Much has been said in recent weeks about Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson and rightfully so. But there is a time when players have to look in the mirror and say to themselves that "it is time for me to step up". Now, it is that time and time for the leadership of the Packers
to step up as well.
Donald Driver, Chad Clifton, Mark Tauscher, Aaron Rodgers
, Aaron Kampman, Nick Barnett, Al Harris and Charles Woodson as a Packers fan and a person who cares (maybe too much) I am talking to you.
From what was written in Thursday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Driver, Tauscher and Rodgers did just that. It happened after the offense went over the game film against last weeks opponents, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tauscher, Driver and Rodgers one by one got up and spoke to their teammates.
Blame was placed on the offensive line for not blocking like they need to. The wide receivers for not getting off the line cleanly and dropping to many balls. Rodgers was the third factor in the equation because of his propensity to hold on to the ball to long and take the sack, rather than throwing the ball away.
All three factions are at fault. The offensive line has not been blocking the way they need to and when they do, more times than not they get a penalty to negate any gain. The Packers have a league high 62 penalties so far this season. The five offensive linemen have repeatedly allowed four rushers get to Rodgers, who has been sacked 37 times thus far in 2009.
Driver was straight to the point according to the article. "If we don't win - and I mean now - they are going to fire all of our (butts) at the end of the season," Driver said. "I'm serious."
Rodgers for his part admitted he has held on to the ball to long and vowed to do a better job of getting rid of it sooner. He also challenged his offensive line by saying "look in the mirror" and ask themselves how they can be better.
According to the article Rodgers added "We all have to ask ourselves if we're doing enough," Rodgers said, "because if we're not, we're going to be sitting at home in January watching the playoffs, not playing in them. Again. I don't want to do that again."
Yesterday Greg Jennings said that the receivers need to do a better job of getting open and not dropping balls. “Everybody bears responsibility when you’re getting sacked,” Jennings told reporters at his locker.
Jennings went on to say “We have to get open as receivers. Would I say we’re getting open? Yeah. But you can’t just throw your brother under the bus. It’s not always your brother’s fault. So that’s how it’s perceived from the outside looking in. It’s like, the quarterback gets sacked, it’s the O-line. That’s not always the case. Some of the ownership is on Aaron (Rodgers). Some of the ownership is on the receivers. Some of the ownership is on the running backs, tight ends. Again, it’s not just one aspect of the offense not getting it done. It’s all of us.”
"Definitely got to have this game." Jennings added about playing the Cowboys Sunday "Got to have it."
But why did it take this long for the offensive leaders to step and say something? Is it because the Packers season, for all intensive purposes is on the line Sunday? Where has the urgency been at for the past eight weeks? Packers fans sure had it but why not the players?
"Unfortunately, I feel like we do now," Rodgers said. "But it's tough because you don't ever want to lose to get that sense of urgency, but that's sometimes how it works."
The Packers defense was sure glad they had that meeting. From what the article said the meeting got heated and even "blunt". So much so that it got back to the defensive players quickly.
One defensive player told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "Heard they really had it out." Good. I don't think anything but positive things can come from that."
Packers left guard Daryn Colledge told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "For us, the leaders and the guys that needed to be heard were heard and hopefully everybody listened," Colledge said. "I think we walked out as a better offense without even practicing."
Mike McCarthy at his press conference said "We really want to win the game this week, there's no question about that.
McCarthy needs the Packers to win otherwise his job security will go out the window. I have heard from three different sources that the Packers Board of Directors are not happy with the direction of the team. Mark Murphy, the Packers CEO, came out and said that he was disappointed with the team's performance so thus far.
From what I gathered opposing teams are "loading up" against the Packers short passing attack. That in turn has the receivers running deeper routes which leads to more time Rodgers has to hold onto the ball and this season that means a sack.
Ryan Grant and the Packers running backs are also to blame. Packers coaches (Edgar Bennett in particular) told Grant and the other backs that they had left too many yards out on the field. Grant, from what I gathered, got his butt chewed out by Bennett for not "finishing the play" on a run in the third quarter.
The play that I am talking about had Grant bounce the outside and after about three yards was one on one with a Buccaneer cornerback. Grant should have lowered his shoulder on the smaller corner for an extra two or three yards, but he instead choose to run out of bounce.
On one hand as a fan I am disappointed that it took so long for the Packers "leadership" to step up. But on the other it is also a relief that they did and it shows that they care. This is a good sign for McCarthy because it shows he has not lost his team and they still believe in him and his staff.
If the Packers come out and play inspired football they can be a very good team. But if they come out and play the way they have been playing so far this year, it is going to be a long eight weeks for all involved. It's time to put up or shut up. No more excuses. No more communication breakdowns or excuses for McCarthy.
He said it best when he said "Our message is very clear. The head coach has to coach better, the coaches have to coach better, the players have to play better, and we have to win games. That's our focus. We're going to apply all of our energy into this Dallas
game plan. . . . That's about as far down the road as we're looking. We're going to pour everything that we have into winning at home against the Cowboys. That's our focus."
If they don't coach better, play better or evaluate better it could be the end of the road for McCarthy, his staff, some of the players and Ted Thompson. It's time for the playmakers to make plays, defenders to defend and put pressure on the quarterback. More importantly leaders to lead and find a way to get the Packers out of the mess they put themselves in.