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Fault Lines Seen in Packers’ 2018 Press Conferences

There have been a lot of comments made in the Green Bay Packers’ press conferences that have occurred since the season ended. Primarily there was the Mark Murphy presser of January 2, the season-ending press conference by coach Mike McCarthy, and the introduction of new coaches on January 24. After listening to them again, I’ve come up with some comments that did not get the attention they deserved.

On GM Brian Gutekunst

Mike McCarthy: “Communication between Brian (Gutekunst) and I, you know, it’s progressing.”

The norm from McCarthy is to assure the faithful that everything is hunky-dory. This quick comment by Big Mike departs from his routine. There is either some friction there, or McCarthy is continuing his efforts to assert himself as the dominant male of the herd.

Since both men have been with the same organization for at least 12 years, you’d think their relationship would be on stronger footing.

This is consistent with other signs that McCarthy keeps pushing to assert his superiority and control – over Gutekunst and Russ Ball.

These guys need to start working as a team – and working in the team’s best interests, not just out of self-interest. A small clue, but worrisome nonetheless.

On Mark Murphy

Mike McCarthy: (When questioned about the front office structural changes) “It’s been going great. I’ve talked to Mark more in the last three weeks than in the previous 12 years.” (paraphrased)

Total Packers, pretty much alone, has repeatedly expressed a concern that the CEO has had minimal involvement in football operations up to now – but suddenly he’s assumed more direct control and responsibility over them. McCarthy’s off-hand comment is proof that Murphy has indeed stayed hands-off concerning football affairs and details until now.

Is Total Packers the only outfit that’s concerned about Mark Murphy suddenly immersing himself in football operations after showing so little interest in it for 12 years?

On QB Aaron Rodgers

Mike McCarthy: “I thought number 12 had a little trouble changing the huddle after year 12.”

This came out of nowhere, and disappeared just as quickly in Big Mike’s season-ending wrap-up. Any criticism of Aaron Rodgers by Big Mike is newsworthy, and calls for analysis. You can bet Aaron heard about the comment. I confess I don’t know precisely what “changing the huddle” refers to, and what trouble Rodgers might have been having with regard to it? What I do know is that McCarthy seldom critiques Aaron Rodgers publicly.

On Coaching Changes

McCarthy: “Coaches are salesmen.”

Big Mike explained further that the different coaches just have different ways of saying the same thing. My reading of this is that while the names and faces of the coaching staff have changed greatly, there aren’t many changes in store re: structure, schemes, formations, plays, techniques, etc. McCarthy’s view seems to be that the coaching changes are mostly an effort to find new ways of motivating the players.

There’s nothing wrong with that goal, but more visceral changes are needed for this team to reverse its course. I would have liked McCarthy to indicate that the new people he brought in were going to bring about more major and substantive transformations.

Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.



  1. PF4L February 9, 2018

    It doesn’t matter what happened, what’s not right, distrust, saying one thing but doing another, power grabs, everyone isn’t working together, lack of communication. people putting their own interest above the team.

    There is one easy fix for all of that, Rodgers should just except 30% less than his market value, and that will fix all past sins. Yea….i know what you’re thinking…PF4L is a genius. I just didn’t want to blow my own horn.

  2. PF4L February 9, 2018

    So seriously…….Rob has it correct, when all this went down, it got real troubling, real fast.

    I will generalize instead of going into particular detail as i’d be here for hours typing.

    When it was first announced that TT was “reassigned”. I think most all of us had a great big smile on our face, we saw a shining light at the end of the tunnel. Lets be honest….we were giddy and jubilant, myself included.

    For me, that didn’t even last a full day. The problem was, the Packers held a news conferences, and started to….talk. The more we heard, the more we started scratching our head asking ourselves, what the fuck is going on here?

    This continued for a week or so. The more they talked, the more pissed off Packer fans got. So the question is why the angst all of sudden? For me…it was because of things i didn’t now. Some things that i thought were serious problems in the building were confirmed. It was because most of the players involved were staying in the building. It was because of the failures of one man, that Murphy thought he needed to change the whole structure and flip it on it ass. IMO…..he over reacted because of one mans failures (who Murphy himself was supposed to be supervising). So because they both weren’t doing their jobs well, Murphy ripped apart what Harlan and Wolf created for this team to rise up from a losing franchise, to a successful winning organization.

    The structure was fine, the people inside were, and still are the problem.

    1. PF4L February 9, 2018

      Quick follow up thought.

      If your managing a business, and you have power structure infighting, you have seriously bad communication and people won’t work together for the betterment of the Company, what do you do?

      Do you choose option…..

      A) Keep everyone and and then determine everyone can come to you with their problems so you can then make a decision on who wins? Planting seeds for more in house dissension.

      B) Hire Professionals with better communication and people skills, who understand the team comes first and believe that winning is more important than their own fucking delicate egos.

      Packer fans….deserve option B

  3. Howard February 9, 2018

    Very good Rob.

    I do believe the comment from MM about Rodgers having trouble changing the huddle was not the season ending press conference. It was when the coaching staff changes were officially announced. I think that comment was after MM indicated Philbin and MM were going to start over on the playbook. It sounded to me like Philbin wanted to change, not only the playbook but how the huddle was set up. Maybe Philbin wanted to wait a little longer before going to the line, or get to the line quicker ? I don’t think MM was taking a swipe at Rodgers. I think MM was just saying Rodgers is comfortable in the current huddle process. MM may also like the current huddle process.

    If Rodgers did take that as a critique, then Rodgers may have retorted by saying “John Lynch knows the game, and he’s going to bring in the right types of guys,” Rodgers said. “I’ve got a ton of respect for coach Shanahan – I think he’s a fantastic football mind. What he did in Atlanta was spectacular, they had a fantastic offense. And you saw it last year with the 49ers, when Jimmy started playing and started playing well.”

    I took the Rodgers comment as telling Gutekunst he needs to bring in true football players quickly or else.

    I took Rodgers comment as telling MM he is not a football genius as a coach and MM needs to drastically step up his game or else.

  4. CZ Stevens February 9, 2018

    The Packers will never be great under Murphy because he is not a football genius.
    If he was, he would have smarter guys than McCarthy and Ted Thompson running and advising this team.
    When it comes to IQ,
    Wolf > Thompson
    Holmgren > McCarthy

    Packers need a team of sharp geeks in the basement of the stadium running numbers and developing strategy and having a rep of them in the coaches ear, 24/7 like Belli chick has in Ernie Adams … and that rep should be a Packer fan from Wisconsin, like Ernie Adams is from Boston area.