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McCarthy not completely to blame for Packers playoff shortcomings

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 20: Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy reacts to his team's fumble late in the fourth quarter against the Washington Redskins on November 20, 2016, at FedExField in Landover, MD. where the Washington Redskins defeated the Green Bay Packers, 42-24. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)
Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire

Greg Jennings is once again taking aim at his former team, the Green Bay Packers, for failing to win more than one Super Bowl with one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Make no mistake, Jennings didn’t show up on FOX Sports’ Undisputed to sing Aaron Rodgers’ praises.

However, he did show up to tear down Mike McCarthy.

The retired receiver believes McCarthy is the real reason why the Packers can’t seem to get over the playoff hump. The Packers head coach has faced criticism in the past for taking his foot off the gas and costing his team football games.

Jennings echoed those frustrations by comparing and contrasting McCarthy’s style to the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots’ with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

“I’m just going to flat-out say it: If we had a lead, our issue wasn’t the defense — our issue was Mike McCarthy,” Jennings said on Wednesday. “He would cuff us. When you watch New England play, when they have a lead, they go for your throat, they don’t relax. They have a great quarterback, they have arguably the best quarterback in football, but they have — no doubt about it — the best head coach in football.”

Words can definitely cut deep, and Jennings was spewing daggers with his remarks.

There are definitely some instances where someone could point to McCarthy’s play-calling as being a bit too conservative, particularly in the 2014 NFC Championship Game against the Seattle Seahawks. McCarthy went for field goals on two fourth-and-goals on the 1-yard line. The Packers were up 16-0 at halftime before the Seahawks pulled off the improbable comeback and won 28-22 in overtime.

Some of the blame does have to go on the defense. There have been too many times in important games where the Packers defense failed produce. But honestly, it mostly has been composed of recycled players and few standout defensive stalwarts. That also goes for Rodgers’ running back and receiving corps.

The Packers have spent too much time attempting to do more with less, and it often comes back to bite them when it matters most. Jennings has called out McCarthy and Rodgers several times throughout the years. There are obviously still some hurt feelings from his time playing with Rodgers in Green Bay, and the way it ended. The team never offered him that big-money contract he felt he rightly deserved, and things haven’t been the same since.

However, if Jennings really wants to blame anyone for the Packers’ failures, he should look directly at the front office. They ultimately decided not to write him the check he wanted back in 2013, and they have chosen to allow Rodgers to continue to play with sub-par talent while other teams in the league, namely the Patriots, make all kinds of moves.

Jennings’ frustrations are valid. He’s just blaming the wrong people.

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