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Players-Only Meeting for the Packers Didn't Work, According to John Kuhn

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Players-Only Meeting for the Packers Didn't Work, According to John Kuhn

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.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (61) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Mel's picture

Or Rodgers leads by example... Pretty damn good example most of the time...

dawg's picture

I agree, I think its bullshit to question Rodgers, or Matthews leadership ability!

They've earned it! This is BS!

Randy's picture

In my opinion, the best leadership is demonstrated by superlative play. There's plenty of talk being done and not enough players making plays.

In that sense, when Rodgers and Matthews are healthy, they've been outstanding leaders.

Nerd's picture

I've made the case that Aaron at times is more worried about statistics than he should be.

dawg's picture

Lang giving a pretty darn good pre-game speeches, and get up in guys faces?
REALLY, I dont see that in him at all on the field of play! Lang? Really?

dawg's picture

Its one thing to hold the horn, its another to toot it!
And make it yours1

Evan's picture

Yeah, I think WAY too much is made of rah-rah "leadership."

Stroh's picture

I think you need both. Some of the strong silent leaders (Rodgers). Some of the rah rah, get in your face leaders (Lang and Sitton both I thing are like that). Some of the strong veteran presence leaders (Woodson and Pickett). I had hoped Matthews would turn into a strong leader on D, but I haven't seen that from him. He'll probably become one of the strong veteran leader types at some point and he might be a silent leader type now. Hard to know w/o being in the lockerroom.

Chad Toporski's picture

Agreed, Stroh. Having both types of leadership is important, because individual players will respond differently to each.

But I'm not sure why Rodgers' leadership is being questioned, because he's on the sidelines right now. He's not on the field and he's not running the snaps in practice. If anything, this period of time is an example of what happens WITHOUT Rodgers' leadership.

WKUPackFan's picture

Any so-called "analysis" will be based solely on pure speculation, not facts. Therefore, any "conclusions" drawn will actually be conjecture. Thus, it is not worth analyzing.

Brian Carriveau's picture

As long as Kuhn isn't lying, there are facts to work from. Namely there has been a players-only meeting, of which a loss followed. And that it's his opinion Rodgers or Matthews aren't among the most-vocal players on the team. A very worthy discussion can take place from there.

WKUPackFan's picture

The only apparent fact is that players meeting was held, sometime. Kuhn's answer regarding vocal players is not linked to that specific meeting, at least not in this article. That leaves the opinions of three former players, all of whom have their own agendas, so-called "analysts" opining on things they see from afar, and an apparent disagreement between a coach and a player. None of those qualify as facts to disparage AR's and CM's leadership qualities.

If Kuhn's comments about vocal players related specifically to the assumed players meeting there would be a basis for a worthy discussion, which is different from an analysis.

Al's picture

That wouldn't even qualify as circumstantial evidence.

dawg's picture

My guess Khun is gone, This ant TT style of play! See Jennings!
Dont make it public!

Tarynfor12's picture

Player meetings for the most part seem to derive a lackadaisical response which for the most part is the reason for having one in the first place....therefore is moot.

Stroh's picture

Tend to agree... I've not seen too many instances where players only meetings amount to much.

Bearmeat's picture

The '09 "come to Jesus" meeting worked well...

Rymetyme81's picture

but player-practices during the recent offseason lockout were crucial *snicker*

PackerPete's picture

It's great for someone to talk, but ultimately it comes down to what happens on the field. Anybody who ever played a team sport, there are always guys talking a whole lot and not being able to back it up with their play. There are always the silent types who do what they are supposed to do and play to their potential. I assume if a team player would be asked as to who they respect more, they go with the latter. Ultimately people who are "just talk" will never earn the full respect of their teammates in the long run.
I think we all see the full value of #12 for this team. CM3's value is up for debate. I think they played as well without him as they are playing right now with him, but that's just IMHO. Clearly the O does not play as well without #12 as they did with him. Is Aaron too obvious with his critical pointing out other players at times? Sure. Is he the best player on this team? Absolutely. So I don't know, unless this team shows that they can win a game without #12, nobody should care who the so-called leaders are.

Albert Lingerfeld's picture

Player only meetings as effective as trying to put a bandage on an arterial bleed. They seldom do much.
The real problem with player meetings is they are there to address the problem when in effect its problem/s plural and no one will point to what or who the problem is.
How do you solve X not being a good tackler, or Y getting beat on the line of scrimmage all the time in a meeting. Its like telling someone your very mad and if they do it again your going to get madder.
Its like telling yourself your going to run a 4.1 40 when your best time in your life is 4.5. You can't wish skills or speed to happen. Or tackling, or getting beat.

Nerd's picture

It's not a question of whether guys are good enough to play in the NFL.

It's a question of, are they willing to play for this DC. That's my opinion.

Guys who are out of position, who aren't in their gaps. Guys who don't cover the right guy. They're like Favre, when he didn't like the play that was called.

They gotta get on the same page, but maybe they don't believe in the DC anymore. Not willing to get with his program.

