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SI does deep dive on "How it all went wrong" for the Packers

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SI does deep dive on "How it all went wrong" for the Packers

This is a long read that is well worth your time. 

Money quote:

McCarthy, like Rodgers, is an alpha male. When people familiar with the two were asked to describe their relationship, most say it is defined by tension. Until this year, it was a healthy tension that lifted both quarterback and coach. In 2018, something has been different.

McCarthy is the play caller, but because Rodgers is so intelligent and such a good improvisational player, the quarterback has the green light to change plays on the field as he see fit. He does, so often that it can be hard for McCarthy to get into a rhythm as the play caller. McCarthy might call the same play three times in a game, without the play actually being run as he called it. And if McCarthy calls a play that Rodgers doesn’t like early in the game, that can sour the mood for the rest of the game. Several sources familiar with the inner workings of the organization say that it devolved into a competition over who can call the better play, and both want the credit when things go right.

Be sure to read the whole thing. It's well worth your time.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (116) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

D.D. Driver's picture

Another must read regarding McCarthy's obsession with analytics and shot plays and Rodger's stubborn refusal to take what the defense offers:

PackerAaron's picture

DDD! Haven't seen you in a minute. Hope you're well.

D.D. Driver's picture

I'm doing great and I'm glad your back at CHTV. No offense to any of the other excellent writers, but it just wasn't the same in your absence.

The TKstinator's picture

12’s body language in the photo above, anyone?


Tundraboy's picture

Was that McCarthy's body double behind him by the way?

dobber's picture

The Packers have been coached by his stunt double!!!

Duke Divine's picture

How it all went wrong? Here’s a time saving synopsis.

1. Stubborn head coach unwilling to exploit other team’s weaknesses while only running his system no matter the personnel at his disposal or opponent he is faced with.

2. Entitled, un-coachable superstar QB who’s ego is allergic to the check down and allergic to taking what the defense gives him.

Just as the defense gets fixed the dysfunctional dynamic in the offense comes to a head while special teams remains a decade old liability.

Result: Theeeeeeey suck!

Lare's picture

Pretty much says it all.

stockholder's picture

Easy Fix. Stop the green Light Arron Rodgers has. The OL and Rodgers holding the ball to long; [ its not going to matter if he checks down or not.} Special teams is more about field position. Draft a Rb that can return kicks. Results: Arrons Stinking up the place. There are a lot of stories on Rodgers: Views of His teammates, Family, and his love life. MM doesn't have the baggage Arron Rodgers has.

Swisch's picture

If #2 is correct, then that may be the difference between Rodgers and Brady in terms of championships and all-time status (and why Bart Starr is still the greatest quarterback in Packers history).
Being a great QB seems a rare combination of confidence and humility, leadership and teamwork, daring and discipline.
If Rodgers is too egotistical or bored or whatever to take what the defense gives him, including short passes that are effective but unspectacular throws, then we're in for long and painful seasons as fans (with great plays here and there, but sputtering results on offense, such as two games in a row with only three points in the second half).
The good news is that Rodgers still has time to turn things around by changing from within.
The irony is that taking the little things opens up the big things -- within a game, within a season, within a career. A measure of self-sacrifice can open up an abundance of wonderful rewards.

edp1959's picture

Defense gets fixed, are you serious? Offense has to score at least 30 almost every game to win and you say defense is fixed. But that is ARod’s fault too, everything else is.

Swisch's picture

The defense seems pretty good this year, especially considering injuries. If the offense was on the field more, the defense would be even better. I mostly enjoy our defense, which is spirited; while it's the offense that seems to be driving people crazy with sluggishness.
I mean, only one field goal in the second half against the Vikes, and only one in the second half against the Seahawks. That's enough to make the calmest of fans frustrated, and others of us frazzled.
Also, these days 30 points in a game doesn't seem like all that much.

Lare's picture

The Packers defense is averaging 24.3 points per game, which is 16th in the NFL right now. Meanwhile the Packers offense is averaging 24 points per game right now, which is 17th in the NFL.

The TKstinator's picture

Amazing the record isn’t all ties.

Since '61's picture

Then we would be undefeated!!! Thanks, Since '61

dobber's picture

So the Packers' goal should have been 1-0-15?

The TKstinator's picture

Undefeated can take many forms.

Gort's picture

At least part is 12's fault. If he throws / completes the checkdowns and moves the chains, then our defense (and their offense) stays off the field. That keeps our drives going, possibly more points for us, and possibly less points for the other guys. The 2018 defense IS much improved.

pooch's picture

If offense does not 5 3 and outs in second half oppent not scoring as much

Duke Divine's picture

Watched CHTVL amd Corey has a point about the gaurd play killing them with bell and taylor collapsing pockets and Rodgers has his eyes down at the pressure alot instead of down the field.

Tundraboy's picture

A+ Synopsis.

ShanghaiKid's picture

If true, which no will ever know how true or accurate these sources are. Shows a pretty unfathomable level of dysfunction. Sounds like Gute has some house clean up work from the previous regime.

D.D. Driver's picture

Actually, its sounds like he lacks the actual authority to fix things, let's hope Murphy does the right thing and takes three giant steps back.

Lare's picture

It'll be interesting to see if Murphy does what's best for the team, or what's best for himself. Right now, pretty much every problem the Packers have comes back to him.

Tundraboy's picture

Yes it does. And if the fan base turns on him...

Minniman's picture

I'd argue that it's executing according to the "pathway" for worst case scenario that attempts to make changes in as orderly a fashion as possible and give key stakeholders appropriate time for re calibration.

Last year - Drafting and recruitment was off the reservation and Defense was dysfunctional. RESULT: GM and DC moved on. HC and QB retained as results didn't dictate a full house clearing.

This year - Visible player dissent. QB gets historic extension. RESULT: Dissenting players shipped out. Likely HC and OC replacement (TBA). Corporate structure aligned to protect GM and DC

Next year - Rodgers either evolves and comes back onto the reservation or he gets packaged up and shipped out.... as its his turn on the hot-seat then

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

"I'd argue that it's executing according to the "pathway" for worst case scenario that attempts to make changes in as orderly a fashion as possible and give key stakeholders appropriate time for re calibration."

