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Big Mike Is Looking for Leaders

I was half-listening the other day to a recent interview of coach Mike McCarthy, when he said something that caused me to scribble it down on the newspaper I was reading. Referring to the departures of Morgan Burnett and Jordy Nelson, Big Mike said: “That’s a big chunk of leadership that’s left our locker room.”

Now, leadership can mean a lot of things for a football player. It can be the one who rallies the troops when they are down. It can be a guy who mentors the newbies. It can be the one who sets an example, and consistently comes up with a big play when it’s most needed. It can be the one who pronounces to the press that his reeling team can “run the table,” and then goes out and makes it happen. It can also be the guy who gets in the face of teammates who aren’t giving full effort. Sometimes it’s the guy who calms and re-focuses players when they are starting to panic.

Whatever your definition, credit Big Mike with acknowledging one of the downsides to the team’s offseason personnel moves. Let’s pretend for a minute that the Packers’ front office really thinks this team can make a run deep into the postseason. If so, a lack of strong leaders could jeopardize that effort.

Morgan Burnett by most accounts was the stabilizing force on the defense for the last half dozen years. Much the same can be said of Jordy Nelson on the offense – though Jordy was more the lead-by-example type. Beyond those two and of course the 13-year vet at quarterback, where might the Packers look for new leadership?

Mike Daniels has certainly been stepping into the role on the defense. Julius Peppers was a natural leader and he was valuable in that role for the two years he was in Green Bay. I can’t really say that Clay Matthews has ever tried to assume such a function. Two past Green Bay defensive leaders that immediately come to mind were veterans brought to Green Bay in mid-career: Reggie White and Charles Woodson.

Every time leaders emerges on the tight-knit subgroup of the offensive line, the Packers lose or release them. Josh Sitton was the acknowledged boss there until he was let go. T.J. Lang started to fill those shoes until he too was cast off a year later. A while before, Scott Wells was the leader of that pack, but he too went elsewhere. David Bakhtiari now fills that role and I suspect he’s good at it.

Davante Adams has leadership qualities and he’s proven he can make key plays when they are most needed. He’s the heir apparent to Jordy, as opposed to Randall Cobb. Before Jordy, the Packers lost another veteran with leadership qualities: James Jones.

Special teams is another sub-group that has its own leaders. Most recently, Jeff Janis bonded with those teammates and kept the enthusiasm at a high level. Before that, Chris Banjo was a real spark plug for the group and before him there was Jarrett Bush. Perhaps Trevor Davis will be the next player special teamers will rally around and look to for big plays.

Still, there’s no small amount of irony in Big Mike expressing concerns about the leadership void caused by the departures of two veteran players. That’s because nearly every time a leader rises up on this team, he’s soon on his way out the door. Wells left in 2012, followed by Woodson, Bush, Sitton, James Jones, Lang, Banjo, Peppers, Burnett, Nelson and Janis.

It’s hard to say whether it’s the head coach or the general manager who’s more responsible for sending such players away. In any event, assuming a leadership role seems to be the kiss of death in Green Bay.

Rob Born

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



  1. Howard April 5, 2018

    Speaking of Bahk as a leader. On the day Nelson was released Bahk tweeted something that may have rang true with players. MM and Gutekunst may not of liked it. I think the last time an offensive lineman spoke up about something he didn’t like, he ended up getting cut.

    David Bakhtiari
    Loyalty is in your actions, not your rhetoric.
    11:12 AM · Mar 13, 2018

    1. PF4L April 5, 2018

      On happenstance i found myself on Rodgers twitter page, he also had some digs about the team. One showed ice and snow covered seats inside Lambeau Field with the tagline “ice cold”. There was one or two others that were classic Rodgers.

      The only leaders this team needs is Murphy and McCarthy, and i think they are excellent at all aspects of their jobs. As a matter of fact, Murphy is so good at his job, i think he should grant himself a bit more power. He’s earned it.

