Complacency, unwavering lack of accountability plagued Packers in 2018

-- So much for accountability.

When the Green Bay Packers swapped defensive coordinators last year and made the change from Dom Capers to Mike Pettine, the belief was that a newfound sense of accountability would sweep through the team's locker room and bring in a whole new framework.

That may have just applied to the defensive side of the ball, because if David Bakhtiari's appearance on ESPN's "Wilde and Tausch" on Wednesday meant anything, complacency was still a looming factor in the Packers' chemistry last season.

"The one thing that always rubbed me the wrong way was, I guess it parallels with complacency, is accountability," Bakhtiari said. "For me, the thing that really grinded my gears was guys being late to the plane. No one holding other guys accountable or even fining them for being late."

The Packers limped through the season en route to a 6-9-1 record with Aaron Rodgers as their starting quarterback for all 16 games -- he was knocked out of the season finale against the Detroit Lions with a concussion and didn't close out the year healthy.

Amidst all of their hardships, they parted ways with Mike McCarthy after 13 seasons as their head coach. From Dec. 2 and on, offensive coordinator Joe Philbin filled in as the interim head coach for the final four games; they went 2-2 in that stretch.

Moving forward under a new regime with McCarthy's successor in Matt LaFleur was significant in doing away with any signs of complacency under the previous operation. It's also why LaFleur opted to stray away from a number of McCarthy's former assistants, giving him the common luxury of constructing his own coaching staff.

"There needs to be that fear of guys across the board that, 'Hey, your job is consistently judged and based and you have to perform.'" Bakhtiari said. Despite the renovation made in the Packers' front office last offseason, there were still fractions of the roster that unknowingly worked against their visions for 2018.

Running back Ty Montgomery committed insubordination in a game against the Los Angeles Rams, choosing to return a kickoff out of his own end zone and proceeding to fumble it back to the opposing team. Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was consistently outspoken and the Packers chose to get some form of draft capital for him while they can, trading him at the trade deadline.

Changes were made mid-season, which, in year's past, likely wouldn't have been the case. Both Montgomery and Clinton-Dix were set to be free agents at the end of the season, and instead, general manager Brian Gutekunst managed to flip them for value.

They were small transactions in the bigger picture, but a sign that the Packers are certainly capable of recognizing their own complacency.

"You're not going to hold one guy accountable to one situation. It'll still trickle in through multiple avenues. That's one thing that I noticed that I wasn't a fan of at all.

"That's one thing that gets me when I think of complacency -- it also goes with holding people accountable."

Bakhtiari was a First-team All-Pro selection for the first time in his career in 2018. He had been Second-team All-Pro each of the previous two seasons. Meanwhile, his only Pro Bowl selection was in 2016 when he was voted in as an alternate. He declined to play as an alternate in this year's Pro Bowl.

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Zachary Jacobson is a staff writer/reporter for Cheesehead TV. He's the voice of The Leap on iTunes and can be heard on The Scoop KLGR 1490 AM every Saturday morning. He's also a contributor on the Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter via @ZachAJacobson or contacted through email at [email protected].

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Comments (24)

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Lare's picture

January 30, 2019 at 03:14 pm

And if the stories I heard were true, the complacency started at the top with McCarthy missing meetings, skipping game planning sessions, etc. Tough to hold others accountable if you're not holding yourself to that same standard. At any rate, it's over now and people have, and are being held accountable.

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Rak47's picture

January 30, 2019 at 07:08 pm

Sounds to me like McCarthy lost the respect of his veteran players. I wonder why Murphy was not aware of this earlier. I mean, didn't he change the entire chain of command structure so that communication lapses didn't happen?

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CoachJV's picture

January 30, 2019 at 07:47 pm

I think Uncle Ted was the barrier that prevented Murphy from seeing it. Murphy did change the command structure, but just this past season, so he was actually able to identify it and make the decisions to fire some people and trade some away.

There were more flies in this ointment than we know. I hope LaF will hit the diva guys in the pocketbook. And that includes Arod if he's guilty of it.

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carlos's picture

January 31, 2019 at 08:04 am

I live in a tourist town on Lake Superior and talked to a guy who tried out for the Packers. I asked him what coach McCarthy was like. He said he didn’t ever talk to him once. Now, I realize there’s 90 some guys at a time in camp with them coming and going. I just found his comments interesting. It’s just a big business. I would hope our new coach will do what he says, despite how difficult, and tries to get to know his players.

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Qoojo's picture

January 31, 2019 at 09:10 am

I don't see the problem with that. Position coaches should be able to evaluate tryout talent, then everything is on tape from tryout. HC has a lot of things to do.

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OldPacker's picture

January 30, 2019 at 03:18 pm

The problem has been years in the making ..After the SB win ..MM became a different guy ..some people do well after a huge success other's become stubborn , arrogant and small... MM became the later.. Did you all know that MM attended his 1st Defensive meeting the preseason he declared he would no longer call plays ..can you imagine admitting to such a thing ..just shows you the mindset of someone who doesn't get it !! For years I've been ranting negatively about MM ..and would get slammed .. .. wondering how the MM supporters feel now that the onion is being pealed back!