Wow. I am continually amazed by the new jargon in textbooks and resumes. Of course, some of the key stakeholders (none of whom are apparently the fans) didn't need recalibrating, they needed excision. I guess the OC and QB coach needed removal but not the real offensive planner, the HC. Nor do I see any evidence that the new corporate structure protects the GM and the DC; it appears to protect the President and the HC. True, probably nothing can protect an HC who misses the playoffs, so we won't get to the true test. Wonder if the DC survives?

Tundraboy's picture

Superb take on this mess.

fthisJack's picture

the Van Pelt firing really had me scratching my head when it happened and Rodgers was not happy with it. I believe this created as much friction between MM and Rodgers as anything else and still is a sore spot with Rodgers.
now Murphy is in the hot seat with fans screaming for McCarthy's head and friction between the MM and Rodgers at an all time high. I think he has to fire McCarthy to reset the mood in the locker room or risk another dismal year. bring in a new coach and let him assemble his own staff.

Minniman's picture

Ha Ha. Ouch! On second read it's hardly the Gettysburg Address is it!

When constructing that comment I was thinking 2 routes, either the direct no-BS one or a more polite one.......but my main point is that the Packers strike me as an organization that don't make rash, wholesale changes, rather methodical, ordered ones. Getting rid of a historical winning combination that has lost it's mojo is a tough gig, I don't envy Mark Murphy on that one, but he seems to be giving the key people the time to validate the tough decisions (one way or the other).

Unfortunately it will take a couple of years before the truth gets surfaced but the innuendo of communication breakdowns between organizational and team leaders is a massive red flag to me, probably the biggest concern

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Ha, always a possibility when one commits words to paper (so to speak). I am all for methodical, except when we are dealing with a superstar QB who needs fixing and probably has five years roughly left. In that case I think taking the medicine as soon as possible is the way to go.

Upon reflection, you may have a point in that Murphy's decision to reserve to himself the right to fire/retain MM probably insulates Gute. As it happens I think that decision is fairly clear, but depending on how the rest of the season goes, it might be obvious. Even if Murphy actually stepped aside and told Gute to decide, I doubt many fans would believe that Murphy's fingers weren't all over that decision.

Barnacle's picture

Gute is almost toothless. MM and AR need to be coached properly. Murphy needs to tell MM he is too slow and stubborn to make game calls. AR would probably listen to good play calling.

Gute is not a real GM, he has no authority over the coaches. Murphy is not qualified to be a GM, therefore we are stuck with a management committee. Contrast our new management structure with the patriots. We need a smart boss, versus four guys who really have no individual responsibility. Our on field coaching, salary cap and and win/loss are a mess.

4thand1's picture

I see a lot of people making excuses for AR, sports shows , media, and just about everyone. Also you see a lot of critics taking shots. Hopefully the criticism will light a fire under his ass. He's always handled pressure in the past and played great. Now he's the highest paid player in the NFL and maybe he's pressing to much.

Packer Fan's picture

This season is probably gone. There are so many issues. Plays that take too long to match up with the protection. Rodgers missing open receivers. Not throwing enough to check down receivers or to the middle of the field. Even Rodgers is noting now that the plays and practice is focus on down the field plays. And this continues, more will be known. And all this with degraded protection, significant injuries and young players. I am sick of hearing how New England sets up the plays to fit to what they can be successful with. The second half of the Atlanta Super Bowl is etched into my brain on how NE dinked and dunked from one side of the field to the other to James White and the slot receiver to win the game. What is happening to the Packers is not going to be fixed this year. And what MM said that he was going to scrub the whole offense missed the mark of what they needed this year. Can MM change? Doubt it. And MM also lost the discipline with so many penalties. Yeah, the Packers will win a few more games but they are not good enough to play with the top teams. These things can't change once the season starts. For all the reasons noted above.

Swisch's picture

If it's true that both McCarthy and Rodgers have the ability to call the right plays, and it's mostly a matter of stubbornness and other behaviors, then let's hope for change starting Sunday -- and an excellent run in the last five games, whether we make the playoffs or not.
Perhaps let Philbin call the plays, and also limit Rodgers in changing them. My understanding is that Philbin was a big part of the Packers offense in 2011, when it operated at a jaw-dropping peak efficiency for most of the year.
Perhaps that high-flying offense spoiled things, though, with its array of spectacular plays downfield. Our best strategy now seems to be to emphasize small ball, with selective shots down the field. Whatever wins!

Tundraboy's picture

It's now pretty apparent what taking a scrub brush meant to MM. Sounds exactly like his classic 'clean a few things up" phrase. Same old simplistic approach.

Archie's picture

Things in GB won'r be fixed till TT and MM are both jettisoned. So obvious but other MM apparently is too clueless to recognize it. Where's Bob Harlan when you need him?!

Jonathan Spader's picture

Even with TT in GB Gute had a great draft. MM is more than likely gone. I don't see anything wrong with keeping TT around as a scout. So far so good with Gute's ability to draft and bring in talent.

HankScorpio's picture

TT has been gone for 11 months now. The news made all the papers & broadcast media, was on the tweeter, in blogs and smoke signaled out. The past 11 months of player personnel moves have demonstrated quite clearly that his "consultant' role is an honorary title with no input.

Time to let it go.

Lare's picture

Thompson doesn't even live in Green Bay anymore, he sold his home and moved back to Texas.

Bearmeat's picture

Damn good article. ARod is a control freak and needs to be told to play in the offense more. Maybe some type of "I'll fire Andy Reid" threat from Murphy or something like that. But that's going to be a job for the next coaching staff. MM's time has come.

I almost think it's a good thing we won't make the playoffs in that way... because if we did, I think Mike would quite possibly get another year.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I was always under the assumption that ARods play changes happened under the context of the game plan.

IE Rodgers does the presnap read, sees XYZ and that means he checks to ABC. Not ARod has his own adhoc game plan and Mac has no idea what it is.

It's hard to believe Mac let it come to that. Honestly, if this stuff is true they can' together anymore. Too many cooks in the kettle for too long.

