McCarthy did on Sunday what you like to see in a coach. He took the fight right to the Arizona Cardinals on the first play of the game and didn't let up. I believe he went into the game telling his linemen we are going to run the ball down their throats until they gag, and he stuck with it. Trust me the confidence he gave the linemen will pay off huge dividends for the rest of the year. What Mike McCarthy did was tell the linemen, running backs and tight ends that he trusts them. For players that's all they ever want from their coach - for the coaches to really have faith in them.
When Mike McCarthy was hired he had talked about running the ball more. I believe earlier in the season he got away from that, which I believe hurt them in the win column. It also hurt this team offensively because he was saying one thing and doing another. But against the Cardinals they were the better team and instead of playing some cat-mouse game and trying to keep them off balance, they ran simple but effective plays on offense, because it isn't about the plays, it's about the people executing the plays and how they went about executing them.
I've said coaches coach and players play. In this win everyone produced the way they should against this team. Don't get me wrong because this win came against a terrible team. Their coach should be fired by the time you read this, but that's not the Packers' fault. It's their job to play and beat who's ever on their schedule and they did. Here's how they accomplished that:
Like always there are some questionable situations that come up in the game that can tarnish a win so I will hit on them quickly, such as what in the world was happening with the fake field goal? If you run it, everyone should be in on it and they weren't. Or, how could the Packers be out of timeouts with over seven minutes left in the first half? And how is their still communication breakdowns in the secondary at this time in the season? OK, that's over, so let's go back to the good stuff!!!!!!!
The coaches put together an excellent game plan on offense and defense. On offense Mike McCarthy kept Brett as comfortable as I have seen him in years as he called a game according to Brett's strengths by using the bootleg to get Brett outside the pocket, like he did when he scored on his first rushing touchdown in years.
I also liked the way the coaches kept the running backs fresh, keeping the Cardinals off balance. Ahman Green and Vernand Morency both ran very hard but they have different running styles with Ahman being a slasher and Vernand a quick cutter with the ability to change speeds. Edgar Bennett did a great job using them to do something that hasn't been done in many years and that's to have two 100-yard rushers in the same game.
But then again I don't care what kind of running back you are, you can't run without somebody paving the way for you and what I saw in the game was picture-perfect blocking and that's a tribute to the offensive line. Scott Wells, Daryn Colledge, Chad Clifton, Jason Spitz and Mark Tauscher should all receive game balls for the job they did against the Cardinals because it was a thing of beauty. They executed not like rookies but like they were seasoned veterans allowing for the backs to have choices on where to run. Trust me, I'm not downplaying what Ahman and Vernand did, but I might be able to come out of retirement and get 100 yards as big as some of those holes were … OK, maybe 50. Also the offensive line gave Brett all the time in the world he needed to throw, even though on most of the throws he released the ball quickly because they were timing routes that didn't require him to hold onto the ball. Since I am on Brett, isn't he looking totally relaxed and under control? In my opinion, that's because he doesn't have the pressure of having to be the savior anymore. Again that has so much to do with what McCarthy his doing. Also, I want to introduce the new player on the roster and his name is David Martin. Welcome, because he is a sight for sore eyes. He finally has arrived and it's a good thing, especially with the fact that this staff seems to understand how to use a tight end's strengths and weakness and can fit them into an offense.
On the defensive side of the ball I did get to see a glimpse of what I've wanted to see for a while and that is for Bob Sanders to turn the dogs loose. I saw several sets where Brady Poppinga was used as an outside pass rusher and they moved Aaron Kampman inside and it seemed to be effective. Also, it was nice to have a Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila sighting, finally.
But like I have said before, the strength of this defense is in the linebackers and the corners, and they are playing very well I believe. I was really impressed with Nick Barnett against the Cardinals he showed more that just athletic ability in the game. I saw some physical toughness that I really hadn't seen from him and, trust me, I've been looking. On the goal line he really delivered a pop to Edgerrin James when he stuffed the hole. The hit could be heard in the stadium. And as for the cornerbacks, if Al Harris could catch he would probably make it to the Pro Bowl. Another interception dropped, but the good thing is that he is in position to make the play, which means he is covering like a blanket. As for Charles Woodson, he is making Ted Thompson look pretty good but then again, isn't Mike McCarthy as well?
Since I went to the issue of Ted Thompson a lot of you want to run him out of town. What do you think now because it all starts with him and you know what? They are MAKING ME A BELIEVER! How about you?
Editor's note: Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.