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The McCarthy and Rodgers Divide

Aaron Rodgers

In the past month, there has been enough smoke rafting up from interview innuendo and the postgame pressers to suggest there is some semblance of a fire burning within the Green Bay Packers organization, even among the vital cogs that make the machine go.

As of yet, no one has had the balls to come out and say it, not even us. Even Packers watchdog Bob McGinn has only suggested it, leaving the reader to reach their own conclusion.

So, with Monty off to Arizona for the weekend, let’s do what Total Packers was intended for and say it straight out — Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers have issues.

Make no mistake, they would be the first to tell you that they don’t. Neither have anything to gain by suggesting a rift publicly.

The Packers have won three games in a row. Yeah, by the talk on Packer radio, on social media, or the body language of Aaron Rodgers, you wouldn’t know that.

After the Packers beat the Cowboys and appeared to show some offensive life, Rodgers was quick to derail the notion that Mike McCarthy taking over the play-calling was the reason. He practically led off his post game presser by saying, “It’s the execution, not the play-calling.”

Most of us assumed this was just the company line to protect Tom Clements — a line Rodgers would especially hold since Clements was his boy. The word was Rodgers wasn’t overly thrilled with the move. Again, that’s understandable considering Rodgers’ relationship with Clements.

However, it all began to take on a different character after the Packers beat the Raiders. Just when Mike McCarthy was angrily trying to shift the focus from the Packers’ inert offense, Rodgers was having none of it. He was as downcast as he usually is in a loss and was quick to point out that the offense was “terrible,” especially during a 97-yard first half. Rodgers even went so far as to say the offense had “no direction,” which appears to fly directly in the face of not only McCarthy, but also in Rodgers’ own assertion that, “It’s the execution, not the play-calling.”

Excuse me for reading between the lines, but the reason Rodgers would willingly contradict himself seems obvious. He didn’t want McCarthy getting the credit for the win over the Cowboys and didn’t want McCarthy to avoid the blame for the weak offensive performance against the Raiders. It’s not that the play-calling makes no difference; it’s that Mike McCarthy’s play-calling makes no difference. And the only thing missing from Rodgers’ curt post game presser were the words, “See, I told you so!”

The narrative became more convincing when McGinn wrote a piece midweek that suggested Tom Clements gave Rodgers more control over the offense. In essence, during the first 13 weeks,the offense was about as much Rodgers’ offense as it was Clements’. That offense, whose 23rd-ranked passing attack forced McCarthy to unplug it, presumably against his own wishes, wasn’t working and as is typical for these type of situations, I’m sure the argument wasn’t whether it was working or not, but rather WHEN to give up on it.

Understandably, Rodgers probably wanted to get through the season. After all, in his mind, the play of the receivers, tight ends and running backs probably had more to do with the offense failing than the play-calling. He might have even considered his own play as a factor, which currently sees him 12th in QB rating and 28th in yards per pass — both stats Rodgers has made a career of dominating.

In that sense, McCarthy deserves credit for looking beyond the players and blaming the system or at least, whatever was at fault, the results speak for themselves and a change needs to be made.

The Packers have won twice since then, but the passing attack hasn’t looked any different. I think we can all assume by now that the passing offense isn’t going to look any different as it is presently constituted. That means the only way to success this season is through the defense and the running game, with Aaron Rodgers essentially reduced to a very well-paid game manager. In effect, Rodgers and Russell Wilson appear to have flipped responsibilities.

Just this week, McGinn has wondered how that reality sits with Aaron Rodgers. So far, he doesn’t appear very happy with it.

We can all sit back and hope that the return of Jordy Nelson next season will fix all that is broken. Then, presumably, the Packers will return to being a well-oiled machine on offense, and any issues between Rodgers and McCarthy will go back to being covered by the cloak of success.