Tundraboy's picture

Exactly, who is in charge here?

pooch's picture

well he did the Andy Reid part by firing Van Pelt,iam sure that still pisses off Rogers

dobber's picture

Why do we keep calling this a firing? The guy's contract expired. A contract is a two-way street, and by all accounts, van Pelt was also looking for something better. Maybe van Pelt should have explained this to #12.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

What? Cignetti was such a hot commodity that GB needed an immediate commitment from Van Pelt, who was under the delusion that other NFL executives would look at his work with Hundley and AR plus his association with the grandeur of the GB scheme, his work as OC in Buffalo (2009: 28th in pts/game at 16.1) and fall all over themselves to hire him as an OC. IDK: Van Pelt became QB coach in 2014, when AR was already at the height of his game. Do other NFL executives think Van Pelt made a positive impression on AR's game in 2015, 2016, 2017?

Cignetti: Look at the work Cignetti has done:
QB coach NYG: Eli and Geno Smith.
OC St. Louis: 29th in points at 17.5 pts/gm
QB coach Rams: Shaun Hill, Austin Davis woo hoo
QB coach Rams: Kellen Clements (9 starts), Sam Bradford
OC Pittsburgh Panthers: SMOKING HOT FOR MM
QB Coach SF
QB Coach NO 2000, 2001 Smoking Hot MM was OC.

In fairness, Cignetti as QB coach (MM was OC) in 2000 and 2001 got Aaron Brooks to be a pretty good QB for several years. Far as I can tell that's Cignetti's claim to fame.

OK, I've completely wandered from your point, Dobber! Cignetti and Van Pelt are mediocrities that MM knows, and Van Pelt is a guy that didn't criticize AR when he abandoned his fundamentals (as far as we can tell).

Lare's picture

The thing that I questioned was if Rodgers and Van Pelt were so close, why did Rodgers have to hear it from the team and/or the media that he was leaving? Don't you think Van Pelt would have called or texted Rodgers directly and explained the situation to him?

4zone's picture

Haven't read it yet but it appears to be missing an important factor, Player Personnel.

With so many draft misses, the draft and develop philosophy didn't keep up with turnover schedules and now our talented players are getting nearer retirement while we still have gaping needs we have failed to successfully address over time. The result is we are near catastrophic failure due to lack of talent in house to develop and players that will soon be unable to play to their previous levels.

I belive we need change in the Coaching Staff immediately (the evening after we play our last game this year). Give Gute total GM control and give him the tools to hit this problem head on. We can still avert a total melt down if we go hard right away, but I think it will take a minumum of 2 years to get us back to stable and competative at the highest level.

PackerAaron's picture

Personnel is actually addressed pretty early on in the article.

dblbogey's picture

Can we still blame all the Packers troubles on the Justin Harrell pick?

Swisch's picture

There may be a lot to what you say, 4zone, but let's consider that we have elite skill players on offense -- the place of the problem -- in Rodgers and Adams and probably Jones; along with a promising group of young receivers; and a quality offensive line with a star left tackle. I'd mix in some more of Tonyan at tight end, just to see if the problem there may be a lack of youthful athleticism.
If it's mostly a matter of willingness on the part of McCarthy and Rodgers to amend their ways, then I don't see why the offense can't begin to soar starting December 2 against the Cardinals.
It seems, in such an exasperating way that the offense is so close yet so far. I'm hoping for a breakout right away, if our leaders are willing to put the team first.

packerbackerjim's picture

Personality conflicts tend to build over time. It took down the Bears in 1986 and will do the same to the Packers. Yet another reason why MM needs to go.

jhlisic's picture

Aaron has gone full blown diva. Imagine the level of arrogance required to think that backyard football would translate to consistent wins and eventual championships against professional defenses. All those lasers he throws outside the pocket look great for YouTube compilations, and if you want to be entertained by QB play, Rodgers is the man. But every year other QBs put up the same numbers without ever leaving the pocket. Execute the plays as designed. Rodgers improvisational skills are awesome, no question, but he has become completely dependent on sandlot football. Which other offensive line is expected to block for as long as Green Bay's? Which other QB expects his receivers to work back to the ball and find soft spots in the zone as often as Rodgers? His teammates and coaching staff seem to do a lot to accommodate his style of play, but he comes across as too stubborn and egocentric to work the other way.

Handsback's picture

OK, everyone that's posting on this site loves the Packers. (Unless they are doing it out of spite.) Nobody wants to see the Packers denigrate like they have. So everyone has a pretty strong feeling what the problem is and how to fix it.

My question is a simple one in that I'm asking how good are the Packers? How many blue and red chip players do they have on this team? I will venture to say this year there may be only one, Adams. They did have players that were blue chips, but injuries have taken a large toll on their performance this year. For the past two years they didn't have a great number of red chip guys either. So what you have are good players playing hurt, not playing at all, and severe lack of adequate backups. The playmakers are young and inexperienced, so they aren't consistent which shows in their play.

I don't care if Lombardi came back to coach these guys.....they are an average team and nothing more. If players get healthy like Cobb, Davis, (yes even a healthy returner/gunner helps the special teams.) and King, you might get a different outcome. Until then just try to enjoy the games and realize they will get better.

4zone's picture

AR still has to throw to open receivers. All the talent in the world can't change that. We are playing way below our talent level and as injuries have increased its gotten worse.

The solution right now is for the players to stop playing stupid, and whoever is calling offensive plays to start calling plays tike AR has a torn calf muscle. We need to start performing intricate surgery in the passing game instead of trying to throw haymakers all the time.

Stickfish's picture

On the Lombardi front he possessed a rare quality to challenge and motivate individuals to achieve greatness that often they were unaware of. Hornung was close to quitting prior to the arrival of Lomabradi as he was discenchanted with how he was being used, Starr matured and became the great leader that he was and is under Lombardi as well. Two as different of individuals that can be imagined and yet Vince knew how to reach both of them. And perhaps his methods wouldn’t resonate today although that coach in New England seems to run a similar ship and does ok.

At the end of the day winning fixes most problems and we simply are not winning near enough for a reasons already mentioned and who knows what else behind closed doors. I would mention Jared Cook as an example of poor business that has implications with team performance. He begins and develops with #12 and we let him walk only to go through a host of TEs since who’ve produced far less for far more cash. Not to defend Rodgers but that cannot sit well. Cook understood freelance and was a big target.

Rodgers as always (to me) gone through spells where he struggles with routine plays albeit this one has lasted much longer than any I recall. I’m not of the opinion that a new HC fixes all the evils but it does seem that new blood is mandatory at this juncture.