Al Fresco's picture

Its one thing to get together after a huge win and celebrate as a team, everything is right, everything is good with pats on all backs.
You can't have a meeting and do the opposite, harp about what is wrong. I mean realistically how many people will evaluate themselves as being not very good, not very productive. It will always be about whats wrong with the other guy/s, nothing is wrong about me.
In the end it does more damage then good.

Longshank's picture

Rodgers is without question their leader. I think most leaders on offense are the qb's and they lead by their play. Rodgers has done that and everyone respects him.

To me the guy that really pisses me off is Clay Matthews on defense. On defense usually your leader is a little bit more vocal and aggressive like a Kevin Greene was and a Ray Lewis. Matthews has been woefully inept in the leadership department and my opinion he could and should do more. He seems at times aloof and more concerned with how his hair looks on the screen than how his defense is getting shredded.

Matthews could be a great leader. His teammates I know would go to battle and die for him if he could JUST LEAD damnit but for some reason he doesn't. He reminds me so much of Robert the Bruce it isn't even funny. Please view the link below and tell me that isn't fucking Clay Matthews!!

RunAndHyde's picture

I love clay. My sons middle name proves that. But let's be completely honest ..clay is not extremely bright. When he was drafted he didn't even know where green bay was...I mean really? If u ever hear him talk its like listening to a high schooler or frat guy talk. I love the guy to death...but don't see him as the intellectual speach giving type. Totally my opinion though....

RC Packer Fan's picture

Clay isn't the only one that didn't know where Green Bay was. I have heard that from a lot of guys coming into the league...

Evan's picture

He very well might not be very bright, who knows, but not knowing where Green Bay is is hardly noteworthy.

I'd be shocked if 50% of people living outside of the Midwest knew where it was.

RunAndHyde's picture of you guys tell me he's smart and I will retract my statement. Can't do it can ya lol.

Evan's picture

Why would I tell you something I have no earthly way of knowing?

RunAndHyde's picture

Because im watching ESPN anticipating the news on some #12 wearing qb and talking about cm3s brain keeps me busy lol.

Evan's picture

Fair enough.

CMIII reportedly scored a 28 on his wonderlic test (average is 19-20). That's all I can tell you.

RunAndHyde's picture

Well color me shocked

Tarynfor12's picture

How can a football player in college who has hopes of playing in the NFL not know where the cities are that host the teams.

Evan's picture

Because it's Green Bay Wisconsin.

You really think most college football players could locate Green Bay on a map? Do you think they could locate Buffalo? Or, hell, St. Louis?

I bet most college students couldn't.


Stroh's picture

IIRC Rodgers sd he wouldn't have been ableto find GB on the map too

Calabasa's picture

Gotta say I've actually marveled at how well-spoken he is when interviewed...maybe it's Michele Tafoya


Archie's picture

To answer your question about whether CMIII is a leader you begin by going back to the SB win and reviewing the fumble by the Pittsburg RB. It was time. It was desperately needed. And he delivered. That's leadership in my book. Heck, it did it again on T-Giving. Did he not cause the first fumble in the game by Reggie Bush. He sacks, he causes fumbles, now and then he intercepts, he's a force against the run. And you question his leadership? I'd follow CMIII into the bowels of hell. AROD's style is his own but he has the eye of the tiger and consistently delivers. Both men are leaders by deed. The closest thing we have to a raving lunatic type leader may be Mike Daniels but even he keeps it down a bit. Sitton and Lang get the job done. So does Jordy and all the WRs. This team has good character. That is why what happened on T-Giving is unfathomable to me. The players were not ready to play. Especially on defense. Was it because MM threw them under the bus a few days earlier when he announced the defensive coaching staff and scheme were not the problem, the problem was the players not finishing plays. He might have lost the team with that one. What gets me is MM calls the worst plays in the RZ and then when AROD challenges him on it he goes nuclear. If I'm a player I'm having a hard time playing for him at this point. Raji is already on the beach, waiting for FAcy.

gmanB's picture

Agreed 100%. I'd like to add that the major flaw in #12's game is that he lacks game winning drives. Is it because of poor 4th quarter play calling or is it b/c of his leadership? If the Packer go into the 4th quarter down, who here thinks they are going to make a statement drive and takeover the game?

Longshanks's picture

Archie, your damn right I am questioning Clay Matthews leadership. I do recall the super bowl and if you might recall it was a real leader Kevin Greene who demanded Matthews start to make some fucking plays out there and he did. A leader doesn't need to be told to make a play. Now at that time he was young only in his second season so nobody was expecting him to take a leadership role. He had veteran leaders like Woodson, Nick Collins, Cullen Jenkins etc.

My point is he's now the older guy of the defense yet he's like this silent player on defense. Oh occassionally when he actually plays he'll make a play and toss his hair or make a muscle but what I want to see from him FUCKING SOON!! is him out there yelling at M.D. Jennings, A.J. Hawk etc when they fuck up or miss a tackle.

