Tyler Dunne from Bleacher-Report released a piece on the Packers today, just a day after ESPN’s interview with Mike McCarthy. You can read the whole piece here, it is very long but very interesting. After reading it I had a few thoughts I’d like to get off my chest, because lord knows mainstream media is going to run with everything in this piece as 100% true, especially Colin Cowturd who has some grudge against Rodgers, like he does Baker Mayfield.
This article is mainly about: The Packers with McCarthy and Rodgers should have been some sort of dynasty, like the Patriots from 2009 until now with multiple Super Bowl appearances, if not Super Bowl rings. This article delves into why that never happened in really two huge ways: putting blame on Mike McCarthy, and putting blame on Aaron Rodgers. It also touches on Ted Thompson at the end, who I would probably say doesn’t get enough criticism in this article, but Thompson is gone and his name isn’t nearly as big as McCarthy or Rodgers.
Let’s start with sources. There’s a lot of unnamed sources, and unnamed scouts, and unnamed people close to this guy and that guy. We also have Packers favorite WR Greg Jennings saying the same things he’s said for the past few years, Jermichael Finely is also quote in here. Those guys, just like the past are much more critical to Rodgers than McCarthy. They didn’t have a good relationship with Rodgers, obviously. The other named sources in here like RB’s Ryan Grant and DuJuan Harris, albeit in here much less, seem critical of both. So let’s be clear here, the truth in all this is somewhere in the middle.
Also let’s note here, this article is all based on unnamed sources and guys who haven’t been around the Packers since 2014. If we do math, that’s 4+ years of not being around the Rodgers/McCarthy situation.
Do I think Rodgers is a much of a prick and bad guys as some quotes in here paint him? No. Do I think McCarthy is as lazy and “dumb” of a coach that some quotes seem to make him? No. The answer is in between.
As a Packers fan, or a fan in general, we tend protect our star players more so than anyone else and defend them to the nth degree. Packer fans are no different, anytime someone shits on Rodgers everyone comes to his defense. Depending on what that may be, it might be justified. People talk about Rodgers dysfunction with his family, like this article does, and Packer fans come out of the wood work to say how great a guy Rodgers is. I love Rodgers. I LOVE HIM. But his family life, is HIS. His relationship with his parents and brothers is none of my business. I see no reason to hop on Facebook or Reddit and defend him here, some do. Also, I’ve never met the guy or his parents, what do I know?
Packer fans are going to come out firing everyone on this article, but I urge people to sit back, relax and try to think as non-biased as they can. Again, I LOVE Rodgers but I’m not afraid to accept that he may be a prick to a lot of people. I disliked McCarthy but I am not afraid to admit not everything was his fault the past 10 years. It’s a combination of both that led to where we’re at, which is probably a better place honestly.
So when reading this article, just don’t throw out every bad quote about Rodgers or believe every bad said about McCarthy. All these things have to be taken with a grain of salt.
Having said that, there is a lot to go over in this article. Instead of going point by point I’ll give my opinion and on what this article means about McCarthy, Rodgers, Thompson, and the Packers.
On Mike McCarthy.
There’s a lot in here that makes McCarthy look bad. Let’s just call it like it was, McCarthy lost control of this team a long time ago. There are quotes in here of guys calling their own team soft, watching Packers games you could clearly see this was a team that didn’t play physical football. But the main parts on McCarthy are obviously his relationship with Rodgers.
McCarthy wanted the credit for the success of the Packers offense and being a “QB” whisper. He was the guy who helped develop Rodgers for one, but what happens when the protege becomes smarter, better than the master. This in essence, is what happened here. I think McCarthy let Rodgers get out of control, Rodgers was so good – and he knew it, that McCarthy struggled to reign Rodgers in. McCarthy also struggled from day one with Rodgers, because according to Ryan Grant, Rodgers held a grudge against McCarthy for saying Alex Smith was a better QB and didn’t take him #1 overall in San Francisco. McCarthy was fighting an uphill battle the whole way.
