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NFL meetings day 3: McCarthy doesn't second-guess decision to rest Rodgers

Nov. 6, 2013
 
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PALM BEACH, Fla. — Whatever went wrong in the playoff loss to the New York Giants, Packers coach Mike McCarthy doesn’t believe resting quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the regular-season finale played any part in it. Though the Packers beat the Detroit Lions in Week 17 thanks to backup quarterback Matt Flynn’s record-setting day, there was reason to wonder whether Rodgers had too much time away from the offense and couldn’t flip the switch and return to his MVP form for the playoffs. McCarthy didn’t agree and wouldn’t change his decision to sit Rodgers. “No, not at all,” McCarthy said this morning during the NFC coaches breakfast at the annual league meetings. “I thought what we did with Aaron was smart. He mentally was able to play the game in the first half (against Detroit) because he basically called the game. I don’t know if there’s ever been a football player that’s gone through a regular season and played 16 games that probably couldn’t use a week off and get his body back. I know that definitely helped Aaron. If you want to talk specifically about Aaron, I thought Aaron played very well in the game. I mean he had what, seven dropped balls? We dropped the football, we turned it over, we didn’t tackle very well.” Rodgers was 26-of-46 passing for 264 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the 37-20 loss at Lambeau Field in the divisional playoff game. McCarthy and his staff have poured through the game tape, their practice notes and preparation plans from that week to try to discover what went wrong. “I’ve done a lot of self-evaluating leading up to the two weeks for that game,” McCarthy said. “I’ll share this with the team first, there is something I’ll change if we’re in that position again from my perspective. But as far as sitting players, I wouldn’t change that at all. A fresh team is the best team because you can accomplish the things you need to accomplish leading up to that game if you go about it the right way. “I think there’s one component to our training leading up to that game that I will change when we’re in that position again. I’ll share that with the team. What was disappointing to me was the emphasis on tackling going into the game, the extra week to prepare, not that we’re going to change three extra days of practice how we tackle, but I’m a big believer in coaching that you get what you emphasize. The fact we were outside so much in prior years handling the football, I was just frustrated in the way we handled the football. Not only the turnovers, but when we’re catching the ball we’re bobbling the ball, it’s always so damn loose the whole week.”  

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