McCarren: 'Weighty' decisions for Packers to make after playoff loss

CREATED Jan 14, 2013

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  • Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

GREEN BAY - The initial shock may have worn off Monday after the Packers' 45-31 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

Now, the Packers have what Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Packers color commentator and TODAY'S TMJ4/NBC26 reporter Larry McCarren says are "some weighty topics" to discern.

"For the second straight season, the Packers did not finish strong," said McCarren on Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News." 

"For the second straight season, they laid a big egg, and probably a bigger egg than they laid against the Giants last season.  They have some work to do.  There's some headscratchers here and serious deciphering to be done."

The deciphering comes after a season where the Packers addressed concerns brought about in their 30-22 loss to the 49ers in week one.

"I thought going into this year, the mantra was 'We are going to build this team to finish strong.  That's what hurt us last year.'  The whole mindset has been, in dealing with adversity, building up the running game, all this good stuff, is all pointing towards this time of year."

The biggest decisions to consider involve the defense, including the status of defensive coordinator Dom Capers after the third time in four seasons his defense has given up 37 points or more in a playoff loss.

McCarren says that Packers Planet should exercise caution before calling for Capers' pink slip.

"I personally believe Dom Capers is a capable and good coach," said McCarren. 

"I think you have to take a step back before raising a 'sky is falling' type (of attitude)."

McCarren cited the Packers' defensive improvement, from last in total defense in 2011 to 11th in both total and scoring defense in 2012.

"I think prior to that game at Candlestick Park, everyone was happy the Packers came off a game where they held Adrian Peterson in check and bounced back nicely and moved on in the playoffs," explained McCarren.  "What a dramatic improvement, what a fine job in coaching the young players.

"Now, suddenly, the sky is falling and we have to have a total revamp?  I'm not saying you shouldn't examine everything thoroughly after the way the season, but you have to take a step back, let the emotional situation stop, recognize what got accomplished, what didn't, and then go from there."

According to McCarren, that process has already begun with the personnel staff, particularly in the general manager's office.

"It's probably already started at the very top with Ted Thompson taking a long hard look at what's got to be done to take this team to the next level.  I think Mike McCarthy and his staff, they're ground down in the process of wrapping up the season.  That means the interviews with their players, and then they'll start meeting as a group, coaching staff and organization to start looking forward to what's got to be done."