yard burst on a power play made it 7-0 two minutes in.

    The Saints’ first two possessions ended on interceptions. Drew Brees dismissed them as “poor throws.” That did a disservice to Damarious Randall and Davon House, each of whom made exceptional individual efforts.

    Brees threw 135 times in three previous games against Dom Capers, the Packers’ defensive coordinator since 2009, but none were intercepted.

    Brees also became the first quarterback to throw for 300 yards in his first seven starts (4-3) against one opponent. After accumulating 331 yards Sunday, his seven-game averages against Green Bay were 363.7 yards, 67.7% and a passer rating of 110.4.

    New Orleans (4-2) wasn’t sharp. Penalties (7-80, two more declined) aided and abetted the Packers all day.

    A second half that, in the words of McCarthy, “disgusted” him could have been even worse. Hundley fumbled on a sack but guard Jordan McCray recovered at the Green Bay 34. Randall Cobb fumbled on a swing pass but a fortuitous bounce enabled McCray to recover at the New Orleans 43.

    As players lingered near the scrum, Saints defensive tackle David Onyemata was penalized 15 yards for pulling Cobb off the pile. It was the tamest of infractions; the Packers couldn’t gain a yard and settled for Mason Crosby’s 46-yard field goal.

    Green Bay was back in front, 17-16, but a full quarter remained. The crowd of 78,380, the 330th consecutive sellout at Green Bay, might as well have sat silent for all the good it would do the mannequins on defense.

    There was no resistance as the Saints advanced from their 14 to second and 7 at the Green Bay 23. In the 45th Super Bowl, Clay Matthews turned his pre-snap audible with Ryan Pickett to force a fumble by Pittsburgh. This time, on the same left side of the line, he made a call allowing him to beat rookie tackle Ryan Ramczyk inside and tackle Mark Ingram for minus-3.

    That led to just a field goal, and after the Packers’ three-and-out the Saints covered the 55 yards in eight plays for the largest lead of the day for either team, 26-17.

    When McCarthy decided 5 minutes was too little time to remain balanced, he passed three times in a row. The Packers went deep on third and 6 but Hundley overthrew Martellus Bennett and was intercepted.

    OK, the Saints started at their 29 with 4:20 left. Although out of timeouts, the Packers needed to force a punt. They needed the stop, a touchdown, an onside kick and a field goal to win.

    Almost since elementary school, these coaches and players are bred to never give up.

    So whom do the Packers send out at outside linebacker? Chris Odom and Kyler Fackrell rather than Nick Perry and Matthews. Mike Daniels is on the sidelines as well, replaced by Quinton Dial.

    What does Payton do? He runs Ingram for 2 yards at Odom, then Ingram for 4 up the middle.

    It’s third and 4. A few years ago, defensive line coach Mike Trgovac drew plaudits from colleagues and players for almost never have one of his players jump offsides. Dean Lowry jumped offsides, giving the Saints a first down.

    Trgovac waved in Daniels for the new set of downs but Perry and Matthews remained standing beside Winston Moss, the assistant head coach and outside linebackers coach. Running directly at Odom, an Atlanta reject, Ingram bulled for gains of 7 and 6 yards.

    Brees took a knee three times against a defense that waved the white flag with its substitutions and inability to stop the run with nine, even 10 players milling around in the box.

    “For them not to punt in the second half – that’s bad defense,” said McCarthy. “We’ve got to play better.”

    As disgraceful as the ending was, the first half was equally abysmal.

    Seven plays into the Saints’ first series nose tackle Kenny Clark jogged off the field before a third and 2. He was almost to the sideline when one of the coaches pushed cornerback Kevin King onto the field as the 11th man.

    Near the line, Lowry was confused amid the hubbub and began to run off. That’s when McCarthy had to step in moments before Brees would take a shotgun snap and save the defense from itself with a timeout.

    Every NFL staff spends hours on sideline management and game management. Errors in these areas seven weeks into a season strike at the core of every head coach’s program.

    Early in the second quarter, the Keystone Kops routine broke out again before a third and 1.

    After a second-down pass for 5, cornerbacks Josh Hawkins and House left the field but only Dial came on the field. It was third and 1, and the Saints inserted a sixth offensive lineman, two tight ends, one back and one wide receiver.

    Not one coach or one player realized the Packers were short a player. Otherwise, they surely would have called another timeout.

