A year ago, the Green Bay Packers collapsed in the NFC Championship game, which led coach Mike McCarthy to start the offseason by saying he would turn over play-calling duties to associate head coach Tom Clements.
This time around – two days after finishing a frustrating season that saw his offense drop from sixth to 23rd in total yardage – McCarthy emphasized in his postgame press conference that he won’t make the same mistake again.
“I’ll tell you, I will be calling the plays from here on in,” McCarthy told reporters, via the Green Bay Press Gazette.” How we structure our staff, that’s really what lies ahead.”
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McCarthy, who is 104-55 in 10 seasons as head coach, wanted to do a better job of overseeing the entire team after special teams and defensive gaffes cost the Packers against the Seahawks, but he took play-calling duties back from Clements in Week 14 of this season. Green Bay’s offense initially spiked in a 28-7 win against the Cowboys but didn’t wake up again until the second quarter of a playoff victory against Washington.
The Packers’ season ended Saturday with a 26-20 overtime loss to the Cardinals in which quarterback Aaron Rodgers was throwing to Nos. 4 and 5 receivers with his top targets sidelined due to injuries.
"I’ll tell you this is the most adversity he had to play through since ’08," McCarthy said of Rodgers. "I thought in the big picture of things, I thought he did a heck of a job dealing with that. Aaron is that great player who plays at such a high level that the competition is usually with himself. I think he was really challenged this year more than ever with what he had to pick up with Jordy (Nelson out). The way we came together at the end of the season, I felt we were going to be really strong."