A source with ties to the Green Bay Packers' coaching staff has confirmed for Press-Gazette Media a report by Fox's Jay Glazer on Sunday that Packers head coach Mike McCarthy will take over play-calling duties against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon.
McCarthy had delegated those chores to offensive coordinator Tom Clements during the offseason. The move was prompted by the Packers' meltdown loss in the NFC championship game in Seattle, in which game-management failures contributed to the Seahawks' late rally to end Green Bay's season.
The Packers’ offense has been out of sorts this season, ranking 22nd in total offense (341.4 yards per game), 23rd in pass offense (229.8 ypg) and 26th on third-down conversions (35 percent). Green Bay has never finished outside of the top 10 in passing during McCarthy’s head-coaching tenure and only once been outside of the top 10 in total yards (13th in 2012).
The Packers bottomed out against Chicago in a 17-13 loss on Thanksgiving at Lambeau Field and went nearly 70 minutes without a score after they were shutout in the first half of their eventual 27-23 win over Detroit on Dec. 3.
It took a remarkable comeback capped by Richard Rodgers’ 61-yard catch off a Hail Mary with no time left on the clock for Green Bay to complete the comeback and avoid a second loss this season to the 4-8 Lions.
McCarthy was seen being closer in proximity to Clements throughout the contest, but said after the game his role hadn’t changed. In fact, McCarthy suggested he needed to be more hands off.
“I need to shut up more, frankly,” said McCarthy the day after the game. “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.”
McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers have been steadfast in their support of Clements, who has been with the organization since McCarthy’s first season as head coach in 2006. McCarthy tried to lessen Clements’ burden midseason when he brought quarterbacks/receivers coach Alex Van Pelt down from the coaches box to the sideline.
The move, which McCarthy and Rodgers each said was insignificant, was intended to give Clements a chance to collect his thoughts between series to ready for the next offensive possessions. Van Pelt then resumed his role from last year, sitting with Rodgers and the quarterbacks to analyze photographs from the previous series.
McCarthy recently admitted to spending more time in the offensive meetings. Coming off back-to-back home losses, however, McCarthy finally realized something more significant needed to change with four games left in the regular season.