First and foremost, this was a tremendous article by Tyler Dunne and he deserves a ton of credit. I'm sure you've read it by now, but if you haven't, please make sure to read it here: https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2828649-what-happened-in-green-bay
As a Packer fan, this is ridiculously tough to read. As someone mentioned on Twitter it's like going through your parents divorce papers. It's messy, and it's one of the worst things that you can read as a fan of your team. It shines a dark light on almost every aspect of the organization.
The article cements what I held as a belief for some time. McCarthy, Thompson, and Rodgers all felt that they (or their system) were the primary reason for the Packers' success. All three were wrong, and all three needed each other to work cohesively. The egos did in fact ultimately get in the way of success in Green Bay.
Totally off topic, but this is why it's so stupid when people take dynasties for granted and say it's easy because they had great players or coaches. What Steve Kerr is doing in Golden State is still insanely impressive because there's a lot of ego and emotion involved in a team like that.
I don't for one second believe that McCarthy quit on the team. I'm not absolving McCarthy of blame here by any stretch, but flat out quitting on the team doesn't seem to be within his DNA.
I do believe he tried to empower his coaches more as evidenced by him giving up play-calling, which was an utter failure. Him taking more of a "CEO" approach would have probably worked well if he invested more time/energy into the defense, and hired a bright, young offensive coordinator to evolve the offense.
The picture this paints of Aaron Rodgers isn't new and really reiterates many of the concerns that have been said before. He has an incredibly high IQ, he doesn't do well with criticism, he's ultra-competitive, he's quick to criticize, his leadership rubs some people the wrong way, he can be tone def, etc... all of those aren't new concepts with Aaron. We have also seen many of these traits take place in front of our eyes. He's often quick to chastise players on the field of play and without becoming too much of a body language policeman, it's been a really, really long time since it looked like he was having fun on the field (to put it mildly).
I have major concerns that the concerns with Rodgers will go away with a simple changing of the head coach. While it was a very quick turnaround, the results (at least on the field) weren't super encouraging towards the end of the season with Philbin as coach. Aaron, for better or worse, was empowered to take more control of the offense, and played his own brand of football for so long that it's going to be incredibly difficult to take that away and reign him back in. As multiple people have said, this mirrors a lot of what Favre was going through when McCarthy came in and had to fix him.
I have no issues with there being more quotes from Jennings or Finley. Are they resentful and bitter, maybe, but it doesn't mean that they are wrong or that they aren't telling the truth. I also appreciated that they did go on record.
I think it's ridiculous that people are questioning Tyler Dunne's credibility for using unnamed sources... that's insane. Tyler's an incredibly well-respected journalist and this is nothing out of the ordinary in any capacity.
While I have very much been in favor of hiring Matt LaFleur, I do question if he's the right person to come in and play mental chess with Aaron Rodgers. LaFleur has a massive job ahead of him and I certainly hope he's up to the task. This is probably one of the more difficult situations to come into and it's a lot to ask of a young coach with no previous head coaching experience.
The most telling aspect of the entire story was Murphy telling Rodgers, "don't be the problem." Throughout this entire offseason it's been very obvious to me that Murphy and Gutekunst have felt that Rodgers isn't playing the way that he should be, and this entire coaching search was setup to find someone who could get Rodgers back to playing like MVP style Rodgers. We will see if the plan works.
I have trouble believing that Rodgers "hated" McCarthy from the moment they met and then things got worse. I'm sure he was pissed that McCarthy passed on him, but from the outside it seems like they were pretty close for a period of years, at minimum, through the Super Bowl season.
My biggest concern with Rodgers moving forward is how he handles a new, rookie head coach, that HAS to earn the respect of the team in order to be successful. If Rodgers undermines him, it could completely undercut LaFleur's credibility with the rest of the team. This means even if Rodgers see's something that LaFleur doesn't, and Rodgers is right and LaFleur's wrong, it's better to go with LaFleur's decision and go the wrong direction for the sake of the team. I think Rodgers will struggle with that greatly and if he does go above LaFleur and go rogue, it could cut the legs out from LaFleur before they truly even get started.
I don't believe for one second that Mike McCarthy has a low football IQ. I do believe that his knowledge of the NFL may have been slightly outdated and that it was in need of some upgrades. I believe this offseason will be a perfect time for McCarthy to fine tune his coaching and philosophy and it sounds like he's already doing so per his interview with Rob Demovsky.
I hate, hate, hate the idea of the young receivers being stuck between doing what Rodgers is asking and what the coaches are asking. What an awful spot to be in. I don't envy them in that situation whatsoever and give them all the credit in the world for trying to play through it.
"Virtually all of them agree this era of Packers football is missing rings."
It's hard not to read this entire article and just want to burn everything to the ground and start over. Obviously this is what Murphy felt as well as he's basically burnt down the entire structure of the team from veteran players, to almost the entire coaching staff to a big chunk of the front office in the past couple of years. We'll see if enough of the problem was rooted out.
This offseason and subsequent 2019 season will go down as the turning point in the Packers' franchise one way or the other. It will either be the revitalization that Rodgers and the organization needed, or the last step towards a massive rebuild that will eventually cost LaFleur, Gutekunst, and Murphy their jobs.
I honestly don't care who was more wrong between McCarthy/Rodgers, I'm just pissed it got to the way it did.
It seems obvious, but letting go of Alex Van Pelt seemed like a bad move at the time and a worse move in hindsight.
I was 100% on board with McCarthy getting one more year with a general manager who was willing to actually acquire talent for him in 2018. But... if these issues between Rodgers and McCarthy were happening and Murphy and company knew about them in advance, then they absolutely waited at least one year too long to make the coaching change.
McCarthy having a larger focus on the offense than he did the defense seems like the least surprising aspect of this article. I can see why the defensive players would feel slighted.
I want Rodgers to go out and have fun again in 2019. It sounds stupid and silly but if he's having fun, everyone's having fun. Bring back the belt, compete like hell, and go kick everyone's ass.
Nobody knows how this will end, and I'm hoping for the best. I have reservations, but this is going to be such a fun season to watch. I hope everything clicks, because prime, chip-on-his-shoulder Aaron Rodgers is my favorite Aaron Rodgers.
Good luck Matt LaFleur.
Go Pack Go!