Inside the NFL  


Packers back to form with Mike McCarthy's play calling


The following item is excerpted from the Week 15 edition of Albert Breer's exclusive Inside the NFL Notebook:

With Mike McCarthy taking play-calling duties back in Green Bay last week, I went back to an October conversation I had with the Packers coach about why he'd decided to pass the torch to Tom Clements. And in revisiting his comments, you get some clues as to what he's thinking now. "My goal was for us to play to one another better," McCarthy told me. "We've been so heavily tilted to the offense. It's always been about the offense." He explained that Green Bay's 15-1 season of 2011 (and I wrote about that part of it) was the impetus for the change: He felt like his team wasn't prepared to play the kind of bare-knuckle game the Giants baited the Packers into playing in that season's playoff loss. "As great as it was -- 15-1 and we had a lot of opportunity to be 16-0 -- that's really a team I never wanna be again," McCarthy said.

So what's changed? Well, the Packers are middle of the league in total defense and sixth in points allowed. The running game is workman-like, if not explosive. They're balanced. Now, it's their long-standing strength -- Aaron Rodgers and the passing game -- that hasn't been quite strong enough. McCarthy said back in Week 5 that "when you have that common thread that runs through your whole team, it gives you a good chance to be a pretty balanced football team. That's the goal, that's the secret, that's why I did it." Conversely, he said if there was a problem with his play-calling, it was that he was too aggressive. So maybe with the desired balance in place, the Packers need a little more of that aggression now. And, of course, there's the overriding thing here: No one wanted to waste a year of Rodgers' prime due to an experiment.

Follow Albert Breer on Twitter @AlbertBreer.



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