    2. Cheese April 5, 2018

      Oh damn.. That cuts deep. Exactly what the Packers have been spewing, a bunch of worthless rhetoric. I would bet the entire locker room is pissed at how Nelson was given the shaft when it was totally unnecessary. Great way to build chemistry there Gute. The way this team disregards veteran leadership is ridiculous. How many players are going to want to come to Green Bay after Rodgers is gone? Hahahahaha. Not many with the idiots they have running the show. “Hey, you should come play for us at a discount because although our team is sputtering along, we used to have Aaron Rodgers and once upon a time we won 13 championships.”

  2. KILLER April 5, 2018

    True that, Rob, true that. Well said (written).

    1. PF4L April 5, 2018

      Quit begging.

      1. cz April 6, 2018


  3. MJ April 5, 2018

    On other news, Jordan Matthews signed a 1 year deal with the Patriots. There goes Rodgers’ best receiving corps ever.

  4. Larry April 6, 2018

    Let’s be honest. The GB hierarchy has worshiped Thompson for a long long time so things will not change until you clean house. Granted, Teddy has drawn most of the fan’s ire but Murphy is a freaking clown and never had any qualifications to be team president. His new team structure is a joke and if evidenced by the FA debacles, fans should be in fear of the upcoming draft. Mathews going to NE for basically the same 1 year contract give or take a few bucks, speaks volumes about the perception of the state of GB football. Rodgers is the ONLY thing holding this together and he has decided to spend more time with Danica than deal with the clowns who run this team………

    1. tupac April 6, 2018

      I can see, all the way from over here, gravel just loosely falling from your vagina.

  5. MM²SUCK April 6, 2018

    I agree with the assessment that anytime anyone starts to wield any power or respect the buffoon then feels threatened enough by it that those players are jettisoned soon afterwards. McGlurpy’s penchant for no tolerance regarding veteran players opinions is draconian to say the least. That locker room must be uptight as hell because of it. So what you are left with are a bunch of guys keeping their mouths’ shut so as to keep a job, or the other group of Randian hedonists who could give fuck-all for anything save themselves . . . great team building at 1265 Lombardi eh?

  6. PF4L April 6, 2018

    I’ll admit i had to look up “Randian” as i was clueless (as usual). Then this showed up….”The Randian hero is a ubiquitous figure in the fiction of 20th-century novelist……”

    Ok, then i’m like ok….now i have to look up “ubiquitous”? Gtfo lol.

    Full disclosure, i didn’t know the exact definition of hedonist, but i’m pretty sure it has to do with people that love to fook.

    1. MM²SUCK April 9, 2018

      Randian is a newer philosophy predicated on selfishness at a very high degree. Basically a newer term which defines an extremely selfish fucker. It can become so bad that they begin to “objectify” anyone NOT showing the same tendencies to a degree that allows them to feel much more superior, and therefore above reproach regarding any type of interaction that the “randianist” may have with them. Hedonism can be about sex, but in a much larger spectrum just means that the individual(s) are some very self centered motherfuckers, and could not give fuck all for anyone else that they deem not of their level to a point of indignant self righteousness . . .

      1. PF4L April 9, 2018

        My post wasn’t code for….tell me more.

        Thank you for understanding.

        1. MM²SUCK April 9, 2018

          All the same . . . A well informed public does not make the same mistakes that they have been making with quite as much frequency and misguided aplomb when they are better informed . . . just helping out and doing my part! No need to thank me, I understand . . .

  7. Kato April 6, 2018

    I will be seeing HHCD in a few weeks, should I kick him in the shin?

    1. Hinder April 7, 2018

      No, just show him a football and tell him to run toward the guy holding it, not away from him.

      1. cz April 7, 2018

        LOL, so true!

  8. ay hombre April 7, 2018

    Big Mike…The king of passive-aggressiveness. He is on a non-stop battle to relinquish himself from all accountability while throwing everyone else under the bus.

    Hey Big Mike guess what? Maybe you should have kept your giant fucking snout out of the GM search.

    Reap it Murphy! Reap it!