Offensive Players Love Head Coach's Aggressiveness

The situation was dicey. Backed up to their own 3-yard line with 1 minute, 50 seconds left in the first half and trailing 14-10 on Sunday at the Metrodome, the Packers and Head Coach Mike McCarthy were in a hole. They had lost momentum in the game, Minnesota was looking to get a quick stop and good field position to score again before halftime, and the Vikings were also going to receive the second-half kickoff. - More Notebook: Morency Ready To Rejoin Green In Backfield

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Receiver Ruvell Martin shows his intensity after a crucial fourth-quarter reception at Minnesota last Sunday.

The situation was dicey.

Backed up to their own 3-yard line with 1 minute, 50 seconds left in the first half and trailing 14-10 on Sunday at the Metrodome, the Packers and Head Coach Mike McCarthy were in a hole. They had lost momentum in the game, Minnesota was looking to get a quick stop and good field position to score again before halftime, and the Vikings were also going to receive the second-half kickoff.

The safe play would have been to call two runs, get what you could while forcing the Vikings to use two timeouts, and then try to convert on third down to avoid punting from the end zone. And worry about the second half in the second half.

Instead, the Packers came out in a three-receiver set on first down, and quarterback Brett Favre zipped a 12-yard pass to Greg Jennings. Two plays later, Favre rifled another throw over the middle to Donald Driver, who split the secondary for an 82-yard touchdown. Suddenly, the Packers had gone 97 yards in three plays, and they never trailed again.

Aggressive? Darn right. Do the offensive players like that about McCarthy? Right again.

"It's exciting to play in a system that plays to win, and I think that's McCarthy's attitude," left guard Daryn Colledge said. "He's going to play out there to win, not ... not to lose.

"It's exciting because you never know when you're going to have one play get you off the field, or if you're going to rush the whole length of the field and have a 15-play drive. It keeps you guessing, which is a lot of fun."

McCarthy's aggressive nature paid off later in the Vikings game as well.

Leading 20-14 midway through the fourth quarter, the Packers weren't interested in trying to milk the clock against Minnesota's tough run defense. McCarthy called eight passes in a nine-play drive that ended in a field goal and put Green Bay ahead by two scores with two minutes left.

"We struggled in the run that game, and we needed another score," said receiver Ruvell Martin, who made a crucial 20-yard catch to convert a third-and-7 and get the offense into field-goal range. "We were only up six points and that wasn't enough for us. So Coach had no problem going out there and getting that score through the air. It was good. It's fun to be out there. Offensively, I love it."

Playing aggressively requires an offense to take the bad with the good sometimes. The fake field goal in the first quarter against Arizona failed miserably and kept the game scoreless at the time. The pass play on first-and-goal at Buffalo in the fourth quarter resulted in a tipped pass and an interception, preventing the Packers from tying the game.

But then there's also the fourth-and-1 at the Miami 40 with 9 minutes left and a three-point lead. A punt might have pinned the Dolphins deep in their own territory and put the defense in great shape to hold the lead.

Instead an end-around to Driver picked up 6 yards and a first down. Another run and three passes later and the Packers were in the end zone, up by 10 points.

{sportsad300}"If it doesn't work out, you just understand, hey, we tried, it was worth a try and you have to think about the times where it did work out," Martin said.

"That's kind of the job of the head coach, to know when to punt it, know when to hold onto it, know when to kick a field goal. Because offensively if it was up to us we'd go for it every fourth down. So we love that, we want to play."

McCarthy's aggressive approach will certainly be put to the test on Sunday against New England. The Patriots and their head coach, Bill Belichick, are notorious for varying their defenses on third down and disguising them to keep offenses unsettled and uncertain on the game's most critical plays.

But the offensive players don't believe for a minute that's going to make McCarthy change his ways. As he often has said himself, at this point in the season, you are who you are.

"I don't see our offense changing," left tackle Chad Clifton said. "We're going to run what we run and do what we do well.

"It's good for an offense to be aggressive. You take your shots when maybe some other teams wouldn't, or when the defense doesn't expect you to. But we love being aggressive in the play-calling, absolutely."

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