Maybe. It is also possible that the four-minute mark of the NFC Championship in Seattle is the highwater mark of the Mike McCarthy era, post 2010. In other words, the beginning of the end. It is possible that a fire was lit in the frustration of that epic defeat: a fire that McCarthy attempted to stomp out by putting Tom Clements between himself and Rodgers.

But the fire didn’t smother. It lived on. And another playoff loss will have to leave us wondering, how long before the entire house burns down?

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Shawn

Shawn Neuser attended UWGB and lives and works in Green Bay. He enjoys long walks on the beach and being intimate with game film.

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54 Comments

  1. Dean December 26, 2015

    It’s time to step off and get off the ego and play for the fans! Time to step up as professionals of the game. Your fans deserve it!!!

  2. John D December 26, 2015

    Aaron needs to grow up. As MM said, they’re 10-4 and lost 3 games on the final play. AR’s shitty attitude is not helping the team. His mocking and disrespect of the head coach shows the younger players that it’s ok to be disrespectful and mock authority. I don’t see AR making the receivers better as Favre, Brady, Manning have done in the past.

    I’d rather trade AR for a boat-load of picks and keep the HC if he keeps up the spoiled baby routine.

    1. Skinny December 26, 2015

      McCarthy is going to retire within the next couple seasons. Mark it down, laugh all you want, hes been here 10 years, that’s the shelf life for coaches who stay in one place. Doesn’t matter how good or what you have done in the past. No way in hell him and Rodgers stay together for the rest of Rodgers career, no way.

  3. V December 26, 2015

    Would you rather have Aaron’s shit or Johnny Footballs?
    Bottom line is that the team, as a whole, needs to identify more leader-types in the drafts going forward to take the pressure off of these two. It’s clear Aaron is a lead by example, not rah rah kind of guy. So, we need to find more Mike Daniels and John Kuhns to keep this engine running smoothly.

  4. MMK December 26, 2015

    We are all dumber for having listened to what you just said

  5. Paul December 26, 2015

    Well written.

  6. Remedy December 26, 2015

    Fat Mike is overrated, and he’s overrated because of the play of #12

    Fuckin guy has to clamor publicly for the goddamn receiver who can run a competent route. He knows this shitty offense won’t do anything in the playoffs, yet Fat Mike is mumbling about how a W is a W

  7. Ben December 26, 2015

    That might be the single most ignorant thing I have ever read! Trade Rodgers for draft picks?!!? Yea because franchise quarterbacks are just a dime a dozen. My god! This is a sport of “TEAM” and muy opinion is that there are 53 players and numerous coaches that all need to get their shit together if they want to accomplish their goals.

  8. icebowl December 26, 2015

    Thanks Shawn for that depressing X-Mas gift, what makes it sadder is that every word of it is highly possible…
    I think we’re seeing the cheese crumble due to mismanagement and player attitude…

    Given that the Vikings, Bears and Lions are all on the verge of coming out of their respective dark ages – we fans could be headed back to seasons where beating the Bears one time is considered a success….

    Hoping, as Dean points out that they can get their respective shit together and at least go out with a blast this off-season ….

  9. ay hombre December 26, 2015

    Trade Rodgers and McCarthy. Separately of course. Get two #1’s for Rodgers and maybe a player. Get one #1 for McCarthy. Roll with Hundley, have five number ones in the next two drafts and a ton of cash to get Bill Cowher.

    You can’t trade Rodgers for the sake of keeping McCarthy. That would be seriously fucking stupid. At the same time you can’t allow Rodgers to dictate who the coach is and give him that power.

    They succeeded together and failed together and each deserves a fresh start. If they can’t get along then send them both packing and reboot.

    We’d be in the Super Bowl in three years.

    1. ferris December 26, 2015

      You’re high. Trade McCarthy???!!!! That has to be the most idiotic comment ever written here. Coaches get fired not traded. The NFL is about players. If you have better players you win more games. ANY coach can be replaced, Aaron Rodgers cannot. Just ask the Bears if they would give 2 1’s for him. They would send Jay Cutler to deliver the you have a deal message. Yeah Hundley is the answer, go smoke another bowl, Did you say trade Rodgers last year?