    The Packers wanted to be in their 4-4 short-yardage and goal-line defense. Later in the game, safety Marwin Evans was the 11th man three times in that configuration; he wasn’t on the field here.

    Against three offensive linemen and two tight ends to the left of center Max Unger, the Packers didn’t even have a force player on that side. After months of practice and millions spent in analytics and analysis, they couldn’t even get 11 players on the field.

    At least one Saint knew the peril that the Packers had placed themselves. That was Ingram, who saw there was no one out on the left side.

    Taking the handoff, Ingram hit into the B gap on the left and then bounced outside for a 12-yard touchdown right where the 11th man presumably would have been.

    “They didn’t have anyone forcing the edge so I was able to walk in,” Ingram said. “I think they only had 10 players on the field at the time so we took advantage of that small opportunity.”

    Ingram probably knew just how disorganized Green Bay’s defense could be. Two weeks ago in Dallas, the Packers also tried to play defense with 10 and Ezekiel Elliott carried for 25 yards on the play.

    McCarthy fell on his sword for what he indicated was failure on his part for Hundley’s struggles on conventional drop-back passes. After a competitive first-half showing, Hundley wasn’t sharp thereafter and finished 12 of 25 for 87 yards (39.9 rating).

    “The in-the-pocket stuff, he wasn’t comfortable and, frankly, I was uncomfortable when I was probably calling some things,” McCarthy said. “He tried to do a little too much. We tried to guard against it but he’s competitive and made some big, big plays with his feet.

    “He didn’t get comfortable in the pocket, and that’s my responsibility. So I did a poor job coaching.”

    One smart move by McCarthy was starting Jones and giving him 17 of the 21 carries by the running backs. Jones charged for 131 yards (7.7). He was the Packers’ best player.

    What McCarthy neglected to do was insure Jones was on the field for a third and 1 following Brees’ second interception. It was just another inexcusable coaching blunder.

    Ty Montgomery started the possession with two carries for 9 yards. Ben Sirmans, the running backs coach who operates close by McCarthy, either didn’t choose to or wasn’t instructed to send in Jones, who obviously is far and away a better runner inside or outside than Montgomery.

    On an outside run to the left, McCray was displaced badly by Onyemata. The penetration enabled Onyemata to knock off fullback Aaron Ripkowski, whose target seemed to be linebacker Craig Robertson.

    Montgomery’s only chance was to stick his foot in the ground and cut inside of McCray and away from the unblocked Robertson. It’s the type of cut Jones has been making on a regular basis.

    But Montgomery, a wide receiver by trade, is a dancer and seldom decisive. He slowed, kept going wide and was swallowed by Robertson for minus-3.

    After Brees’ opening pick, Hundley made a young player’s mistake on the first failed third and 1. Instead of just handing Jones the ball on a read-option play inside, he pulled it out and threw a too-tight slant to Davante Adams that Marshon Lattimore attacked and broke up.

    McCarthy bemoaned the short-yardage flops. The first could have been converted simply by insisting Jones get the ball. The second could have been converted if McCarthy had put his lead back on the field.

    Finally, McCarthy sent in some formation and play on third and 18 that confused the receiving corps. Hundley squandered that timeout with the play clock at :01.

    “We very easily could have lost a game like this with some of the mistakes,” said Payton, whose research showed that in the last 12 or 13 years the Packers had lost just one or two games at Lambeau despite winning the turnover differential. The Packers won it Sunday, 2-1.

    Fortunately for the Saints, the opposing head coach and his 22 assistants were out of it Sunday if not the entire week.

    The post This loss belongs to the coaching staff, not the quarterback appeared first on Bob McGinn Football.

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  2. Mark87

    Mark87 Carpe Diem Admin

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    If this is true then why is he your back up QB ? No wonder they took trade offers on him.
     
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  3. Cheesedog

    Cheesedog Moderator

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    Love reading McGinn, he doesn't sugarcoat anything.. Calls a spade a spade..

    I can just hear the crying in the front office right now over this article.... :D

    As to the quote Mark referenced...

    o_O wait what? You tried to gaurd against Hundley making big plays with his feet when that's one of his strengths???
     
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  4. Backthepack4ever

    Backthepack4ever Member

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    Its 2 games in a row now MM talks tough after the game and says how disgusted he is. Last week he said they wont play like this again.... well the 2nd half they did. He sucked this week with his adjustments and he clearly isn't getting the most out of his players. It lands on him to have them prepared and put in position to win. He coached scared and it showed.