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stockholder's picture

January 30, 2019 at 04:20 pm

MM is no longer here to defend himself. The insubordination was obvious. On the field, and off I'm sure. Players still get suspended for their behavior regardless. Refs don't get fired. Coaches do. We all have choices to make. If a player can't act responsible and be a man. He doesn't deserve respect. MM did hand out discipline. Remember the Rb that ate his way off the team? Coach LeFleur hasn't won anything yet. He is the Coach and has the right to have his own people. I'm sure the terms and conditions of his hire are in play. Let's not read to much into this. The past is the past. Move forward it's just hear Say!

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Ezra's Hotdog's picture

January 30, 2019 at 08:51 pm

It seemed success may have changed him. I thought when he publicly stated; "I am a highly successful coach" spoke volumes about his arrogance.

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Old School's picture

January 31, 2019 at 06:39 pm

I think if you're an NFL coach who's won a Super Bowl and a bunch of regular season and playoff games for the greatest franchise in the league, you are, in fact, a highly successful coach.

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Demon's picture

January 30, 2019 at 09:09 pm

You and me both. MM was a fraud who benefeited from having a great qb and a pretty good team. If these things were true is it any wonder his team often looked lost? Disgusting!

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The TKstinator's picture

January 31, 2019 at 09:00 pm

Is there really a coach somewhere who’s wildly successful with a crappy team? Chicken and egg?

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zoellner25's picture

January 30, 2019 at 03:54 pm

Ummm, based on some film of Jimmy Graham I've seen, his effort would be at the top of my you-know-what list

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Bearmeat's picture

January 30, 2019 at 05:53 pm

Holy Hell this is damning. I really want Gute to completely clean house.

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cuervo's picture

January 31, 2019 at 06:20 am

Ummmmmm....if you haven't been watching, he has.

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ricky's picture

January 30, 2019 at 06:34 pm

So, who is responsible for complacency? The players? They are professionals and should be self motivated. The coaches? They should hold players accountable and be willing to discipline players who consistently don't follow the rules. The GM? Thompson is gone, but saw all this happening, but did nothing. Now, players are gone, and MM and TT have been replaced. But what about MArk Murphy? He was effectively the team's CEO, and did nothing- and has actually been given more power. So, who is responsible for complacency? Everyone but Murphy, apparently.

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Demon's picture

January 30, 2019 at 09:15 pm

I would guess thst TT stopped any comunication with Murphy in his office. Thats where the "silos" came from. After TT was fired MM was able to get in Murphys ear. Basically Big Mike threw uncle Ted under the bus.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

January 31, 2019 at 07:43 am

Okay then with everyone's 'assumptions' then answer me this. If what everyone assumes is accurate why did Murphy keep TT on as a paid consultant? Is he still on the payroll? And why then on God's green earth will TT and MM get sheparded into the Packers Hall of Fame?

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HankScorpio's picture

January 31, 2019 at 09:07 am

I think it is most likely that TT was given a golden parachute as a reward for delivering a Lombardi. It's not uncommon in any business or industry to politely push someone out the door with a nice severance package. It doesn't mean he is actually doing anything anymore. If they still valued his contribution, they would not have pushed him out the door. It's just a recognition of past contribution to the organization. Ron Wolf got one, too. So did Bob Harlan.

No matter what he became at the end, once upon a time TT was a great GM. Both he and MM belong in the Packer Hall of Fame, even if the end was rather ugly for both of them. It was an ugly ending for Brett Favre too. There may be some out there that think Favre's ugly ending means the organization should sever all ties with him but I imagine it is a tiny number.

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fastmoving's picture

January 31, 2019 at 01:11 am

MM is a great CEO and did a lot of good stuff of course.
But funny post anyway. and do you know what means "hold accountable"??? its a phrase for nothing...... Just an empty sentence if you dont know what to say. something for the hillbilly chrowd to be pleased....

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The TKstinator's picture

January 31, 2019 at 07:17 am

Well, golly...where I used to work we had “accountable payable” and “accountable receivable”, and the business office ran real smooth-like, so, if GB is doing the same, I reckon that there is a step in the right direction. Now if y’all will excuse me, I’m a-gonna take me a dip in the see-ment pond!

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LeotisHarris's picture

January 31, 2019 at 09:54 am

I knowed you was part of the hillbilly chrowd, TK. Always braggin on your cipherin' and goez-in-tas after you done grad-gee-ated 6th grade!

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Tundraboy's picture

January 31, 2019 at 02:40 pm

Lol. Priceless.

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Packer Fan's picture

January 31, 2019 at 07:51 am

We are seeing what happened. All those things about MM and TT are coming out and showing that MM should have been fired. And a cleaning of the coaching ranks too. I applaud BG for letting Dix and Montgomery go during the season. But now, everything has to be reassessed. Will MLF use the TE's better. Will the plays be helpful to get the WR's open. The evidence will start to come out on which players are kept. What free agents they choose and who they draft. On to next season.

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Minniman's picture

January 31, 2019 at 12:42 pm

I would be curious to know just who the offenders were.

They clearly must have been either senior players or personnel if he didn't feel qualified to speak up.

I hope now that with his status in the team clearly ascending that he'd feel qualified to speak up on matters of professionalism........ although I guess he was spooked when TJ Lang got shipped at the end of the season that he started speaking up (and he was a Pro Bowler at the time - I think)

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