That thing is happening again, where everyone is wondering if there’s some serious internal discord plaguing the Green Bay Packers. Eyebrows were raised when after Green Bay’s 22-0 victory over Buffalo, a game in which the Packers did not play as well as the score indicates, quarterback Aaron Rodgers had some, well, pointed things to say about the team’s offensive game plan:
Let’s see, we’ve got gripes about the flow of the game, complaints that playmakers aren’t being used properly, and a declaration that these shortcomings are due to deficiencies in “the plan.” I’m not even sure if you can call these veiled shots at the coaching staff; they’re just shots.
Rodgers was asked about his relationship with head coach Mike McCarthy yesterday, and though he assured everyone that the two have a great relationship, he didn’t necessarily downplay the idea that some conflict exists. “It starts with good communication, be honest with each other and hug it out afterwards. That’s what Mike always says, conflict is good,” Rodgers said.
This isn’t the first sign of dissatisfaction Rodgers has shown in the last year. He went public with his displeasure over the Packers not retaining quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt, and he recently stumped for running back Aaron Jones to be on the field more.
We’ve been here before. Before the 2016 season, McCarthy ceded play-calling duties to assistant head coach Tom Clements while still licking the wounds left by his poor management of the previous season’s loss in the NFC Championship game. McCarthy reclaimed the play-calling mantle the next season, and said he would never give it up again. But with the offense not looking great through the first four games of this season and Rodgers being brutally honest about strategic shortcomings, the heat is on McCarthy once again.
McCarthy’s been in Green Bay for 12 years now, an eternity in NFL coaching years, and even though he’s won a Super Bowl and gotten the Packers to the playoffs in nine of those years, it’s often felt like his teams have underachieved. There are certainly much worse head coaches in the NFL, and Rodgers has thrived nonetheless. But when your quarterback is perhaps the most talented quarterback to ever play football, “things could be worse” is just not good enough.