Rick F's picture

Great article and sheds light on the inner workings of 1265. The clash is real and the head coach is threatened by Rodgers intelligence. Then the coach calls plays and Rodgers can change them. Then back up QBS deciphering audibles and helping Rodgers figure out what the defense is doing. While Boyle tries to keep MM up to speed. This is laughable and destructive. How in the hell did it come to this? MM praises his players and inflates their egos.
With what I just read, MM has to go for the best interest of the franchise!

RCPackerFan's picture

"How it all went wrong for the Packers"

The core of the problems currently are simple. Ted Thompson. Its not Rodgers, Its not McCarthy, they are parts of the problem but the root of the problem is Thompson.

Just looking at drafts from 2012 till now.

2012 he picked Nick Perry in the first round. While he has been a 'good' player, 1 pick later the Vikings picked Harrison Smith. How much better would our Safety position be if we had Smith.
While he did pick Hayward he didn't resign him. Daniels has been a beast and was a great pick. But the rest were bad.

2013 he picked Datone Jones. Who I don't even think is in the league but I could be wrong with that. 1 pick after was DeAndre Hopkins. How would the offense look with Hopkins? Would we have the same woes if we had him?
This was probably his best year of drafting. He picked Lacy who was good early but ate himself out of the league. He also took Bakhtiari, Tretter, Franklin, Hyde. Bakhtiari was probably his best pick since Mathews. Franklin unfortunately suffered a career ending injury. But he didn't resign Hyde which he should have.

2014 - Clinton-Dix was the first pick. This was an ok pick, but is no longer with the team. He came away with Adams and Linsley though. The problem was in the 3rd and 4th rounds. Thornton, Rodgers, and Bradford all have really done nothing and are no longer with the team.

2015 - 0 players on on the 53 from this draft. Ryan is on IR. This draft is what honestly killed this current team. This would be the year most of the players should have turned the corner.
Now my question with this is, were Randall Rollins and Montgomery simply used out of position? Was this a coaching thing more then drafting? But if the coaches played them out of position, why did they? Because they had no choice with what was given them.

2016 - Kenny Clark a freaking beast. Thompsons best pick probably since Bakhtiari.
But Spriggs really hasn't done much, Fackrell finally at least is being productive this year. Martinez was a good pick. Lowry has been good. Davis is a good return man.

2017 - Has some really good players. But 5 of the 10 draft picks are already gone just 1 year removed from the draft. King when healthy is a difference maker. Josh Jones has real abilities. Adams is starting to step up his game. Jones is a stud.

A problem with Thompson was not that he had poor drafts but the last years he didn't retain the better of his players and that was his whole philosophy. Draft and develop. Players like Micah Hyde, Casey Hayward, JC Tretter were all let go.
He also didn't sign free agents to compensate for the lack of talent brought in. He did sign Cook in 2016. That was a great signing. Problem was he didn't resign him. How much better would the offense be with Cook who would be in his 3rd year with Rodgers. Instead he chose to let him go and brought in Bennett. Huge mistake.

The biggest problem with this team is that they let to much good talent go, and didn't get enough talent to replace it. Its that simple.

I do think this team is building a good core of players. Should be better then what they are right now, but I have faith with Gutekunst.
His first draft was really good. Alexander is a stud. Jackson, Scott, MVS, EQ all look like great picks. He is willing to be active in FA also.

The problems with the current team stem from a few bad years of acquiring talent. Now its time to restock the roster. They have a good core, but go get the rest.

The core of the team, Rodgers, Jones, Bakhtiari, Linsley, Adams, Daniels, Clark, Martinez, Alexander are all players to build around. I believe they will do it!

flackcatcher's picture

And who agrees with you RC, Ted Thompson. We know that when Thompson announced his intent to retire in 2014, clearly he expected Mark Murphy to have his replacement in house and ready to go by the 2016 season. That did not happen. With IAMGUTE hiring all sorts of stories came floating out about the clash between McCarthy and Murphy, with Russ Ball in the middle. The SI story only covers the coach player interaction with a few shots at Thompson who is no longer in charge. We got a hint that Murphy was on thin ice with the executive committee when Bob Harlan publicly cut Murphy at the knee early this summer. As Bob Harlan feared, Murphy's restructuring has in a short amount of time harmed this organization. How deep the damage is unknown to us fans at this time. But my 'gut' tells me we will find out when Murphy's contract ends shortly after this season.

stockholder's picture

I believe it has nothing to do with how the games were coached. Go Back and judge the players and how they played. Starting with Arron Rodgers. Most of you are judging/blaming the coach. But most are bringing up the players in your argument. The drafts. TT. Judge the players per every game this year. A team that can't win. Cannot judge a winning coach! Even if you don't like the coaches call here or there. It's still on the players. The frustration of every fan is saying this team needs players. We see it. Why take it out on MM. You say it the game plan. Well who is responsible for execution. A-Rod. You say the line doesn't block. The solution is better Lineman. You say the wrs are rookies and need time. But look who is hurt behind them. (Cobb Allison). You say they should have won the close ones. Well Crosby is having his worst year. You say the Dl can't stop the run. Well Wilkerson and now Daniels are out. You say the Lbs have no rush. Well Ryan and Perry are out. You have Morrison and Burks. Whoopie! You have CBs in and out. And the safety play is a revolving door. Your argument has malice. And it's aimed at MM. * Not aimed at you RC * you didn't deserve the dislikes

Swisch's picture

The record for the Packers the year before Lombardi: 1-11-1
The record for the first year of Lombardi: 7-5
Then the second year, a near loss in the championship game, followed by five championships in seven years.
At the time Lombardi came on board, it would have been easy to say that Bart Starr was lacking in both talent and presence; that Paul Hornung was too small and too slow; that Ray Nitschke was a nut case;
and that Jerry Kramer was a goof-off.
So, in other words, the coach does make a difference in how guys play.
Even today, wouldn't it be nice to have Casey Heyward and Micah Hyde?
In support of stockholder, though, it seems important to recognize that both McCarthy and Rodgers have led us to some great moments on the field, as well as consistent playoff appearances.
It seems important not to dismiss them too easily. As good fans, we want what's best for both of them.
However, it may be that each of them has lost his way to a greater or lesser extent. If they don't get their acts together, it may be time for them to move on. Thanks for the good times, and the best to you going forward elsewhere.
I hope it doesn't come to this, but the trade for Derrick Carr and draft picks -- that was proposed at this site recently (NostraDANus?) -- may be a good way for Rodgers to get a fresh start -- as well as us fans.

