Good for the entire team: McCarthy says Aaron Rodgers a huge part in his decision to give up play-calling duties
GREEN BAY (WITI) — The NFL season doesn’t start until September, but it is such a competitive business that the pigskin principles are already hard at work, and that includes Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy.
It won’t show up in his career record, but this is the time of year that Coach McCarthy does some of his most important work. Sure, he’ll be a part of the decision-making process on drafting and free agency, but now is when the Packers coach is mapping out what he wants to have happen on the field in the fall. His much-publicized decision to give play-calling duties to assistant Tom Clements is more about injecting himself in more areas than it is about yielding one responsibility.
“He’s thinking in a macro sense right now in terms of how best to use his time — where he would like to interject a little more of his own attitude,” Packers General Manager Ted Thompson said.
After nine seasons in Green Bay, McCarthy thinks he knows where that attitude may be needed. It will be interesting to see what kind of impact he can have in areas other than offense, and what kind of impact the offense may feel by him not being quite so hands-on. Of course, none of this would even be considered were it not for Green Bay’s quarterback.
“Frankly, Aaron Rodgers is a huge part of this, so if I didn’t have the total confidence and trust in him and the relationships that he has with our offensive staff, I would have probably been hesitant to do this,” McCarthy said.
The quarterback is a huge factor when coaches determine how they want their offense to execute. Ken Whisenhunt coached the Cardinals to the Super Bowl with veteran Kurt Warner under center. Now, he coaches the Titans and second-year man Zach Mettenberger.
“Well, it doesn’t matter where you are. It’s always dictated by the level of experience or what kind of player that is, so what you can do when you’ve been with a guy for a number of years, you obviously can do a lot more. When you’ve got a young guy that’s new, you have to be careful and limit some of the things you do, but it’s all a process that you go with based on the guys and where they are in their career,” Whisenhunt said.
Rodgers is at the peak of his powers in his career. The reigning NFL MVP delights in winning matchups at the line of scrimmage, no matter who has called the play in the huddle.
The NFL Draft is still weeks away. The off-season workout program follows, and then Training Camp is in July. By the time next season’s roster is finalized and the games that do count in the standings are being played, McCarthy hopes the learning curve resulting from his restructuring will be leveling off, and as long as Rodgers is running show, McCarthy believes his team will once again be taking off.
Coach McCarthy made his name in the NFL as an offensive coach, so there is some natural reluctance to step back from his area of expertise. However, he maintains that the changes he’s instituting in Green Bay are for the good of the entire team.