Packers coach McCarthy budges but maintains control

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David Moore
Sunday, January 30, 2011
— It's too early to know if Mike McCarthy's plan to attack Pittsburgh's bruising defense will work.

But the Green Bay coach has done a good job of managing the first Twitter outbreak of this Super Bowl.

Tight end Jermichael Finley and linebacker Nick Barnett were upset that the Packers initial schedule excluded them from the team picture and tweeted their frustrations.

McCarthy chose to respond by news conference. He criticized the players for making a poor decision in airing their hurt feelings, made it clear that "no apologies will be given" but did move the photo from Tuesday to Friday so the 15 players on injured reserve will be included.

McCarthy believes players want discipline. They want structure. What they don't want is a totalitarian coach who refuses to back off an edict even if it's misguided.

The Packers have so many players on injured reserve that they're not scheduled to arrive at D/FW until Thursday, two days after the Super Bowl photo is traditionally taken. When captains Aaron Rodgers and Charles Woodson raised the issue in a meeting with McCarthy, he acknowledged they were right by switching the date of the photo.

McCarthy didn't give up his authority. He enhanced it. He listened to his players, averted what would have been a simmering issue and still managed to assert his control with a public reprimand of Finley and Barnett.

If McCarthy handles the other storm clouds that are bound to gather in the next few days as adroitly as he did this one, the Packers are in good hands.

"Something is going to be screwed up," McCarthy said. "I've been told that by a number of coaches. You have to be able to let it roll off your back.

"We're going to continue to make sure that we do everything that's in the best interests of getting our football team ready to win this game."

Last updated: 3:57 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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