Mike McCarthy had big expectations for Team 93... He's helped the Packers set the bar high for themselves in the past, but believed this season could top past successes.
“I felt this was going to be the best offense that we've ever had here,” McCarthy explained. “I thought we were going to go past 2011, when we came out of the Minnesota game I thought we really, really hit our stride, cause we had a couple bumps there and we got the no huddle offense where it needed to be. We changed a lot of mechanics from the past so I felt very, very good about our offense and our numbers reflected it too.”
But that forward momentum was halted when the unthinkable happened: franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone and was sidelined for 7 games.
“How many teams played with 4 quarterbacks in a season and won a division championship? I think we've been the fourth.. so it was definitely a challenge,” McCarthy said. “Was our confidence challenged? Heck yeah, part of the evaluation you have to go back and look at who stepped up during those times? Who stepped up when Seneca was in there and Scott and Matt? Those are things you have to make sure you go back and look at and make sure are part of your evaluation.”
That evaluation process is already underway, but its on-going. Just a week removed from the season, emotions factor in.
“We'll rank all the players all the players on offense, rank all the players on defense and then we'll go thru the film evaluation and a month later we'll rank all the guys on offense and all the guys on defense and its interesting to see how much those rankings change.”
2013 will be remembered as the year plagued by injuries. McCarthy said the team ranked 5th or 6th in the league in that category and it’s something that will be studied thoroughly this off-season.
“When you look at a statistic that's the starting point. You have to look inside of it, make sure you have a clear understanding of everything that happened within that statistic. That’s the answer, that's what you're looking for and we'll continue to do that,” McCarthy vowed.
When asked if this was the most challenging season he's ever had, McCarthy says he thinks back to his first year at the helm of the Packers... but even that can't compare.
“There were some points of that season I felt like I got ran over by a truck, but this year it just seemed like it never stopped.”