Lare's picture

Regardless who's side your on, something has to give. Which means either McCarthy or Rodgers has to go.

Personally, I think the Packers can get back to being successful regardless which one goes. The decision apparently comes down to Murphy. He either gets the Packers back to being a competitive team or he gets them back to the 70s & 80s.

Since '61's picture

The article basically supports what many of us have been saying here at CHTV. The Packers need better players. They have been left too thin at too many positions due to the weak drafts from 2013 - 2015.

The offense has suffered from negligence and the defense has added a few solid players from all the picks taken for the defense over the last several years. Clark, Martinez and Alexander are the best of those that remain on the team. King should be included but he is oft injured.

As for the relationship between MM and Rodgers what needs to happen and what should have happened at least 4-5 seasons ago is that Rodgers should call his own plays. The idea of MM calling the plays so Rodgers can change many of the calls is stupid. Between them they should have figured this out a long time ago and if not one of our other offensive coaches should have pushed for it.

Put the game in the QBs hands. He is changing the plays anyway. The fact that Boyle needs to explain to MM what Rodgers is doing and that Kizer needs to explain to Rodgers what MM is doing compounds the stupidity. Why can't MM and Rodgers just speak with each other when the defense is on the field?

This is at least one of the causes if not the primary cause for wasting our time outs. MM calls a play or he takes too long then Rodgers wants to check out of it but they don't have the personnel or Rodgers sees that the defense is ready to stop the play and his audible as well.

If you want to get in a rhythm and maintain a tempo let Rodgers call the plays, line up and run them. Audible as necessary but run the plays.

Now the lack of experience among the receivers is a legit issue. Rodgers is clearly dependent upon receivers who know how to run the scramble drill and who reach the places where Rodgers expects them to be. That is not happening with MVS, EQ and Graham, leaving Rodgers with no place to throw the ball and taking sacks or throwing the ball away. I'm not sure how that changes with Jordy gone and Cobb injured but it is a factor that is hurting Rodgers performance and the team.

As for all the rules and structure during the TT era that just sounds petty and unnecessary and quite frankly out of the Lombardi era. Today's players just don't roll with all that petty crap. It's certainly not providing the discipline on the field to prevent the stupid penalties.

3 things to do: 1. Install a management structure that makes sense. 2. Throw out all of the stupid rules and structures that don't help the team to win. 3. Get better players and let Rodgers call the plays regardless of who the HC or the OC is. Probably too late for this season but all of this can be fixed reasonably easily. Thanks, Since '61

jhlisic's picture

I think having Rodgers call the plays would be a disaster. I'm not insinuating McCarthy is a genius play caller or anything, but he has called a heap of plays where guys have been schemed open, only for Aaron to miss them.
In my view he has become too dependent on the scramble drill rather than operating within the confines of the designed plays / scheme. It's almost as if he is deliberately refusing to execute designed plays. This has gotten worse over the years too.
We've all seen footage this year of receivers getting open and Rodgers flat out refusing to throw it, or missing them. Imagine those plays were converted? How many more first downs, yards and TDs would be accounted for? Would've been the difference between the current record and maybe being 8-3.
I seriously don't understand why scramble drills have become imperative while every other QB in the league can get the ball out on time. Drop back, plant your feet, ball comes out. Conventional QB play is what will rectify the problems of this offense.
And I know Rodgers talks about trust a lot, but he needs to get over it. Those rookie receivers, despite their inexperience, are professionals also. Rodgers needs to trust they will be in the correct spots, just as they trust him to distribute the ball on time.

Since '61's picture

You are correct but the problem isn't Rodgers. After reading the SI article I realized that the problem is MM. Why? Because does anyone on this blog really believe that this would happen if Mike Holmgren was the Packers HC.

I'm not saying that Holmgren could, would or should comeback. But if he were the HC I can see him grabbing Rodgers by the facemark and saying "Can you just throw the ball to open receiver, please!" Rather than "No more rocket balls please." As he said to Favre.

This situation would never exist with a HC like Holmgren. Therefore I have come to the conclusion that the Packers may not need a new HC but Aaron Rodgers does need a new HC. The idea of Boyle talking to MM and Kizer speaking Rodgers during the games is ridiculous. Never happen with Holmgren or Lombardi for that matter.

Major dysfunction whatever is going on with MM and Rodgers. Time to move on from MM. Thanks, Since '61

Skip greenBayless's picture

So once again based on what you said (which I agree by the way) you are basically saying we need a hard ass head coach to deal with Rodgers. One that won't take his shit and tell him what he needs to do or else. You mentioned Holmgren which is a great example. I mentioned a couple as well like a Bill Parcells, Vince Lombardi, Chuck Noll type. All are old non PC veteran types which is the direct opposite of what most want here which is some young 30 year old creative genius. Well there isn't too many of those hard ass types left. BUT, there still is one who is available and one who loves working with Mike Pettine I am of course talking about his mentor Rex Ryan. I say this again and again. If Rodgers is here we need to go old for a head coach and a guy who will call Rodgers out publicly to let him know he's not above the team. Rex is our only choice and makes the most sense. Any young guy will get eaten alive PUBLICLY by Rodgers so it makes sense to get a guy who could do the same to him to keep Rodgers in line and focused on his job. If you can trade Rodgers than hell yes, get a young creative genius. I am all for it. Rodgers is basically uncoachable because in his mind nobody is smarter than he is. I think that's pretty obvious by now.

dobber's picture

"All are old non PC veteran types which is the direct opposite of what most want here which is some young 30 year old creative genius. "

Why do people expect that these two things are mutually exclusive? The superiors I respect most are not about 'alpha dog, do what I say or else', but they know how to get people to work for them primarily because they get people to feel that they are working WITH them. At this stage, it might be that the only kind of coach #12 will buy into IS a smart, creative kindred spirit kind of coach. Commanding respect is more than just getting in someone's face or sitting them on the bench.

...although, I think sitting #12 on the bench and shaming him a little bit is about the only tool MM has left if he wants to get ARod's attention.

croatpackfan's picture

Since, 61, you know I respect your opinion, but I believe you are to protective when we are talking about Aaron Rodgers.

