Attempts to stonewall on the Josh Sitton move aren’t working and won’t work.
The astonishing and mysterious release of All Pro guard Josh Sitton last Saturday is of such a magnitude that the truth will leak out, drip by drip by drip.
It’s already happening — and it was none other than head coach Mike McCarthy himself who after only a day or so provided us all with this clue: “The locker room is the most important room in the building, frankly, in my opinion.”
The reference must be to what Sitton said in the locker room right after the Arizona Cardinals gave the Packers their most humiliating defeat in the McCarthy era, a 38-8 trouncing last November: “I think the philosophy of our offense has changed or needs to change or whatever you want to say. We need to be a team that goes out there and runs it 30 times a game… we haven’t been able to do that (in the run game). But I think our recipe for success, yeah I think it has changed.”
Here’s what McCarthy had to say about Sitton’s comments: “Josh Sitton needs to play guard.”
Coincidentally, McCarthy’s foremost priority this season is to establish a dominating run attack.
The other quote seized upon by reporters in that gloomy locker room was by Sitton’s fellow guard, T.J. Lang: “It’s not how you want to play leading into the playoffs. We’ve got to find a way to get better quick.”
Connecting the dots, we now know that on the same day early in training camp, the two guards were told there would be no contract renewal talks with either during the upcoming season — not exactly the greatest way to inspire the troops. I’m not sure if there were further acts that might be termed insubordination, though it’s clear McCarthy took Sitton’s comments last November as a very personal affront.
As I’ve said earlier, the head coach — and he is certainly the key player in the dismissal of a starting player, not GM Ted Thompson — has developed an ego that can’t abide by any form of criticism. Other circumstances — the failure to seek a trade, the refusal to let Sitton play out the final year of his contract, the incredible timing of the move, how everyone on the team was blind-sided by it — denote this was a personal act of vindictiveness.
Does anyone think such a punitive action was appropriate for the violation that the distraught player might have committed. Many coaches would be upset at a player who wasn’t filled with emotion after such a humbling loss.
As the 2015 season was approaching, in a Chicago Tribune story headed “Entering 10th season as Packers coach, Mike McCarthy constantly evolving,” Aaron Rodgers praised his boss McCarthy thusly: “The little things don’t bother him as much anymore, and he is very in time with the team. He’s very relational with players. It shows us how much he cares about each one of us by the way he treats us and takes care of us.”
I guess our former working-class guard never perfected the art of stroking egos like our illustrious quarterback has.