COMMENTARY | Acting as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers, Mike McCarthy performs a wide range of duties in earning a salary of approximately $5 million dollars every year.
While McCarthy likely fetches documents from the printer at work like the rest of us, that type of mundane task isn't representative of the heavy responsibilities that dictate such a stratospheric income.
Mike McCarthy is paid millions of dollars a year to make critical decisions like the one facing the Packers this Sunday -- which back-up quarterback to start in place of the injured Aaron Rodgers?
There's an outside chance that McCarthy made such an early call on this critical decision because he hopes the Vikings will subsequently prepare exclusively for only one quarterback. This would allow the Packers to insert Matt Flynn at the last minute and provide an element of sorely needed surprise.
If subterfuge wasn't the primary reason for this announcement, then Mike McCarthy should reconsider his decision and further evaluate both quarterbacks throughout this week of practice.
Make no mistake, this is a huge decision. The Packers are amidst a three-game losing streak and facing a division rival this weekend at home. At 5-5, the team is probably only a couple of losses away from missing the playoffs. And wallowing in a miserable season, the Minnesota Vikings would like nothing more than to kick the Packers while they are down.
Since losing Aaron Rodgers to a fractured collarbone, the Packers haven't won a single game. And they've looked pretty hapless in achieving those unflattering results.
After standing tall with the 33 year-old Seneca Wallace as their only back-up quarterback, the Packers appeared gut-punched in recent weeks by a void in team leadership and general disorientation on the field.
The quarterback situation in Green Bay got so out of control that the team was forced to promote Scott Tolzien from their practice squad and start him on the road against the New York Giants.
Despite giving his best effort, Tolzien looked at best pedestrian against the Giants while throwing for zero touchdowns and three interceptions. On the bright side, he appeared to move the ball at times and threw for 339 yards.
During the build-up toward the Giants game, the Packers worked out Matt Flynn and signed him to a one-year contract. Flynn had previously backed up Rodgers before leaving in free agency to pursue a starting role in the NFL.
If ever an apt metaphor, rock and a hard place is exactly the space between which the Packers find themselves living in regards to choosing a starter against the Vikings.
Flynn wasn't able to find a home as a starter or a back-up during his time away from the Packers and there are more than a few questions in Green Bay regarding his confidence and rust. On the other hand, Flynn has played successfully in other starts as a Packer, serving as a capable substitute against the Patriots and Lions during the 2010 and 2011 regular seasons.
Scott Tolzien has gotten reps and live action with the first team offense recently, but hasn't translated that limited experience into tangible success. Obviously, the young quarterback was thrown into the fire with very little preparation and should be at minimum commended for giving everything he's done.
Mike McCarthy makes the big bucks because he is supposed to evaluate a situation like this one and choose the course of action that will most likely produce a victory for the Packers. Without Rodgers to lean on, McCarthy may be earning a disproportionate share of his salary on Sunday if the Packers can somehow produce a win.
The choice appears to be between a player that has previously had success filling in for Rodgers versus a player that has thrown five interceptions in the last two games and has lived his life almost exclusively as a third-stringer in the NFL.
Given how important the game is this week, one has to wonder why McCarthy wouldn't take his time in fully analyzing and evaluating both players' performance in practice throughout the entire week. This strategy would also serve to keep the Vikings off-balance by forcing them to prepare for multiple quarterbacks.
The Packers' playoff chances hang in the balance over the next couple games and the starting quarterback selection in those contests will play a crucial role in deciding the results.
McCarthy is getting paid the big bucks to make tough decisions such as this. One would think that reconsideration and further evaluation of his two options would only help to ensure the best decision possible is made for Sunday.
Andrew Prochnow is a derivatives trader by day and a Green Bay Packers fan by night. He is a regular contributor at Yahoo Sports and The Bleacher Report. Tweet him @AndrewProchnow.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Green Bay Packers
- Aaron Rodgers
- Scott Tolzien
- Minnesota Vikings
- Matt Flynn