Let's say Holmgren grabbing Rodgers by the facemark and saying "Can you just throw the ball to open receiver, please!" And Aaron say: "F*ck you!"

Now what would be next move?

Are you sure there is safety measures in Aaron Rodgers contract for that kind of event? If not, would you just throw away 15% of cap space for the next 4 years? Because Aaron will be paid no matter he plays or not, or maybe he will received few mil $ less for not participating, but who cares... He can afford that wealth considered.

Since '61's picture

Croat - my point about Holmgren is that this situation with Aaron Rodgers would never have gone this far in the first place. Holmgren was not necessarily a tough disciplinarian but he was very well respected by his players including Brett Favre who was much more difficult to control than Rodgers. Holmgren would work with Rodgers to help him through whatever problems he is having.

Now if Aaron did actually defy Holmgren as you suggest, Holmgren would have no problem telling him to sit on the bench until he was ready to play.

Remember that I am responding to the article's point about Boyle talking to MM during the games and Kizer speaking with Rodgers during the game. I don't understand why that is happening. That would not happen with Holmgren. He would speak directly with his QB whether it was Favre or Rodgers.

I don't think that Rodgers needs a coach that is tough with him I think he needs a coach that will coach him and help him. As I have posted previously in the last few weeks it looks like he is playing alone out there mentally and physically. Worse yet, I think he believes that he is alone on the field as well. Even a great veteran HOF QB like Rodgers, or any of us in our professions, needs some guidance, advice and assistance from time to time. In other words he needs a coach that can help him. Thanks, Since '61

Tundraboy's picture

You're absolutely correct Since 61, this is the height of dysfunction.

Lare's picture

The Packers are a billion dollars per year business. If they need someone to come in and solve Rodgers mechanics/ego/decision-making/insecurity issues, they just need to do it.

Since '61's picture

That is what coaches are for, at least as it relates to football.
Thanks, Since '61

Tundraboy's picture

"As for the relationship between MM and Rodgers what needs to happen and what should have happened at least 4-5 seasons ago is that Rodgers should call his own plays. The idea of MM calling the plays so Rodgers can change many of the calls is stupid. Between them they should have figured this out a long time ago and if not one of our other offensive coaches should have pushed for it."

So true. Best thing any coach can have is a leader on the field ,an extension of himself. That this has never been done before seems more of an indication of MMs insecurities and his stubbornness in the face of reality. His ego and pride would never allow him to cede control of his O to his Star quarterback,especially when it's his pupil ,which is also absurd on so many levels.'s picture

everything come down to seattle championship.
mccarthy lost the game with his ultra conservative play calling. from there the relation has come worse every year. remember what rodgers said to belichick 1 month ago: ¨you are the best¨. you can find the video easily.
so rodgers is a high ego and tells belichick he is the best??? belichick who is a highly disciplined coach...
so the problem is not the rodgers ego but the lack of trust in mccarthy because of the many many errors he made. in panic situation like bears this year, dallas 3 years ago etc etc when you have small time and you need big plays to win rodgers takes the total lead and packers win. that is the reality.

ILPackerBacker's picture

very easy to complicate a simple issue

Rodgers wanted Jones on the field
MM refused most of the season

Joe P is the guy who talked MM out of going for it on 4th down in Seattle (according to MM). we need less or no Joe P not more.

the OL is really not good,most sacks and most throw away passes to avoid sacks....just facts

Rodgers did not instruct adams to miss the pass in the end zone, go out of bounds for no reason or to wave at his man (who made the play) stopping the 4th down attempt in MN.

Those are all coaching issues

Packers0808's picture

Mumble much?

ILPackerBacker's picture

The MJ article is just garbage written by a lazy uniformed hack. Jones had defender a few yards away near the hashmark.

Crap writers like this are big reason reality and accountability don't exist in green bay

ILPackerBacker's picture

Not impressed with the SI article either. All interview requests seem to have been denied, no sources just innuendo that Thompson was brilliant.

Yet Ted did not step down he was forced out, basic and real fact. Colors everything after that. This is repeated more than once.

Teddie a 'wildly successful' Gm, lets guess who a source might be and what the motive might be.

Draft and Develop "DROVE THE SUCCESS" for most of ted's tenure.

Coordinated shoes? Does this impact the gay or straight issue?

If you can't read more critically then don't repeat things. the NAME "SI" does not mean what it did. "ESPN" no longer means quality it means big salary savings after firing journalists and hiring hacks.

I can not imagine Dr Z writing tripe like this, much less getting praise for it.

Packers0808's picture

Want to stop a lot of the Rodgers baloney, McCarthy, start Dek or Boyle and sit Rodgers a while. Oh yeah, announce it about the same time you list the inactives! That should shake things up a LOT!

4zone's picture

The second we are statistically eliminated from playoff contention, I bench AR to give my backup QBs some real game experience and evaluate their viability before I have to find out the hard way with a season on the line.

jyros's picture

Watching the Thursday night game and imagining how this season could have been.

Swisch's picture

Just watched, at the end of the first half, the Cowboys get the ball on their own two-yard line and move it about 70 yards for a field goal -- with mostly short passes.
Is it the lack of a short passing game that is the main reason we are all wondering what might have been? Sincere question.
In the first Vikings game, in which the offense was clicking with Rodgers severely hobbled, did the offense do a lot more that was quick and short? How does that compare to the last game with the Vikings, when we only scored a single field goal in the second half? I don't know, but that may a key to this season.

dobber's picture

I wonder how all this would turn out if MM wasn't trying to call his own plays...?

Oppy's picture

lol... some nerve that guy has

dobber's picture

At least then he could fire his play-caller and expect things might get better...

Oppy's picture

The great majority of this article resonates with much of what I've been seeing, feeling, and assuming over the last 4 years, but this one part really strikes me as far off the mark:

“Which came first, the chicken or the egg? McCarthy wants credit for Aaron Rodgers, who he is,” says a source familiar with the inner workings of the organization. “I think too many people have tried to say they created Aaron Rodgers.”

