You could point to a lot of things for the Green Bay Packers failure of a 2012 season, but quarterback Aaron Rodgers pointed to one thing we’ve noted several times before — the Packers seemed disinterested at times.
Rodgers says the 2012 Packers lacked hunger and weren’t united. Neither of these things surprises us.
Two games in particular demonstrate it.
In October, the Packers played a clearly overmatched Jacksonville team in Lambeau Field. This is a team that went on to finish the season with two wins. Instead of hammering the Jaguars from start to finish, the Packers turned in one of the most uninspiring, ho-hum performances I can remember — ever. They won 24-15. Instead of putting up 24, they should have won by 24. They let a terrible team without its best player (Maurice Jones-Drew was injured) hang around for most of the day, while letting one of the league’s worst starting quarterbacks (Blaine Gabbert) throw for a season-high 303 yards.
Then there was the November game with the Giants. The Packers came out flat from the beginning and got pounded more thoroughly than they have by anyone all season — to the tune of 38-10. The game was over by halftime. I’ve never seen a Green Bay team play with less pride and less fire than the assholes who showed up on that day in New Jersey. An embarrassment.
So here’s what Rodgers had to say.
“We need to just figure some things out within the locker room, I think, and maybe just think hard about what was so special about that 2010 team that won the Super Bowl, and try to channel some of those emotions and ideas and thoughts and feelings and incorporate some of that stuff at the beginning of this year when we reconvene in April and kind of set the vision then.
“It was a disjointed year [in 2011], the first year out of the lockout situation, the year we had. I know [coach Mike McCarthy] has said some of the OTAs didn’t go the way the wanted them to this year. So we need to do a better job as leaders of setting the vision early and holding guys accountable for falling in line.”
Asked what made 2010 so special, Rodgers said:
“I think there were two things in particular most people would agree with. One, there was a very strong appreciation for the opportunity. For whatever reason the appreciation wasn’t the same this year. The guys [in 2010] were just really thankful to have a job in some cases, some of the guys we brought in, but also thankful to get into the playoffs and be somewhere where they felt special and they felt important. It was very united group, more than we’ve had in any of the eight years here I’ve been a part of.
“And the second is we were hungry. We hadn’t done it before. There were a lot of doubters out there. It’s hard, I think, when you have success to be able to have that same amount of hunger that you had when you haven’t had that kind of success before. We need to figure out how to do get back to that place.”
There are all kinds of excuses out there, but it all comes down to motivation. That comes down to coaching and leadership.
The Packers aren’t being motivated properly. Hell, the lengths the coaching staff goes to to defend these guys is crazy. If you were to listen to Mike McCarthy, no one ever does anything wrong — just need to get better at this or make some adjustments with that and everything will be fine. No wonder there’s no fire under anyone’s ass to play harder — very rarely does anyone lose their job.
In Green Bay, that only happens by accident. Underperforming center Jeff Saturday only got replaced because the Packers saw Evan Dietrich-Smith performing well at another position. They only saw that because other guys got injured. Meanwhile, the Packers stuck with struggling kicker Mason Crosby all season. They didn’t even look at another kicker, much less bring in any competition.
And A.J. Hawk… don’t even get me started…
The point is, guys aren’t being held accountable anymore. Once you’re one of the boys, you’re one of the boys. That’s the problem here and it isn’t Rodgers’ job to fix it.
Take a look at New England. They make a run just about every year and they have a similar talent level as the Packers. What’s different?
For one, they churn that roster all season. If someone isn’t performing, they’re not afraid to replace him. They take on rejects and nobodies who fit their system and they win.
Guys who’ve been tossed on the scrap heap before usually motivate themselves. Bill Belichick isn’t a rah-rah guy, but he keeps his players focused and accountable.
The Patriots end up in the Super Bowl more often not.
It’s pretty clear, the problem lies at the top for the Packers.
Wondering where Jason Wilde’s name is in the article. These quotes are from his show with Aaron.
