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Packers adjusting to being 'under the microscope'

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Packers adjusting to being 'under the microscope'

It's not often that the Green Bay Packers are at the epicenter of the buzz circulating around the NFL world.

But on the fringes of relieving Mike McCarthy of his head coaching duties after a disappointing loss on Sunday, they're under the microscope -- both within the organization and when it comes to the national media -- now more than ever.

"There's a little feel of kind of training camp, almost," said quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Wednesday. He spoke to the media after practice, as he typically does. The only difference was it came after the first practice under interim head coach, Joe Philbin, essentially promoted from his offensive coordinator post in the wake of McCarthy's firing.

"Mike's not here. There's new voices, I think everybody's kind of realizing that we're all under the microscope even more. Who knows what the changes are going to be after the season?"

If the Packers weren't under a watchful eye because of the shockwaves surrounding the coaching change, they certainly should be for drastically underperforming in 2018.

Rodgers, who turned 35 this past week, has led the NFL in throwaways and missed textbook throws that one would normally expect a two-time MVP quarterback to make. His 21 touchdowns are his fewest through his first 12 games since taking over as the Packers' starting quarterback in 2008.

"There's the feeling that more eyes are on all of us, whether Mark [Murphy] or Brian [Gutekunst] or scouts," Rodgers said. "So I feel like the energy was good today. Unfortunately, the urgency that you need early in the season, we kind of had out in practice today."

According to Philbin, the Packers had their highest attendance for an optional lifting session on Tuesday. The sense of urgency to not so much make the playoffs but finish the season on a strong note is distinct; for the Philbin's sake as well as the team's confidence.

"It’s hard to carry momentum over from year to year, but there is a lot of pride in the performance. I think doing things the right way and playing for Joe and giving him the best opportunity moving forward is important to a lot of us.

"2006, we were 4-8 and finished out the season winning out the last four. We felt good about ourselves the whole offseason and moving into training camp, and went 13-3 the next season and obviously, we were one play away from the Super Bowl."

The Packers have four remaining games -- games that will determine their draft position come April more so than it will a potential playoff seeding, which is far and away the position not many expected the Packers to be in by December.


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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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (30) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Bearmeat's picture

It's obvious that things got waaaaay too comfortable under TT and MM - things like "Highest percentage of attendance at the optional lifting session."

REALLY? That tells me a lot there. MM held on 3 seasons too long and TT 2 seasons too long.

We should have cleaned house in 2015.

Since '61's picture

Agreed. Or after 2016 at the latest. But then again who knew that Barr's hit on Rodgers was going to take the whole thing down. But like any house of cards when it falls it falls fast. Thanks, Since '61

HankScorpio's picture

That failure lies squarely at Mark Murphy's feet. His response to that failure is to take a more hands-on approach. If he was just asleep at the switch, waking up might prove helpful.

Given that his first instinct to correct keeping TT too long was to hire Russ Ball to fill TT's role, I have my doubts about Murphy. That he is embellishing his time with the NFLPA and as a college AD to be "a lifetime spent in football" does nothing to make the outlook more rosy in my eyes. DeMaurice Smith is not qualified to run a NFL team and neither does running a college athletic department equate to running a NFL team, at least in my book.

Bearmeat's picture

Agreed 100%. Murphy is acting like a little Al Davis or Jerry Jones. How did that work out for those franchises?

Look at the Steelers - How involved are the Rooneys in football decisions? Not. They let their GM (Colbert) do his job. Look at Robert Kraft... same. Now compare that to the owners in MIN, IND, NYJ, BUF, CLE... all waaaaay too involved in football.

I have a very bad feeling that Murphy's time is going to end poorly.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"I have a very bad feeling that Murphy's time is going to end poorly."

Don't bet on it. Murphy has almost 20 years of experience hiring coaches as AD at Northwestern and Colgate. That's Dozens of coaches, including highly successful football coaches Dick Biddle and Pat Fitzgerald.

Gutekunst has Jack Shit for experience hiring coaches.

Murphy is doing the right thing.

Packers0808's picture

Highest % ever tells me guys are panicking about next year and their jobs!

Bearmeat's picture

Right. Which raises the question - why so suddenly? Why did they not feel that way 2 years ago? Last year? 5 years ago?

Because things had gotten too comfortable with TT and MM in charge.

splitpea1's picture

The players probably just wanted to congregate and discuss what went down. I don't read too much into any optional sessions. They should be a little more enthused for the next game, though; after last Sunday's dud, I would expect a strong effort.

I would also add that most organizations would not fire their coach after a string of playoff appearances regardless of the circumstances. So the timing of this change makes sense from the management's perspective.

Since '61's picture

As the Packers play these 4 glorified pre-season games they will be looking to see who their keepers are or at least their most likely keepers.

The problem is that the Packers play only one team that has anything to play for and that's the Bears on the road. The Packers 3 other opponents are in the same boat with them, nothing to play for but looking to see who will be on their roster next season.