    The D was so bad the 2nd half and esp on 3rd and long that Capers should be gone this morning. I know we have said how bad Dom is over the years but that 2nd half should be the nail in the coffin. The pack couldn't even line up before the ball was snapped. It looked like a bad high school team playing a team that knew what to do. just awful. If Dom is going he can take HaHa too. That guy is not a good football player. Last year he was ok but his numbers were padded with some lucky pics. This year hes one of the worst starting safties in the league. This isn't a Monday morning overreaction. He sucks. his angles and him shying away from contact was a huge part to the Ds failures yesterday. Give me Burney and let HaHa walk. (we sure miss Burney both as a player and guy that leads others on the field)

    And after the epic failure by the D and the coaching scared on O, this team was still in this game. Most of these problems COULD be fixed. Our coaching staff got schooled yesterday. Its time for them to step up. We can win a few games with Hundley, if hes given the chance. Keep running the ball and cut him loose. Id rather be aggressive and lose than keep him bottled up and play not to win.
     
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  5. WingT22

    WingT22 Member

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    Three years in the system, learning from and watching Rodgers. Either Hundley just isn't very good or MM just isn't this great offensive guru. It's probably both.

    One really nice play with Cobb. That's all MM could come up with? McCarthy is probably one of the worst game coaches in the league. He has his game plan and doesn't seem to be able to make on the fly adjustments. Maybe that's what Bennett is supposed to be doing. Capers is the same way. Game plan based on watching tape and then doze off during the game.
     
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  6. GBP4EVER

    GBP4EVER Member

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    If in three years you can not coach up Hundley to be able to play you are either a poor coach or a coach who can't admit his QB is not able to be the player he needs to be. Do I expect Hundley to be perfect? No but do I expect him to not look like a rookie yes. Some of blame is on coaching staff but people need to stop covering for Hundley. IMO there is no excuse for a guy who is in his third year to look as bad as he did. You expect a backup who's been around for as long as he has to be able to at least pass for a couple hundred yards and a TD. I understand they leaned on the run game but if you can't trust your QB to be able to come in and be serviceable you either need to get a new QB or a new coaching staff who can get a QB ready to play in 3 years.
     
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  7. rpiotr01

    rpiotr01 Lifetime Member

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    MM spent 10 years tailoring the offense to Aaron Rodgers. How can we expect there not to be issues when someone else needs to Qb the team? It’s an extension of his philosophy, he doesn’t really run a system, he runs match ups, and Rodgers is the ultimate match up victory. There is no plug and play on this team, no help given, everything is centered on the players.

    I haven’t watched yet but far more concerning to me is the disorganization on D. Multiple times unable to get into position pre-snap, too few guys on the field. How does that happen? That is squarely a coaching issue and inexcusable.
     
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  8. 57packer

    57packer 2017 Draft Guru

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    I don't know what the problem is anymore, coaching or players who simply are not smart enough or able to keep their heads in the game.

    I have an example - it was a small mistake at the time but cost the Packers big and I think is a perfect example of not having your head in the game or inadequate coaching.

    In the third quarter, the Saints opening drive I believe, they faced a 3rd and long. Brees completed a pass short of the mark and the receiver went to the ground to make the catch. HHCD jumped over him and never touched him. The receiver got back up, got the extra 4-5 yards for a 1st down and the Saints went on to score a TD. I remember yelling at the TV - "It's professional football today guys, not college". How does a 3rd year veteran like HHCD not realize he needs to touch that player down. You don't have to get a penalty going into him head first, but going that far out of your way to not touch him was just dumb. Had he done his job, the Saints would have punted and maybe the Packers keep the game tight. Instead you gave the Saints added momentum to start the half.

    Mental errors are just the norm with this team. The play above is for me, on the player. You're a pro, know the basic rules. Still, I can't help but feel at this time that coaching is a large part of the problem. I don't know that I see more than 2-3 more wins for this team.
     
  9. rpiotr01

    rpiotr01 Lifetime Member

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    I think HHCD is injured. He’s been inexplicably bad this year, looks like he’s running in sand and he’s very timid.
     
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  10. GBP4EVER

    GBP4EVER Member

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    post game announcers were wondering same thing saying he seems slow
     

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