Green Bay Packers Coach Mike McCarthy Will Call the Shots vs. Dallas

Meanwhile, starting center Corey Linsley is inactive, along with outside linebacker Nick Perry and receiver Ty Montgomery.

Change was in the air for the Green Bay Packers ahead of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Dallas Cowboys at soggy Lambeau Field.

First was the news, initially reported by Fox’s Jay Glazer, that coach Mike McCarthy has taken back the play-calling duties, relieving associated head coach Tom Clements of that role.

Second was at center, with starter Corey Linsley inactive because of an ankle injury, meaning J.C. Tretter will be making his second start in three games. The rest of the offensive line is intact, including right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who was questionable with an ankle injury.

The big pregame news, of course, was the change in play-caller. Asked about play-calling on Friday, a day after the Packers’ stunning victory at Detroit, McCarthy said, “I need to shut up more, frankly. I think the most important thing is the communication network when you’re calling plays. If you’re calling plays, you need the information before the series and timely information within the series. So, that’s something that we’re all conscientious of, and it’s just to make sure we’re trying to give Tom the support that he needs there.”

With McCarthy calling the shots, the Packers led the NFL in scoring in 2011 and 2014. Over the previous five seasons, Green Bay had ranked second in scoring, fifth in total offense and fourth in passing offense. Going back even further, the Packers and Saints were the only teams to finish in the top 10 in third-down efficiency in each of the past eight seasons.

Entering Sunday, Green Bay ranked 12th in scoring, 22nd in total offense, 23rd in passing offense and 26th in third-down efficiency.

Dating to the start of the Ron Wolf era in 1992, the Packers have never finished a season ranked worse than 19th in total offense or 18th in passing offense.

The reason for McCarthy’s decision is unknown and surprising, considering his ongoing support of Clements. Perhaps it’s a case of McCarthy making a change in direction simply because he can’t make a change in personnel, with receiver Jordy Nelson’s season-long absence being a huge factor in the Packers’ ongoing offensive dysfunction.

Along with Linsley, the Packers’ inactives include outside linebacker Nick Perry (shoulder) and receiver Ty Montgomery (ankle). Perry could be a key loss because he’s an excellent run-stopper and the Cowboys might be inclined to run the ball because of the weather and they’re without quarterback Tony Romo.

Also inactive for the Packers are quarterback Brett Hundley, cornerback LaDarius Gunter, running back John Crockett and outside linebacker Andy Mulumba. Crockett’s spot on the inactive list could be linked to the injuries on the offensive line. Without Linsley and with Bulaga, T.J. Lang (shoulder) and Josh Sitton (back) nursing injuries, Tretter, Don Barclay, Lane Taylor and Josh Walker are all active. Montgomery will miss a seventh consecutive game because of the ankle. It's possible McCarthy is being cautious with Montgomery given the field conditions on a rainy Sunday.

Bill Huber is publisher of and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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