Mike McCarthy has been called many things during his tenure as the Packers’ Head Coach.
Some think he is a terrific coach, able to get the most out of his players which shows in their consistently competing for the playoffs. His 75-40 regular season record over seven plus seasons speaks volumes to why many have this opinion of him.
Others think of him as underwhelming, capable of making highly questionable decisions. His offensive play calling has been questioned multiple times during his time in Green Bay. His sticking with Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers following two substandard performances in the playoffs caused more than a few eyebrows to be raised. And aside from the 2010 run which turned into a Super Bowl victory, McCarthy’s playoff record is a less than stellar 2-4.
There are some who feel he sits somewhere in the middle as a coach who despite some head scratching moments has done a great job in producing a high quality product on the field. A team which has enough talent to be considered one of the best teams in the NFC year after year. And with a few good calls and some luck, might be able to bring another Lombardi Trophy back to Green Bay.
Yet there is one thing that McCarthy does not get enough credit for being: a terrific actor, and not while he’s doing TV commercials.
Nope. This has nothing to do with TV. It has everything to do with his ability to remain cagey regarding the Packers’ injury situation.
Week after week, when asked about player injuries, he dips into the bag of McCarthyisms when explaining the current status of players and their expected return. It has become so standard it is almost laughable.
“Has a knee. Will be challenged to go on Sunday.”
“Has an arm. Will be evaluated.”
“Has a leg.”
It’s comic relief without trying to be comical. And it is exceptionally frustrating, because seldom is the full truth ever known.
While it is important for the team to remain guarded about player injuries as to not give away game plans, just once it would be nice for some honesty regarding the Packers injures to be made in full disclosure.
Two players currently on the Packers’ current roster who are prime examples of this frustration.
The first is Derek Sherrod.
When he was drafted in the first round in 2011, Sherrod was expected to become one of the anchors along the offensive line for years to come. A horrific injury resulting in a broken leg against the Chiefs during his rookie campaign has derailed that from happening. And for the better part of two years now, Sherrod has been rehabbing in an effort to salvage his career according to the team.
Of course, the team also never mentioned that Sherrod had a second surgery this off season, which is odd considering the investment they made in making him a first round pick. It took an article in which his family revealed this for this to become public knowledge, and the question asked by many is why? Why did the Packers hide this information?
The second, and more recent example of the Packers not being honest regarding player injuries, is Casey Hayward.
As a rookie last season, Hayward made an immediate impact on the field, becoming the ball hawk that had been missing since Charles Woodson’s play began declining. He quickly made a name for himself not just for being a great slot corner, but capable of making impact plays. Six interceptions later, Hayward finished third in the voting for Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012.
Hayward has yet to play this season due to a lingering hamstring issue which has been ailing him since before training camp got underway. He was expected to miss at least a month due to this, and is on pace to meet or exceed this after being ruled out for the Lions game this Sunday.
There is no denying whether he is injured. The Packers would not risk putting someone on the field if they believe further damage could be done. The question is no longer whether Hayward is injured-the question is HOW MUCH is he injured and to what degree.
These are just two examples of what is essentially hiding players without having to explain anything. It may be within the rules of the NFL, but it is beyond irritating to hear the same things day after day, week after week.
This is where it would be nice to have McCarthy as the Head Coach be more honest regarding the extent these players, as well as others, truly are.
Doing so would be a refreshing change to the cliches’ McCarthy uses to describe them currently.
Admit it, wouldn’t it be nice if just once he stepped to the microphone after a game and said “Player X’s leg fell off.”
Brutal honesty would be nice just once.
John Rehor is a writer at PackersTalk.com.
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio. ---------------------
He can also be heard as one of the Co-Hosts of Cheesehead Radio.You can follow John on twitter at jrehor or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.