Over the last 13 years MM has been HC of the Packers, I have watched MM repeatedly praise the QB's for their skills and natural talent, and step away from taking any type of credit for their success. At one point, roughly around 2011, Mike McCarthy was asked what he could do to somehow find a way to take Rodgers' game to a new level, and MM told the press his best course of action to get more out of Aaron Rodgers was to simply get out of Aaron's way and let him take the reigns. It's when MM started giving Rodgers full control of the offense. MM said Aaron is such a special talent and has such a mind for the game, that he "frankly" just needed to let Aaron do what Aaron does.. and I've never seen MM take any type of credit for his QB's successes.

I don't know where that quote in the article comes from.. Maybe McGinn? Lol. All joking aside, it certainly doesn't match what I've seen and heard from MM over the last decade.

Minniman's picture

An intersting point Oppy - MM is certainly diplomatic and doesn't "ego-over" his players.

As an aisde - I'll be keenly watching the rest of this season and want to see him pitch an equal number of games healthy as he did in a knee brace before I start to buy into the Rodgers is in decline talk...... I'd also like to see the stats separated in this manner too.

.......The day that Aaron Rodgers doesn't believe in Aaron Rodgers is the day that he becomes Jay Cutler.

.........For perspective I'd love to hear Peyton Manning's take on this.

dobber's picture

MM really has always been a "not airing out the laundry in public" kind of guy. I think players might really appreciate that, and it might be why they're still playing for him even given how things have gone this season.

I can really think of three situations where he's talked about players in a disparaging way in public...
...Eddie Lacy and his weight.
...the TE-who-must-not-be-named after the botched onsides kick.
...Damarious Randall in terms of getting his house in order.

He doesn't air the team's laundry in public....he also doesn't air much of anything in public, though.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Agreed, Oppy. The notion that MM saw Van Pelt (freaking Van Pelt!) as a threat to him regarding who gets credit for coaching AR is ludicrous.

While I agree with large parts of the SI article, it is one long anonymously sourced assertion.

albert999's picture

MM is prehistoric
Rodgers ego is his best friend
Murphy is clueless

LeotisHarris's picture

My shoe is off
My foot is cold
I have a bird I like to hold

JimZorn's picture

Interesting game tonight--Dallas v. NO. One of the most dynamic coach/qb combos this year got wiped out. Forget Payton's "innovations" or the team's topline RB Kamara. Forget the presumptive NFL MVP Brees--18/28, 127 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int, 71.6 Rating. None of that mattered.

Dallas managed just 2 sacks, but was in Brees' face all night. The interior rush gave Brees no passing lanes, forced rushed throws. Brees looked awful.

And, watching this game, I kept saying to myself--Rodgers has faced this sort of pressure all year. The difference in protection in the game against the Vikings was striking. Cousins was barely touched. And therein lies the answer to the 3rd down problem, and the inability of the offense to do a whole lot this year. Our guards have had a terrible year. Consistent collapsed pockets. Rodgers has to be in the top 10 in sacks, and I'm sure his hurries and knockdowns are above average. With that much pressure, his numbers are ridiculous.

Why has no one talked about this? Especially after Rodgers got hurt so early in the season and consistently throws the ball away--hence his low completion percentage--to avoid punishment.

It won't make a difference whether poor MM is here next year if this offensive line isn't improved.

Johnblood27's picture

I have talked about it.

I also said for the record that the PFF OL rankings are worthless, the GBP OL hasnt passed the eye test since game 1 this season.

I have seen posters reference the "great" OL rankings as proof that the throw aways are all on AR.


Minniman's picture

It really is a combo isn't it.

While I haven't seen Don Barklay-esque o-line turnstiling, the pocket protection isn't what it was 3 years ago. I'd call the policy of "we can train any gorilla to be a guard" as in need of a re-think.

I also think that over-complicating an offense stacked with Rookie WR's is also a hiding to nothing - was nothing learned from Dom Capers overly elaborate defensive schemes on young players?

I'd also like to see some up-tempo sets. That would be the true test of AR's play calling. No ambiguity there as to who is calling the play.......It may even be MM's salvation.

flackcatcher's picture

Yeah, but the Packers knew that their O line would not be able to give their QB the time he was use to. Hence, their change to controlled roll outs and short slant or skinny post patterns. That got all thrown out with Rodgers knee injury in the Bears game. Why have the Packers not brought those offense packages back, beats me. Reason Packers have not gone to their 11 package is they don't have the veteran WR to run it, it's that simple. Sucks for both Rodgers and McCarthy.

dobber's picture

Not too long ago, the Packers had a solid 5-across OL that played well together. Then Josh Sitton went away and they plugged in Taylor, a player not of Sitton's caliber but about league average. A good OL can cover for one weaker player.

Then Lang went away and they plugged in Jahri Evans who was maybe league average. Now the overall quality has taken another hit and you've got two OL that they need to cover for or shade help toward. Then Bulaga gets hurt, and he returns and maybe is a little more sluggish (if possible) and can't cover for a McCray or a Bell at RG. Now they have some problems.

OL play is more than 5 guys winning one-on-ones. These guys have to be able to play together, and play together well. Maybe this OL rates well, but they have collapsed on key plays.

JimZorn's picture

I agree 100%. The team's been much too cavalier about the interior line. The conventional narrative is that the tackles and center are solid, so the line overall is not an issue. Our five guys, collectively, can hold their own. And that's just not so, especially in the vitally important interior of the pocket. Rodgers doesn't step into his passes? He can't most of the time--there's nowhere to step into.

Again, GB fans too often don't seem to be watching the rest of the NFL--we analyze the Packers in isolation. And last night one of the most aggressive and successful "new" offenses under a "brilliant" coach with a "disciplined" QB--what GB fans have been screaming for all year--got soundly beaten. It was an interesting case study and, at least to me, very revealing in what it says about what's happened to GB, AR and MM this year.

LeotisHarris's picture

Great thread, guys. I agree 100%. TT had a cap for OL and the talent pool for next-man-up with interchangeable parts was allowed to sink to marginal players at best. Letting Lang walk was a huge mistake. Hence, current speed bump Byron Bell.

I hope the NO press is calling out Payton this morning for his inability to make in-game adjustments, and for not getting his team up for an important game. Also, should be talking about trading Doobeez because he clearly killed them with his decision-making and deteriorating skill set last night. Saints can't win on the road, either. All that talent wasted by Sean Payton. Only one Super Bowl win with a HOF QB.