      1. ay hombre December 26, 2015

        He thinks he’s bigger than the coach. Bigger than the team. Same as Brett. Same as Woodson. The end is near.

      2. Shawn December 26, 2015

        Poor timing considering the Saints wanting to trade Sean Payton was all over the news just last week. So, indeed, coaches CAN be traded. Nothing idiotic about it.
        Also, any PLAYER can also be replaced. Just ask Brett.

        1. Phatgzus December 26, 2015

          Yes, you CAN trade coaches, however, I disagree that there’s nothing idiotic about it., especially when the coach is as successful as MM and Payton have been-just look at what John Gruden did to Oakland the year after he was traded.

        2. Skinny December 26, 2015

          Exactly, and nobody thought Holmgren would leave Favre either.

    2. Phatgzus December 26, 2015

      Trade a Super Bowl-winning coach with one of the best win percentages in not only the history of the most successful NFL franchise of all time but the entire NFL along with arguably the most talented QB, a future HoFer in the prime of his career?! Did you fall on the fucking and crack your thick skull open? Seriously have someone take you to the hospital for x-rays, a MRI, EEG, the works, because there’s something wrong with you’re brain-over-the-goddamn-rainbow, Desperate Housewives levels of crazy. Seriously, ho-ly shit, thank you for playing this week’s edition of “Should We or Shouldn’t We Take the Advice of the Galactically Stupid?”

      1. icebowl December 26, 2015

        Thanks for the “Did we give up when the Nazis bombed Pearl Harbor…..” rant of the day Phat-G!!!

      2. icebowl December 26, 2015

        Still laughing at “Galactically Stoopid” …
        Thanks dude !

        1. Phatgzus December 26, 2015

          Yeah, A Few Good Men has some great lines.

      3. Phatgzus December 26, 2015

        “…fall on the (ice)”
        “…your*

      4. Shawn December 26, 2015

        Iltarion used that line many times, FatJC. Or was I the one who used it?
        Anyway, no ripping now.

  10. John December 26, 2015

    Rogers is not and never has been a leader. He whines too much. You don’t hear that from any other qb’s in our division including Cutlet. Starting to miss good ‘ol #4

  11. Jschizl December 26, 2015

    Sea hawks need fans crybaby traitors

  12. Jschizl December 26, 2015

    Hombre u r a ducking Vikings fan turncoat bitch

    1. ay hombre December 26, 2015

      No way no how. I’m for the green and gold all the way. You can’t let a QB dictate who is coach and you can’t choose any coach over ARodge. It would seem to be at an impasse.

      Now if they can put all this bullshit behind them and work together then this is all a moot point.

      1. Phatgzus December 26, 2015

        Aaron Rodgers is not dictating who is coach, we don’t even know that this “lack of direction” comment is even directed at the playcalling. It could very well mean that this team doesn’t have an identity and that’s down to execution even more so than the playcalling.

    2. icebowl December 26, 2015

      J, I think you’re onto hombre !!!

  13. Salazar December 26, 2015

    So he’s willing to admit there’s a problem now that McCarthy owns it? Didn’t hear this stuff when the Rodgers/Clements offense was just as bad. Weak shit, Aaron.

    1. ay hombre December 26, 2015

      I don’t think we heard Rodgers saying they were doing great though either. As Shawn states in this excellent piece, he is clearly not about to allow McCarthy claim some grand change has saved the day.

      I truly believe he knows as long as they keep winning McCarthy’s job is never in jeopardy. And when you’re the best quarterback in the game and flat out KNOW your presence is worth about 8 wins a year…something’s gotta give.

      I would be for Rodgers staying and McCarthy going as I have long said McCarthy is not a cerebral coach. He’s a cement head and Rodgers knows it and has known it for some time. The only way that happens though is if ARodge pulls his shit together and starts whistling a happy tune. There’s no way they make a head coach change based on a player. No way. Rodgers has to toe the company line so when the Packers move on from McCarthy or he suddenly retires this offseason to spend more time with his family, it doesn’t look like ARodge’s doing.