He's old enough now, he's respected and he's their best defensive player out there. He's also one of the highest paid players now. With that comes added responsibilities and being a leader on defense is just common sense and the next phase in his career. Now maybe he does more than we think but as we all saw with Graham Harrel when he would alleged "smile" after fucking up, perception is reality to fans and right now Clay Matthews doesn't appear to be willing to take on that role. It sucks when A.J. Hawk is thought of more as a leader than Matthews. Right now with Dom up in his little skybox there just doesn't seem to be alot of accountability on the sidelines for fucking up.


Stroh's picture

I agree. Matthews being a playmaker doesn't mean he's a leader. It gives him a platform to lead but doesn't make him a leader. Sometimes think he worries about his commercial too much.He should be a more vocal lead imo.

dawg's picture

Right, Lack of leadership on both sides!!

Stroh's picture

On D yes. Not the case on offense.

billy's picture

friggin stupid people....these are grown men and lead by example....the rest of the team should be on their hands and knees begging the doc's to allow Arod to play...maybe save a few of them their jobs...isnt the coach supposed to be the main leader if anyone is?? Hey big Mike, get your face out of those stupid play cards and actually watch the game....and Capers...way up there in the genius booth...i really dont hear much support coming from the team for him....a few lip-service type quotes thats about it....what do ya want, an Incognito type shit head screaming at people in the locker room...

Nerd's Phone's picture

Yikes. This could be ugly.

badaxed's picture

"Without bad times there can't be any good times. If it's always great...then it isn't great at all."

Nerd's picture

I'd take it.

4thand 1's picture

1st off, I want to apologize for being a little edgy lately. A good friend of ours lost their 19 year old daughter a week ago to a car accident coming home for the holidays. A really great kid with everything going for her. Some of the posts rubbed me the wrong way. I'm still going argue the point that the Packers aren't what a lot of people say they are. If anything it would have been nice to keep Woodson at the right price.

cLowNEY42's picture

Sorry to hear this.
Prayers for the family.

WKUPackFan's picture

Very sorry to hear that 4THAND 1. What a tragedy.

Calabasa's picture


4thand 1's picture

Goodbye McMillan

razor's picture

Matthews is a lead by example guy. Rodgers will point out mistakes. This is a big thing that this team lacks - strong player leadership.

I sat by Rodgers at a lunch last year. He seems to believe that 'we are all pros and don't need intensity or yelling to get our jobs done.'

For the good of the team Rodgers needs to show more leadership and challenge the team to play at the highest level. He may not think it is necessary or that it's not his responsibility, but the team needs strong leadership and if he steps up and Matthews steps up the team will be better.

4thand 1's picture

He did throw a clipboard

RunAndHyde's picture

Oh yeah?.Well I stayed @ a holiday inn express last nite!

gmanB's picture

"Oh yeah?.Well I stayed @ a holiday inn express last nite!"

This made me laugh

dawg's picture

I just hope TT and MM can hold this ship together!

Calabasa's picture

Good news that ARod isn't cleared, in my book (other than the poor guy can't earn his xx million game check) Let's plumb the depths and see who's been hiding under those rocks!

If you take the Packers for negative ff points, your favorite team may still win you that trophy from Pond's Sport Shop!

(Quiz: where was Pond's?)

Ryan's picture

College Ave in Appleton.

sam's picture

Player only meetings don't fix stupid and we've got a lot of stupid in our coverages at the moment. Need more effort in run D as well...

dawg's picture

1973 just called McCarthy, and it wants its old shitty team back!
Mike, answer the phone! PLEASE!

mark's picture

Brian, very respectfully, I don't understand this post at all. You seem to be equating leadership with stats and contracts, which doesn't make sense to me. As though Rodgers and Matthews somehow *should* be among the team's most vocal. Why is that? Certainly, on the field, guys like Rodgers and Matthews possess physical gifts others will never have. But in the locker room they're all just men. And in that context, a guy like Mike Daniels might be more of a leader than Rodgers. And I think that's fine. I'm not saying Rodgers should be quiet, or in the background--nor do I think he is. Nor do I think this team thinks he is.

And so to suggest leadership, or lack of, is this team's problem? You lose me. The problem is painfully obvious, I think. Finley, Cobb, Bulaga, Rodgers, Matthews, Heyward...on and on, this team has been decimated. I think we have a habit in Green Bay of expecting greatness, which is actually a fantastic thing for an organization. But a team starting Bahktiari, Tolzien, Quarless, Newhouse, Palmer and Mulumba--as well as all those guys have played at points--would go 0-5-1 in a lot of uniforms.

So of course these guys want to turn it around and of course they expect to turn it around. I'm right there with them. I absolutely expect a win against Atlanta this week and I still think we have a shot at the playoffs. It won't be easy, but I believe in these guys.

But let's not grasp for straws about what the problems or challenges have been this year. Healthy, this was once a 5-2 football team, rolling, 1st in the division.

Re Rodgers, I think there's no way he's not under center on Sunday. He wants to be out there, and he will be out there, in some pain I'm sure--for his teammates. Leadership.

morton's picture

Packers are totally out of shape. Couldn't play 60 min to save their life. Play calling doesn't seem too great either. Let rogers call the whole game.

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