JimZorn's picture

Exactly. Another interesting case-study: look at Andrew Luck's trajectory this year. Started really wobbly--hell, Reich put in the backup for a hail mary pass because there was no confidence in AL's arm. Consensus, Andrew Luck was a lame duck and would likely have to be replaced next year, the Colts would have to move on.

And yet . . . some of the best pass protection in the league has turned AL's season around. He's been magnificent . . . because he's got all day to throw. Progressions? Finding the open receiver? Not too hard when your line gives you the time. He's not remotely the QB he was--the arm strength is just not there, but AL is a very smart, seasoned QB so he's transformed his game and all of that's been possible because he has protection.

I don't think anyone would be talking about MM's replacement or AR's decline, or their so-called conflict, if the GB O-Line had been even reasonably functional this year.

Minniman's picture

Did you see the 2-QB sets in that game with Hill and Brees alternating snaps then lining up out wide?

edp1959's picture

I had the intentions of coming on here this morning and stating my opinion on this very subject. I watched the came last night and came to the same conclusions. You nailed it.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

I agree with the diagnosis. The prescription to improve the OL makes sense as well (notwithstanding some possibly over-the-top sarcasm I used elsewhere in a reply to JohnBlood). It probably does mean buying a good OG (possibly an OT) in FA and drafting some guys in rounds 2-4. I do have one concern:

the answer isn't to improve the OL so that AR can go back to playing sandlot football. Sandlot has to be a last resort rather than a preference.

JimZorn's picture

I think "sandlot" has been AR's style of necessity for way too long--he's just not had the support he needs, whether the O-Line this year or the miserably slow receiving corp of the past few years. He's had to make crap up. Watch AR's 2010 to 2014 seasons, when the support has been there, and you see him running a very disciplined offense.

LambeauPlain's picture

I agree. And it is MM's job to do what Pettine does....understand the strengths of his guys and put them in the best position to win.

"Sandlot" or engineering on the fly is great when you have all your receivers experienced and on the same page as AR. They aren't. The "buy time" scrambling around to throw a receiver open for a big "chunk" play is great when your O line solid at all positions. They aren't.

MM could make the O more efficient and effective team if he simplified the routes for his young receivers and used his blockers and RB more to move the chains.

He is trying to fit square pegs into round holes.

Jamie Freier's picture

I’d have Lewis out helping the line every snap possible

LambeauPlain's picture

I agree. And it is MM's job to do what Pettine does....understand the strengths of his guys and put them in the best position to win.

"Sandlot" or engineering on the fly is great when you have all your receivers experienced and on the same page as AR. They aren't. The "buy time" scrambling around to throw a receiver open for a big "chunk" play is great when your O line solid at all positions. They aren't.

MM could make the O more efficient and effective team if he simplified the routes for his young receivers and used his blockers and RB more to move the chains.

He is trying to fit square pegs into round holes.

LambeauPlain's picture

I agree. And it is MM's job to do what Pettine does....understand the strengths of his guys and put them in the best position to win.

"Sandlot" or engineering on the fly is great when you have all your receivers experienced and on the same page as AR. They aren't. The "buy time" scrambling around to throw a receiver open for a big "chunk" play is great when your O line solid at all positions. They aren't.

MM could make the O more efficient and effective team if he simplified the routes for his young receivers and used his blockers and RB more to move the chains.

He is trying to fit square pegs into round holes.

Rebecca's picture

Yahoo sports app streams games too.

Johnblood27's picture

My feet stink when I have a hangover

dobber's picture

In all honesty, they have a pretty good matchup this week against a weak and beat-up Arizona team. There's plenty of pent up frustration and I actually expect this team to hang a 40-burger on the Cardinals (which sucks, because we don't get this game in our market this week). Some people will be happy for a week (until the Falcons come to town, who the Packers have had no answer for in recent memory). Some will start the 'run the table' chants. Some will throw up their hands and say, "where has this been all season?"

Dr Mixer GED's picture

Watch on Reddit NFL streams. I never miss a game. Just look for the Packers game day thread. Buffstreams is the best one on there.

dobber's picture


LambeauPlain's picture

MM has become an analytics disciple since the 2014 season ended and now believes the Packer O needs more "chunk" per quarter or so. Move the ball in chunks vs moving the chains with the quick hitters and run game.

Great when it works. It isn't. The receivers are running long developing routes...AR doesn't have time, especially with a weak interior giving up pressure...too many balls thrown away...bad throws...sacks.

So Jones doesn't get the ball. And the O line and the TEs are much better run vs pass blocking. The run game is an asset both MM and AR don't want to use.

So too many three and outs. The O runs maybe 50 plays a game and is not at all efficient with the limited number.

Then the D has to play many more snaps...and by the 4th quarter, is gassed.

Even so, the D is still playing with passion and urgency but just does not have the depth to keep up with the opponent as the Packer O does 3 and out and sends them back onto the field.

I can only imagine what Capers D would have looked like having to play 70 snaps a game!

Moving the chains on long TD scoring drives with running and quick hitting passes will also open up the occasional big pass. And keep #12 more upright.

And let the Defense catch its collective breath.

dobber's picture

"MM has become an analytics disciple since the 2014 season ended and now believes the Packer O needs more "chunk" plays"

MM--Playing for the 3-run homer...

Johnblood27's picture

You absolutely CANNOT hit a 3-run homerun if two men are not on base.

The football analogy is that you just DO NOT get chunk plays if you are not consistently hitting the check downs and running effectively.

Trying for a 3 run homer with the bases empty leads to LOSSES.

Trying for chunk plays without a consistently effective offensive scheme leads to LOSSES.

Get back to the basics of successful offense , move the chains, get first downs, then the field opens up on one of the consistent plays and it pops for a chunk.

Thats how it works. Shot plays aren't for every series, they are for once per half. The rest of the time run consistently successful plays and just move the chains. This leads to WINS.

TXCHEESE's picture

Why does everyone assume the SI article is valid? I can see with my own eyes that Rodgers is looking for the homerun ball instead of just hitting the open receiver. We all watch the games and it is very apparent, that there are open receivers not being thrown to. I do believe our guard play is not up to the level Rodgers enjoyed in previous years. A lot of pressure is up the middle, but I also believe that is from design on the defenses part. They caught up to the fact the Rodgers generated additional time by climbing the pocket and escaping between the guards.

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"A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall. "
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