      Even then…I don’t think they move a coach because of the player which is why I say if one goes they both go. It’s not fair to make Thompson guess and have to hear about it.

      Again, my hope is they work it out but if Big Mac wanted to retire that would be even better. Don’t rule it out, he does have a lot of kids and his young brother passed away at a young age. With this story, nothing is out of the question in my estimation.

      1. Phatgzus December 26, 2015

        LMFAO, not a “cerebral” coach? okay. He just so happens to be one of the most innovative offensive minds in the game-look at how he uses Cobb and Montgomery in the backfield, along with his TEs, or splits his RBs out wide at times, or how he moved Matthews inside. Not “cerebral”? GTFO. You know who WAS celebrated for being “cerebral” Mark Fucking Trestman.

  14. Packer Bob December 26, 2015

    Total Packers. You will never find a more wretched hive of stupidity and ignorance.

    1. Phatgzus December 26, 2015

      Well-played, O-WK.

  15. Brad December 26, 2015

    I used to think AR was having attitude problems, but when your receivers are only catching about half of the catchable balls, that would drive any QB nuts. He demands excellence of himself, and the rest of the team.

  16. Phatgzus December 26, 2015

    For those of you who think MM is shot and needs to disappear despite his history of success, with whom would the Packers supplant him? Coax Harbaugh out of Michigan? Get Chris Jackie to hold Children’s daughter for ransom? Tell Gruden he can run Spider 2 Y Banana every play if he leaves the broadcasters’ booth? Promise Brian Billick we’ll sign a potential murderer if he gives up a cushy analyst Bob. Put a gun to Bill Cowher’s head and force him to coach the Packers?

    1. Phatgzus December 26, 2015

      shit*

  17. ay hombre December 26, 2015

    You are exactly what Rodgers is sick of, people buying into this bullshit that Mike McCarthy is some offensive genius. Give me Aaron Rodgers and the collection of talent Ted has accumulated and I’ll win the piece of shit NFC North devoid of Hall of Fame quarterbacks every year.

    If they don’t work it out, one or both has gone. Bank on it.

    1. Phatgzus December 26, 2015

      You’re Rodgers’ cortical homunculus now, eh? LMFAO, you’d be lucky to win 4 games with Aaron Rodgers as your QB, ya fuckin’ pistachio. A team led by you would turn on itself halfway through the season.

  18. ay hombre December 26, 2015

    It could very well mean you think your opinions are somehow more factual than others. Hint: They’re not.

  19. ay hombre December 26, 2015

    This explains your reoccurring presence here Bob.

  20. Phatgzus December 26, 2015

    Gotta disagree with you Shawn, I think you’re off the mark and it all comes down to the interpretation of having no direction. I think that is just another way of saying that the team, or at least the offense, has no identity and THAT IS down to execution, ultimately.

    I do believe Rodgers and MM are not completely in agreement right now, that’s going to happen when you have 2 competitive, people dealing with difficulties, and this certainly wouldn’t be the first time for these 2. Unlike many, I don’t see this as a bad thing: it shows they’re communicating and they both have a strong desire to win (which some seem to think, laughably so, that Aaron doesn’t possess, when in fact he’s Ash Fuckin Ketchum sans the incompetence-he wants to be the best there ever was). Ultimately that should allow them to iron out at least some of these offensive woes (in hoping for 3rd-down conversion rate).

    I don’t think this was a shot at MM because I believe Rodgers respects him as a leader, strategist, and person, and publicly denigrating another, especially someone you respect is not what classy, intelligent people do. I could be wrong, but years of watching these 2 gives me confidence that I’m not.

  21. ay hombre December 26, 2015

    At least you stated it like an opinion, but Rodgers has showed McCarthy up on many occasions. There is certainly evidence to support there has been friction or at least some disrespect from AR to MM for a long time.