Just like his offense, McCarthy never adjusted to trying to control Rodgers. Just like losing Rodgers, McCarthy lost the team for other reasons. Apparently he switched position coaches all the time, that for one we know is true. According to Dunne, McCarthy wanted those guys to get more experience at different positions but if your WR coaches is killing it coaching the WRs then why the hell are you changing his job? Also reports were assistants were leading meetings while McCarthy was nowhere to be seen. Maybe even getting massages in his office? I hope that isn’t true.
We can see from the outside some of these things in the article are obviously true about the Packers under McCarthy. The offense was old and stale, the team constantly came out flat, you could tell Rodgers was improvising, we got reports on the coaching changes, we could see the team would play soft, and we could see the team wasn’t playing for him.
This all starts with Rodgers. McCarthy’s #1 job should have been to manage Aaron Rodgers and he failed miserably at this. McCarthy can still be a good coach, but he’s going to have to look in the mirror and let go of his ego. I don’t think McCarthy is a great coach. I think Rodgers and great offensive personnel made him look great. His defenses, besides two – maybe three years, were awful. That’s on McCarthy.
On Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers part in this article really attacks his personality, and who he is as a person. From there, it explains why his relationship with McCarthy didn’t work. We’ve already touched on Rodgers “thoughts” about McCarthy because of the draft day experience.
Rodgers is a huge chip on the shoulder guy, its always been that way. Do I believe he held a grudge against McCarthy from day done? Maybe. Do I believe he would let it get to him? Yes, after success dies down.
Watching Rodgers play, you can tell he likes to play aggressive. This article points out how he missed check downs on purpose and was looking for the big play constantly this year. McCarthy loves to play conservative. I could see this relationship deterioration really starting after the 2014 NFC Championship Game. McCarthy played very conservatively and that combined with other dumb mistakes led to a Packers loss. Maybe that was the tipping point from Rodgers? Since then things haven’t been good, obviously.
But is Rodgers really some unfriendly, prick, who bully’s guys in the locker room to do what he wants? We’ve had guys come out and talk how Rodgers loves the serious guys, the veteran come in, put your head down and go to work type of guys. Mercedes Lewis said this of Rodgers, and he’s back on the Packers so it can’t be that bad right? Do I believe Rodgers rubs a lot of guys the wrong way? Yes. He wants greatness, he wants perfection. Just like the article points out, guys like Jordan, Kobe, and Magic all rubbed their teammates the wrong way. Do I believe Rodgers is some type of major asshole? No.
However there is a paragraph in here I think Packers fans need to read, and maybe accept this is the person Rodgers is:
Tyler Dunne, Bleacher-Report
If Rodgers has a problem, he rarely chooses to address it directly.
One person, who used to be close to the quarterback but has since been cut out of his life, describes Rodgers as forever “conflict-averse.” As passive-aggressive to the extreme. As someone who’d rather stuff problems deep, deep down inside of him and pretend there’s no issue rather than communicate those issues and strengthen relationships like this one with his coach.
What does this tell me? What does the quote support, that I’ve seen from Rodgers through interviews and during the games? He can be petty and that’s okay. I have a hard time believing Rodgers is walking around the locker room grumpy at everybody and doesn’t speak his mind. It’s okay if someone hold grudges, as long as those grudges don’t get the best of your personally and professionally. Again, those grudges have helped Rodgers become the best, what we hope as Packer fans is that his pettiness isn’t alienating his teammates.
The article also focuses on Rodgers relationship with young players. Rodgers is hard on these guys, again he expects perfection. Now maybe Rodgers needs to tone down his own expectations of rookies. But again, you’re going to tell me a QB is going to dog his rookies and there is no constructive criticism there? I don’t believe that. Another situation where the truth is somewhere in the middle.