Wilde’s article is hot linked at the top. Pretty clear, Brian.
AJ Hawk needs to go, now.
This was spot on!!! I was very surprised to no one in any of the defensive players faces during that game on Saturday. Everyone was just milling around the sideline, waiting for the plane ride home. The other examples you listed about no fire were exactly right as well. No one seemed real excited this year and they seem to be stuck with the “if we show up, we win” attitude. That seemed to work for a time in 2011 after the Super Bowl year, but now no one is afraid of the Packers and they are just getting pushed around the field all game!!!
I didnt think we had too bad of a year, Not as exciting as the last 3 but you’re not going to win every year. The difference is that in 2010 it was a team effort where as for the past 2 years its been the aaron rodgers show. It doesnt seem like anyone other than rodgers has put the team on their back.
Think back to 2010 and the success we had. How many of those guys that were riding the pine ended up playing and being better than the guys they replaced?
Pack Attack….hook us up with some figures on that because part of me always felt a big part of the Packers success that year was not because of talent evaluation, it was because guys got and hurt and better players replaced them.
Good article Monty. Spot on.
Maybe a free agency signing would bring some fire to the locker room. At least on the defensive side of the ball. They gotta do something because this team, as it is, is good enough to make the playoff but not win in the playoffs. I know that sounds crazy but our aspirations are to win the Superbowl now, and we actually have the talent to do it. That won’t always be the case.
If McCarthy can’t find a way to fire up this team then maybe it’s time to look for someone who can.
GREAT ARTICLE!!!!….It’s about time accountability got talked about. I talked all last season that the defense needed accountability…But people like iltarion would get mad and say they were 15-1…Even Dom Capers last season, when asked what was wrong with the defense said…” We’re fine, were winning games, we have Aaron Rodgers.” Thats what i’m talking about. No one has to seem to be accountable…From Ted Thompson down………We rarely hear from TT…because he doesnt like to be questioned..or have to account for all these shitty draft picks…..Mike McCarthy…NO FIRE….Everything is fucking fine…..Dom Capers…..Where has he been?…..I didnt see him say anything all season?…..I dont even know if he has a pulse…What did he say after the playoff game?…..I didnt see him talk at all. Did he just grab his marbles and go home quickly instead of….god forbid, getting in front of reporters. Same with TT. I dont blame the players…..They just seem to have the same attitude as management’s attitude of “oh well”
Judge Robert Parins and his clowns….had no interest in winning back in the 70’s and 80’s…that was the Boys Club back then, living of the Glory years of the 60’s for over 20 years…Lets not go through that bull shit again.
The biggest problem is at the line of scrimmage…on both sides of the ball….Thats why the rest of the league laughs at us and calls us soft…Because WE ARE……our O line and D line consistently get out muscled. TT’s 1st and 2nd round picks in the last 3 years, arent helping any of that……We need 1st and 2nd round picks that can play……If they cant get on the field and actually play football field, they’re not worth shit….How many years does a broken leg take to heal Sherrod?…Bust…..That clown couldnt beat out Marshall Newhouse when he was healthy, and Newhouse sucks.
This shit pisses me off. This is the same shit that was said after the Pack lost last year. There is something wrong when a team admits 2 years in a row that it lacked motivation and hunger. Something seriously wrong. This also is not the first time that Aaron has mentioned the locker room to the press. Gee I wonder who he could be talking about (*cough *cough: Finley, Williams..). Whatever happened to the Packer belief in having only quality guys in the locker room regardless of talent? I think I have an idea: MM is so hugely arrogant (and evenly you supporters have to admit that) that he believes he can control even guys like Finley. The problem is MM cant be in the locker room with these guys all the time, so the players have to put up with ass hats like Finley whenever the coaches arent around.
Look at what the Viqueens did this year despite having a pretty average talent level. Do you think any of that has to do with having a bad ass guy, and leader, like Adrian Peterson in the locker room and on the field?