Hopefully our players will want to put some good games on tape especially players like Cobb and CM3 who will likely be looking for new places to play next season. If I'm the Packers I would be looking to shut down Rodgers at some point. There is no reason to continue to expose the franchise to unnecessary injuries.

No need to bring Daniels back either. Let M. Adams play and see if he brings anything for the future. Obviously not a very exciting way to end the season but here we are. It is going to seem like 4 long months until baseball. Thanks, Since '61

Chuck Velek's picture

No worries on Daniels he's on IR

Razer's picture

Pretty classy that the Packers let MM address the team one last time yesterday. Organizations usually don't do that but it says a lot about the people involved. Glad he was given that opportunity. Would have loved to hear the speech and the responses.

Good Luck Mike.

GVPacker's picture

Is there anybody out there who thinks Joe Philbin will be named the The Packers New Head Coach on Jan1st?

GVPacker's picture

Is there anybody out there who thinks Joe Philbin will be named the The Packers New Head Coach on Jan1st?

jeremyjjbrown's picture


Lare's picture

That will depend on how the team plays the rest of this season. That doesn't mean they need to win every game, but he'll be successful if he can just get them to stop beating themselves.

I've actually been impressed with his press conferences lately. He's in a tough situation seeing as how MM is a friend of his, but he's answered every question and been honest with the media, fans and team.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

"2006, we were 4-8 and finished out the season winning out the last four. "

Is that a good thing?

They could have drafted one of:
Joe Thomas
Gaines Adams
Levi Brown
LaRon Landry
Jamaal Anderson
Ted Ginn Jr.
Patrick Willis
Marshawn Lynch
Adam Carriker
Darrelle Revis
Lawrence Timmons

And Ted Thompson drafted Justin Harrell

Yeah they finished 8-8! Good Job!

Oh wait, what about the second round?
Alan Branch
Paul Posluszny
Kevin Kolb
Sidney Rice
Zach Miller
Drew Stanton
LaMarr Woodley

Instead TT traded down for Brandon Jackson. I wonder how much more valuable the 37th pick would have been?

Lare's picture

One good thing about living in the past, you always know how things are going to work out.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I guess nothing that actually happened is worth learning from then.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Jeremy, how would you like it if you found out your girlfriend or wife was sitting in some therapist's office with a list of all the men that she could have and should have gone out with but she regretfully chose you and is now blaming you for everything bad in her life.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I'd be happy she's not sitting in a hot tub with them.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

IDK, what's that like? Sounds shitty.

We don't need to cry for Justin Harrell BTW. He got paid almost 8 million dollars in 4 years.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Justin Harrell would have been an all pro. (If healthy) TT rolled the dice and that unfortunate incident with his back happened while lifting those weights. I don't blame Ted for Justin's health problems. Rock Gullickson was in charge of the weightlifting room at that time. I don't know why he wasn't spotted or what the hell happened. As Boston says, Don't Look Back.

John30856's picture

the group of second guessers strikes again

Lare's picture

...and again

John30856's picture

the group of second guessers strikes again

Lare's picture

...and again

Turophile's picture

I have a little laugh to myself when i read things like "it's all Mark Murphy's fault", or "it's all TT's doing".

Things simply are not that simple.

Part of the fault (for the teams struggles) is McCarthy's, as he seemed to be losing control of the weekly gameplanning to Rodgers, while also taking the heat because HE is the head coach and the way the team is playing is ultimately on his shoulders. We have all seen his stubborn streak where he keeps his coaches when everyone else can see he needed to let a couple of them go (Moss, Capers, Zook). Same applies to his gameplanning which never evolved enough to keep pace with the modern NFL..

Murphy takes some blame for being slow to react to a lack of communication between TT and McCarthy. Also, some fans do not like the present power structure he created, especially in not giving Gutekunst the power to hire and fire a head coach. In addition, it appears he was behind having Russ Ball as GM when others within the organisation did not want that to happen.

TT takes some blame for passing too much of the decision making process to Russ Ball (you'd think by what I'm saying I don't like Russ, but you'd be wrong). He had some poor drafts (though his last draft but one - 2016 - looks good). He also did too little in veteran FA. He did hit on some good veteran picks, but (imo) he needed to do just a bit more.

Although hard to prove, it also looks like Rodgers takes some blame for the playcalling (his), he routinely takes too long to get the ball snapped, overlooks checkdown receivers for the long ball, and simply is not playing like a $30m elite QB. Part of the disconnect this season between Rodgers and McCarthy, is down to him.

Perhaps the least culpable guy was Gutekunst, who has only been GM this year and seems to have done a fine job in the short time he has been in the GM chair. Maybe some flak comes down on him, but I don't know of anything specific.

flackcatcher's picture

I think that is a fair assessment of the situation in Packerland. At this point we're nothing more than than the audience watching this play out. As long as this does not turn into some version of Jeryland north I think things will work out. (Or as my CSM use to say 'let us pray that this crap fest misses us this time'.)

flackcatcher's picture

EDIT: ...jerryland north..... (I need more sleep)

PatrickGB's picture

Assess, learn and move on.

“Shoulda coulda woulda” doesn’t change the past. But learning and adjustments can change the future.

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