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McCarthy says he, QB on same page

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Associated Press
October 5, 2010
— Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he and quarterback Aaron Rodgers are on the same page, one day after Rodgers offered a polite but pointed public critique of the team's game plan in the wake of Sunday's narrow victory over the Detroit Lions.

Clearly, Rodgers prefers some pages of the playbook to others.


Asked about Rodgers' suggestion that Green Bay should have used more multiple-receiver shotgun formations to spread out the Lions' defense and get their best players on the field on Sunday, McCarthy said the offense is designed to use a wide variety of formations.


And while Rodgers certainly has input on weekly game plans, there's no question who has the final say.


"Did we have plays called in the game that put our players in position to win? Yes we did, and that's the bottom line," McCarthy said Monday. "How much we spread out and how much we don't spread out, the coaches coach, and the players play."


Rodgers threw three touchdown passes in the first half as the Packers took a 21-7 lead. But Green Bay's only points the rest of the way would come on a defensive touchdown by Charles Woodson, and they barely held on for a 28-26 win.


After the game, Rodgers said he felt the Packers had gone away from the strength of their offense — a deep group of wide receivers and athletic tight end Jermichael Finley, especially in the wake of a season-ending ankle injury to running back Ryan Grant.


"It's a win, so we're happy about that," Rodgers said. "Offensively, we've got to find our identity again. I think we've got to make sure that we've got our best players on the field at all times and find ways to get them the ball."


Rodgers said the Packers had success spreading out the Bears' defense in a loss at Chicago last Monday night, and wanted to see more of the same against the Lions.


"I think we had great production last week being in the shotgun a lot, spreading them out, and Chicago has a tough scheme," Rodgers said. "I think Detroit runs their scheme well, but I don't think we gave them a chance (by) spreading them out enough to find those mismatches. When we did, I think we were pretty productive."


Rodgers made an appearance in the Packers' locker room while it was open to the media Monday, but didn't want to expand on his remarks.


Rodgers chooses his words carefully in front of the media and generally avoids controversy. But in his third season as a starter, Rodgers is emerging as a team leader— and, quite possibly, the new face of the franchise—and might be exploring the boundaries of his newfound stature.


McCarthy said Rodgers has a lot of input as the team puts together its offensive game plan every week.


"I have not talked to Aaron yet," McCarthy said. "I'll see him today, like I always do, in the meetings. We'll talk about the game. We'll talk about the things I thought he did very well, and we'll talk about the things that he needs corrections on. As far as getting our best guys on the field, I was very confident in the game plan."


McCarthy said turnovers—including two interceptions by Rodgers—made Sunday's game a strange one for the offense. The Packers ran only 40 offensive plays, and their time of possession was only 22:23.


"I think anytime that happens, right there, that's out of balance for us from the beginning," McCarthy said. "We want to be 70, 75 plays in the ballgame, and we were just a little over half of that. I'm sure everybody was wanting more opportunities."


And McCarthy was far more concerned about his team's four turnovers and 3-for-7 effort on third-down conversions than he was about the Packers somehow getting away from their offensive identity.


"Our identity hasn't changed," McCarthy said. "We're a multiple offense. We have the ability to get in and out of a number of different personnel groups. We spend a lot of time trying to stress out our opponent from a personnel standpoint, formations included, and at the end of the day we're about the fundamentals of football. That's what I focus on."


Packer players approve union decertification

Packers players have become the latest team to give the NFL Players Association approval to decertify in the event of a lockout next year.


George Atallah, the NFL Players Association's assistant executive director of external affairs, told The Associated Press players voted to decertify in a meeting Monday afternoon.


"It's another way for the players to ensure that there


isn't a protracted lockout," Atallah said.


Decertification would give players the right to sue the NFL under antitrust laws if there is a lockout, a threat that could strengthen the players' position in negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement.


Each team's players must approve the measure, but the votes are considered largely procedural.


The Packers' union meeting took place at Lambeau Field on Monday afternoon and lasted more than an hour, although a handful of players left early and would not comment on what was discussed.


At least eight other teams have approved decertification: Cincinnati, Buffalo, Indianapolis, Dallas, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Washington and the New York Giants.


The Players Association will kick off its so-called "One Team Tour," a series of tailgate-style luncheons for selected fans, with an event in Green Bay on Tuesday. According to a news release, the events are designed to thank fans "for their dedication to the players of the National Football League."


NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith is scheduled to attend Tuesday's event, as are Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, offensive tackle Mark Tauscher and running back Brandon Jackson.



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