GREEN BAY – It’s upsetting to Mike McCarthy he has lost his MVP quarterback possibly for the season, but his displeasure on Monday was directed just as much at the rest of his team.
The update on Aaron Rodgers is he’ll have surgery soon on his broken right collarbone and begin a recovery process that has no timeline as of yet.
Regardless of when that information becomes available, though, McCarthy is focused on getting the awful taste of Sunday’s loss to the Vikings out of his mouth.
“It was a poor performance as a football team, one I’m frustrated by,” McCarthy said. “When the mental mistakes are what they were yesterday, it’s something I take very personal from the chair of the head coach.”
McCarthy didn’t go into detail on the errors, but his tone and words suggested they were numerous.
Communication and assignment mistakes were made repeatedly against Minnesota’s pass rush, leading to four sacks and more than a dozen quarterback hits. Three starting offensive linemen departed with injuries at different times, but the lineup shuffling wasn’t handled as well as it had been in other games.
Defensively, the Packers had their highest number of missed tackles in a game this season, according to defensive coordinator Dom Capers. Multiple penalties on third down also extended drives.
Monday was focused on going over the extensive corrections in the film room and then working ahead a little on the next opponent, the Saints, who have won three straight after an 0-2 start. Normally that initial film study occurs on Wednesday, but in the wake of Rodgers’ injury and the team’s rough day without him, McCarthy and his coaches are turning the page as quickly as possible.
“It’s important to shift gears,” McCarthy said. “We’re looking forward to playing again after our performance yesterday.
“My challenge is to win game No. 5. This is what we do as coaches. This is what we’re committed to as a football team. It’s unfortunate for all these guys to be hurt right now, and it’s unfortunate for Aaron to get hurt like that, but this is where we are. All the energy needs to be poured into beating the Saints.”
That energy is also fully behind Brett Hundley as the new starting quarterback, with Joe Callahan as his backup. McCarthy made that unequivocally clear.
Having invested multiple years in both backup signal callers, McCarthy is calling upon himself, the QBs, and the entire offense to “turn it up” after producing a measly 118 yards on Sunday from the time Rodgers left the game until a late desperation drive.
“I have to do a better job. I have to get Brett into a flow. More importantly, we need to get our offense into a flow,” McCarthy said. “We didn’t run the ball very well, pass protection was a negative, we didn’t handle basic blitzes they came with. We have to play cleaner football.”
It would help to get some continuity up front, but McCarthy had no injury updates on offensive linemen Lane Taylor, Bryan Bulaga or David Bakhtiari, saying their prospects for Sunday will be sorted out later in the week. The defense remains banged-up as well, with three top defensive backs in Morgan Burnett, Kevin King and Davon House missing the Minnesota game.
As for the injury to Rodgers, McCarthy said he watched the video of Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr’s outside-the-pocket takedown and termed it “totally unnecessary.”
“I didn’t like the hit,” he said. “He’s clearly expecting to get hit, and to pin him to the ground like that, I felt it was an illegal act.
“To sit here and lose any of your players to something like that, it doesn’t feel good.”
But a performance like Sunday’s almost feels worse to a head coach, whose resolve and determination were unmistakable one day later.
“I’m focused on getting back to playing Green Bay Packer football,” McCarthy said. “Yesterday was not anything we needed to be. We’re not going to play like that anymore.”