I found a few comments from fullback John Kuhn last night to be enlightening, made on his weekly Packers talk show Clubhouse Live that airs on Mondays during the season.
Asked a question from a viewer about what the team was doing to right the ship, so to speak, Kuhn responded, "We've been down the player-only meetings already this year. That one didn't work, so we'll have to throw that one out the door."
In the midst of a five-game winless streak, the Packers have gone from division leaders to being on the outside of the playoffs looking in, going from 5-2 to 5-6-1.
Kuhn didn't indicate when the players-only meeting took place, but it's probably safe to assume it took place at some point over the course of the past month, sometime after the loss to the Bears in Week 9 and before the loss to the Lions in Week 13.
Still mathematically alive for a playoff spot, there's still time for the Packers to turn their season around, but time is running out. Anything less than a four-game winning streak to end the season will probably have the team sitting at home for the playoffs, and even then, they need help. The Lions need to lose at least twice if the Packers are going to win the NFC North division.
Kuhn was also asked about the most-vocal players on the team, and it was interesting to hear that neither of the team's highest-profile players––quarterback Aaron Rodgers and linebacker Clay Matthews––were included in his answer:
I would say probably a toss-up between T.J. Lang and Randall Cobb. When Randall's out there playing, he plays with a lot of passion. He lets guys know when they're not playing up to his and our Green Bay Packers standards. And T.J.'s pretty much the same way too. He's a great guy to give a pre-game speech, to give a sideline talk, to get up in some guys' faces and to let them know, 'Hey, we need to turn it on now.'
Leadership takes many forms, and it doesn't always need to be vocal. But it's an interesting debate whether Rodgers and Matthews should be included on the most-vocal players on the team.
After offseason extensions made them the highest-paid players on team, as well as the highest-paid quarterback and linebacker in professional football, should they be more vocal?
A discussion can be framed in many ways. Is there a lack of leadership from Rodgers and Matthews? Is there a lack of respect for Rodgers, as insinuated by Greg Jennings, Donald Driver and Shannon Sharpe in interviews.
Does Rodgers lead in the wrong way? Analysts have been critical of how he points out mistakes of his teammates while on the field in season's past.
There was also the instance of the disagreement between Rodgers and McCarthy on the sideline during Week 3 in a loss to the Bengals at Cincinnati.
And perhaps it was all just an oversight on Kuhn's part. Maybe it's just assumed Rodgers is a vocal leader, just not the brash, rah-rah type like Lang. And maybe he's speaking only for the offense, unintentionally leaving Matthews out.
Any way it's construed, it's worth analyzing, especially for a team that's bottoming out, following a 30-point loss in embarrassing fashion on national television.