I think this article does a good job of showing more of Rodgers true colors. Is Rodgers a good person? Yes. That’s obvious. He does a ton of great things with his name, and wealthy in Green Bay and other places. Does that mean he isn’t petty, does that mean he can’t be a dick, does that mean he gets along with everybody? No. I have no doubt Rodgers has his flaws, and I’m not afraid to admit he might be a little full of himself, he thinks and knows he’s better anyone in the league, he can be a dick to some players. I don’t hold those things against him, but I accept that’s who is he and as a Packer fan, I’m okay with it.
On Ted Thompson
Dunne finally gets to the man who really should be held just as accountable as Rodgers and McCarthy for all of this. Sadly, it’s a short part of the article. Thompson hired McCarthy. He drafted Rodgers. He saw the talent Rodgers had, and knew he had a coach that could win a Super Bowl. It is part of Thompson’s job to manage those two personalities, and keep them in check. He obviously didn’t do that. Also what Thompson obviously didn’t do, was keep this team well stocked with talent.
Yes the Packers had some talented draft classes, Thompson did have a some nice signings in Woodson and Peppers. But, Thompson just stayed his same old boring course. It was clear since after the 2014 season this team was lacking talent. Thompson didn’t get his own guys, he got rid of players who were key locker room guys and good players (Hyde, Lang, Sitton, Raji), and didn’t bring anybody in. How can you let good players go? How can you not pay guys who you drafted, and proved themselves? Why would anyone want to stay, if they know they won’t get paid.
Dunne has “sources” who said Thompson had his head in the sand and though he could just plug anybody in and Rodgers would save him. I tend to believe that.
Also, what I just wrote is almost as much as Dunne wrote about Thompson. There needs to be more. You have all this info on Rodgers and McCarthy and their relationship. What was the relationship between Thompson and McCarthy? Thompson and Rodgers? Thompson and other players? Thompson and Mark Murphy? It starts at the top.
On the Packers
The article ends with some good news for Packer fans. It seems like Mark Murphy took control of everything. He finally got rid of Thompson and fired McCarthy mid-season.
According to Dunne, he and new GM Brian Gutekunst didn’t ask Rodgers for input on the new coach. They wanted a new young coach who would challenge not just Rodgers, but the whole team. Murphy told Rodgers this is your coach, you’re going to fall in a line and not be a problem. Specifically, here’s the quote form the article.
Tyler Dunne, Bleacher-Report
Murphy made it clear that Rodgers would need to accept coaching. “Don’t be the problem,” he told him. “Don’t be the problem.”
So again, who was the third person on the phone that wrote this conversation down. Who overheard this conversation? If they heard this, what else was said?
What is clear to me, is Murphy and Gute did their own thing and didn’t consult Rodgers, or run by the hiring before making it official. I believe they conveyed to Rodgers the type of coach they were looking for. I believe Murphy has taken control of the organization from top and bottom and is going to do his best to stomp out all the bullshit. The Packers seem to be heading in the right direction, where the past three or four years it seems like they were moving backward.
Like I said at the start, block out all the mainstream media opinions on this article. Greg Jennings will be back on FS1 to bash the Packers and I’m sure Dunne will show up somewhere to expand on this article. Mainstream people we take sides, this is all on McCarthy or it’s all on Rodgers and his attitude.
What should Packer fans take from this? Rodgers isn’t this holy, untouchable person. He makes mistakes and is flawed, he can be a dick, he can be petty. Accept it and move on. McCarthy lost control of this team, his offense was out of date, he wasn’t a great leader, BUT everything the past 10 years isn’t all this fault. The reason the Packers don’t have multiple Super Rings lies on the shoulders of Aaron Rodgers, Mike McCarthy, Ted Thompson, and Mark Murphy. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. Its all their fault for everything that happened.
And if we happen to win a few more Super Bowls before Rodgers retires, it will be because Rodgers, Matt LaFleur, Brian Gutekunst, and Mark Murphy all worked together toward thats goal and put aside any difference they had.
Go Pack Go.