Black and Blue all over: McCarthy's explanation

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy waded into the sensitive waters Monday of dividing up blame after watching film of Sunday's 28-27 loss to Minnesota.

McCarthy faced two significant lines of questioning Monday in Green Bay: Why couldn't the Packers adjust their pass protection to account for the Vikings' pressure? And, as the offensive play caller, why didn't he more aggressively pursue better field position on a final drive that ended in an errant 52-yard field goal attempt?

In both instances, McCarthy said the Packers' troubles rested with execution, not scheme or decision making. He said the Packers' offensive line had individual breakdowns that would have occurred no matter what the protection was called. McCarthy also defended his play calling as being appropriate for the situation.

(You can read the transcript of his interview here. Tom Silverstein's account of the situation is on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Web site.

"I'll say this, you can sit here and dissect it all you want," McCarthy said. "And I'd love to tell you the play calling was just flat awful. You can blame it on me. I'd be all for it. But I don't think that's the case, especially after viewing the film."

McCarthy might well be right from a football standpoint, and we appreciate him defending his actions and giving his honest opinion. But players will read those comments and have no choice but to conclude McCarthy is blaming their execution -- and exonerating himself -- for the loss. Even if true, that's a tough public pill to swallow.

Continuing around the NFC North on a Tuesday morning:

  • Packers punter Derrick Frost continues to struggle, writes Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

  • Speaking of schemes, Bears coach Lovie Smith defended his defensive approach Monday -- a day after Tennessee quarterback Kerry Collins threw for nearly 300 yards against it. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times has the story.

  • David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune offers five suggestions for fixing the Bears' defense, including benching cornerback Nate Vasher and getting Smith more involved in the defensive play calling.

  • There was no further indication Monday if quarterback Kyle Orton will be ready for Sunday's game at Green Bay, writes Nick Hut of the Northwest Herald.

  • Minnesota quarterback Gus Frerotte has learned to forget about his mistakes, writes Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune.

  • Here's an entertaining video from the St. Paul Pioneer Press on fan "behavior" during Sunday's game at the Metrodome.

  • Jacksonville players were taunting Detroit Lions players during Sunday's game at Ford Field, according to John Niyo of the Detroit News. Lions tailback Kevin Smith said the Jaguars "thought we were a joke." Can you blame them?