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Article:McCarthy's Mystery Brew Makes Packers' Playoff Offense

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Who is going to be the playmaker this time? Should defenses be concerned about the infantry of not-famous receivers lined up to split the field, or that preppy-looking guy Grant in the backfield?

These are questions Packers' opponents had to ask themselves this season.

Is the next play premeditated for a lovely and much-needed first down, or is it an experiment in future offensive success about to take place at the expense of our forward progress?

That is the question Packers' fans have asked themselves this regular season.

Who are we and who should we be?

Those are the questions Brett Favre seemed to be asking himself much of the season as he saw his team do spectacular things he never expected.

As was evident in press conferences, Favre seemed puzzled because he couldn't place his finger on exactly where the Packers' strategy and identity rested. This puzzlement stemmed from Mike McCarthy's willingness to use each regular season contests as a means to piece together a slow-growing offensive identity - a strategy for which Packers' fans must be thankful.

First of all, how does a young team with so many players so seemingly-close in talent define its starters?

Slowly and patiently.

McCarthy auditioned for his key players every week as if they were trying out for high school varsity. And much of the season was an experiment in different offensive approaches to the game.

Do you remember Favre's unsuccessful bombs to start the Dallas game? Remember the trick plays? Remember those stubborn, unsuccessful run-after-run drives when Favre was, just a second ago, shredding the field with his passing? The reason McCarthy was able to experiment with strategy during regular season games (which left fans frustrated through a few regular-seaon nailbiters) was his team's raw talent and rare depth. McCarthy mined his team until finding that depth that now defines the Packers' current offensive smorgasbord.

But he has also shown a knack for connecting with players to rope discipline and control around his bucks, both young and old. Jones, Jennings, Favre, Lee, Robinson, Martin, Driver, Grant, Franks etc. - they have all ended up being a part of the Packers' community offense. Egos don't run in this plan. Running, passing, or a weird, Favre/McCarthy-driven combination of both and more all drive the Packers' current offense.

A chameleon with the control of its changing colors - that's what the Packers' offensive is right now. It has proven a tough animal for defensive coordinators to get their hands around.


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