    1. Phatgzus December 26, 2015

      Everything I (and anyone else) say regarding issues that aren’t established factvis an opinion, even if not don’t prefaced so, that should be obvious-nothing anyone says is fact solely on the basis that they said so-except perhaps said being is God.

  22. Pack Rat December 26, 2015

    This is a poorly composed piece of useless garbage. Poorly written an no factual content whatsoever. Nothing but ridiculous speculation on the writers part, no facts to back up his salacious innuendo, the stupidest conclusions drawn from pure conjecture. The proposals are infantile and so far beyond stupid they are lapping themselves on a fast track of idiots.
    QUESTION: have you ever interviewed either McCarthy or Rodgers? Ever been privy to the inner workings of the Packers? Have you ever taken a journalism class? So you have any class or dignity at all?
    Shame on you for passing this insane rant off as a legitimate journalistic view. And shame on me for having wasted the time it took to read and respond to it.
    This is reckless, pointless and irresponsible. The gullible and uneducated and underinformed will take this this tripe to heart. Anyone with a brain larger than a LeSeur Pea will file this ‘article’ in an appropriate place. The bottom of a trash can would be commensurate.

    1. Shawn December 26, 2015

      Awesome. I approved this comment because it would be a damn shame for the world not to get to see it. Good stuff. Perhaps you should aim a little higher? Like an existential review of David Copperfield?

      And having taken a journalism class, I can tell you that means exactly shit.

  23. ay hombre December 26, 2015

    I also commend Shawn for his story several weeks back where he stated a sinister view of McCarthy’s motives was that he wanted to come in and be the savior for the season. Interestingly he decided to do it before arguably the softest piece of the schedule. Rodgers behavior lies along the idea that maybe this theory is at play.

  24. Margie December 26, 2015

    Honestly what any one of us thinks doesn’t matter. The Packers will play the way they play based on their hard work and effort.It doesn’t matter what you or I think they should do with Mike McCarthy or Aaron Rodgers. They will do what they think is best and what they want to do. Maybe blaming people left and right is what is causing all the problems. True, the Packers are not playing up to their potential but there is nothing we as fans can do about it. However I do agree that this problem no matter what it is needs to be fixed. So as a Packer fan myself, I’m advising you to sit back, relax, and try to enjoy the ride.

  25. Stan Dowell December 27, 2015

    I agree Aarons receivers are dropping a lot of ball that should be caught. Go Aaron and Packers

  26. dawg December 27, 2015

    Let me guess…this site is really run by Lions fans right?

  27. rebelgb December 27, 2015

    Maybe the best piece ive ever read on this site. Hats off to Shawn. Pack Rat is either a bot or a mentally retarded Vikings fan, which makes him non exclusive.

    If it is a rift between Rodgers and McCarthy I take Rodgers every fucking time. HoF QB’s are extremely hard to come by. Pig headed arrogant coaches with a winning record ARE NOT!

  28. golfnut December 28, 2015

    its not Rogers who is the problem, they need a running back and a line to open up holes. With this rogers would be great again. as far as the coach is concerned he doesn’t have a clue and the packers should be looking for a replacement

  29. Packattack January 6, 2016

    I say can McCarthy, Rodgers has been successful despite him.. Bring back Mike Sherman!

  30. mark January 20, 2016

    It is VERY possible it IS NOT the play calling. It could be the fact that McCarthy calling the plays means that McCarthy will be critiquing why the plays he called and why they DID NOT WORK and he will pick out and criticize the players that did not do the job on the play. In short the players play harder for McCarthy because he will be grading everything.

  31. Dan February 1, 2016

    Wow learn how to spell fuck head! Your the fucking idiot that fracked his head and leaked his teaspoon of brains he had on his bib. Fucking A, WOW! People like you make Packer fans pretend to be Viking fans! Enough said.

  32. Dan February 1, 2016

    Oh that last comment was for fat puss. Oh I mean phatguz