I think watching TWill’s play in 3 of the last 4 football games, his lack of tackling, his “oh well no biggie” attitude with the press, his demeanor on the sideline….that spoke volumes to me about the attitude of this team and some of its players.
I know we have had a winning football team and I am thankful for that. However, I am really starting to fear that we are going to watch 2 of the greatest Packer players of all time, ARodge and Claymaker, spend there careers playing for a team (and a coach) who is good, but not good enough.
we’ve had it pretty sweet as Packers fans since the 90’s. The Pack has been competitive almost every year, more times in the playoffs than not, and 2 SB trophies. 2 starting QB’s who were/are rated at the top of the league, not many assholes that are getting arrested in the offseason, great facilities and a top notch upgrade to the stadium that is the crown jewel of the league. Not to mention that going to a Packers home game is the best experience in the NFL, and one of the best in any sport. Don’t get me wrong, I hate losing, particularly in the playoffs. LOSING SUCKS! I can’t sleep after a game like our last one and I feel crappy for a long time. But look around the league. We are one of the best teams in the NFL. Look no further than our own division. In the NFC North: we have 13 titles, including 4 SBs, last 2 yrs ago, ; Chicago has 9 titles, one SB, and it hasn’t won a title in 27 years; Detroit has 4 titles and hasn’t even been in a SB, last title was 55 years ago; the purple pussies have zero titles and 4 SB losses. We’ve got a chance every year to win all! New England hasn’t won a tile for 8 years….lost 2 SBs which sucks even worse than losing in the playoffs! I HATE TO LOSE but sniping at OUR team doesn’ really help. It just gets you more pissed off when you we could have won it all. Enjoy it while you can, it might not be like this forever……………..
People seem to have forgotten the 4-12 2005 team with Mike Sherman running it all. It only took the losses of 2 players (Javon Walker, Ahman Green) to go from 10+ wins a season to picking #5 in the draft. Yes, it can go back to that real quick.
Not with this team though. The past 3-4 years the stars on the team have dropped like flies but their is enough depth to remain competitive.
THAT IS WHAT TT AND MM HAVE DONE FOR THIS FRANCHISE!!
Thats sweet Jolly….The reason the Packers were horrible in 2005 was basically Favre played one of the worst seasons of his career.
Favre threw 20 tds….29 interceptions, had 8 fumbles…Finished with a passer rating of 70.9. Think that may have had something to do with it?
Yes, you are right. It had nothing to do with the loss of someone who had been racking up consecutive seasons of 2,000+ all purpose yards. Favre definitely had not grown accustomed to having the services the Ahman provided (being arguably THE BEST BACK in the league in pass protection AND as a solid check down receiver)
Losing the top receiving threat was also minor and did not contribute to Brent’s dismal stats.
Rodgers was talking about the leaders in the locker room, not the coaching staff.
No surprise guys would lose hunger after winning a title. Really, I think that is the ultimate cop out. We just weren’t hungry. Or, maybe you just weren’t that great and got beat by a better team.
The Packers need to get better- mentally, physically, all of the above. If that includes getting hungrier, sure.
I find it curious that simply MAKING IT to the Super Bowl is apparently the Holy Grail for Monty. It has been nearly a decade since the Patriots won it. The Packers should be more like the Patriots and make it to the Super Bowl before getting beat, I guess.
The Pats not only are always good, like the Packers, but they play in the AFC, which might have something to do with them making the Super Bowl more often.
Anyway, that is heady company to be putting MM in, comparing him with Bill Belichick, who is probably one of the 5 best NFL coaches ever. Nice compliment.
I’ve been saying this shit for two seasons. Great article but better observations by Rodgers. If you look at how Brady grew as a leader on the Patriots I hope Rodgers is taking note. This ties into the lack of intensity and focus on the defensive side of things. The personnel on the Packers is as good as any teams, but organizing them and keeping them hungry like caged fucking tigers is all the difference. How does the leadership question get addressed?