War of the Roses

Apologies if you’re too young to get the movie reference, but I couldn’t resist.

Look, I don’t hate McCarthy, I don’t dislike McCarthy, I don’t even think McCarthy is doing a terrible job. I think he’s in a bad marriage and not doing a great job. Not only is it stale, it is becoming publicly chippy(but not by Mac). There is also a major and unacceptable team-wide chemistry issue, and SOMETHING HAS GOT TO GIVE. Mac is the head coach, and Rodgers is one of the greatest qbs of all time. If one has to go, and I assure you,  one does in fact have to go, which would you pick? Based on the public behavior we can actually see and evaluate for ourselves, out of fairness I wish I could say get rid of Rodgers, because Mac is the one acting like an adult(at least publicly); but you can’t get rid of one of the best qbs of all time, especially in this era of football.

 

We can’t see the inside of the locker room, so I won’t even try. But from the things we see publicly, our qb is a high level diva and his efforts to mask his diva tendencies are rapidly eroding. And these days his little jabs are not the least bit subtle. Things are getting progressively worse on the field and at the podium. Mac cannot keep him happy, playcalling does in fact look stale and unimaginative for the first 3 quarters of most games, and something in this formula is highly ineffective. For years, and you’ll just have to take my word for this, I’ve been complaining(mostly to Bruce) that the chemistry here is a serious problem, and I’ve mostly blamed Rodgers. The qb is supposed to be the adult and leader on a team full of highly paid children. Leading though public sniping hasn’t been very effective since, well, never. Who do you want your qb to be? Joe Montana:? or Jeff George?  Bruce keeps asking me why I don’t put this out publicly, and my response typically is, in order to fully explain my position I do need to do some Rodgers bashing, and I’m not terribly interested in hearing the backlash I anticipate hearing from making Jeff George comparisons to our current diva. Unfortunately however, some lessons have been learned since our last diva and I’m tired of watching this unfold.

 

In a league where fortunes change so quickly (see Eagles, Philadelphia, Win Super Bowl and then field almost all the same players plus an improvement at qb and you start the season with a 3-4 record…oh and where did they finish the year prior????) the Packers under Rodgers and McCarthy have been a fixture in the battle to get to the NFC championship if not the Super Bowl. This cannot be discounted, and I don’t care if Aaron Effing Rodgers is your qb, that is a tremendous coaching accomplishment; one that has been matched and exceeded only by the Patriots in the current era of the game. I hold Mac in high esteem regardless of his faults.

 

You can argue lack of creativity as plenty of fans have, and I’ll agree to a large extent. You can make any number of additional arguments about why he’s a bad coach. I might agree with some. But that’s not why I think he needs to go. He needs to go because he has lost the faith of Rodgers to the point that Rodgers isn’t even hiding the fact that he’s taking public shots at Mac, and the team’s overall chemistry and motivation do not seem to be there. Consider that for a moment: Rodgers is taking shots at his head coach in the media. Whatever might be left of that relationship is circling the drain. Without being in the locker room, I can tell you, taking public shots is a late in the game tactic, when the relationship is so irretrievably  broken that there is no hope of recovery. And when your qb is going rogue on you, you cannot effectively coach.

 

I don’t know what came first, the seeming lack of enthusiasm of the entire team, or losing Rodgers’ support. I also don’t know if the two are actually related But, when I watch, I always have to make excuses for why the team overall does not perform to its own talent level, which seems to happen on a weekly basis. Typically, we have a truckload of injuries and I have thoroughly abused that as the ‘reason’ the team is ineffective and seems to play with no passion. Thing is, so does every other team, injuries aren’t going anywhere, and I find myself making that an excuse on an almost weekly basis for what appears to be a lack of motivation, execution, and chemistry . If I take injuries off the table as a weekly excuse, all that’s really left is motivation and chemistry. I know we’re still a superior team, because when the the fourth quarter comes, and with their backs against the wall, this team suddenly comes together and does amazing things. Rodgers aside(regardless of whether the 2 problems are related), this is Mac’s problem to fix and he’s done a poor job. I see constant under achievement. Go ahead and pick your cause of the seeming malaise in the first three quarters of basically every single game, but whatever the cause, it’s Mac’s job to get them to perform, and he’s just not doing it.

 

I’ve been thinking this for literally years, but there was a final nail in the coffin for my opinion about a week ago. I was listening to my favorite packers reporter(who I won’t name today because he is my favorite and I am about to bash him). He’s a bit of a shill when it comes to his critical analysis. He’ll report all the facts, but no matter what those facts are, he will find a way to put a positive spin on these facts in favor of the packers. You couldn’t pay him to say anything negative. And last week he was asked a coach/qb question and said, “at best they co-exist.” Let that one sink in for a moment. From the guy that hasn’t had a truly critical remark in years of covering the packers, a true insider that’s there every day and sees the interaction…..coach and quarterback coexist…..”at best.”

 

This is not good. Someone has to go, you can’t get rid of a hall of fame qb, so that someone is Mac.

 

Now you might feel that Mac is a bad coach, so why isn’t firing him a fantastic development? Well, if you haven’t noticed, I find our qb’s attitude to be a bit problematic. And if I’m right about that, how is the next coach supposed to come in and control him? If you have eyes and ears and still manage to disagree with me that he’s a full fledged diva, you must at least have noticed that he already has a pretty big head, and now he’s got the ability to run coaches out of town. And, it’s not like a legendary coach would replace Mac. An unemployed coach, or a coordinator, a college coach, or a coach of a lesser team will take this job and it will be a promotion. Bill Walsh isn’t walking through that door.  So now you’ve got a coach with limited credibility coming in, and he’s going to corral one of the greatest qbs of all time???? How did that work for Ray Rhodes? Mike Sherman? Even Mac? There’s that famous story where going into the tunnel in the NFC title game in the snow against the giants, Mac said “If I had any balls I would bench him.” Know what happened that day? Mac didn’t have the power to bench Favre. Favre threw a 4th quarter pick, and in overtime threw another pick, this time inside of Giants field goal range, and can you guess what the Giants did next? They kicked a field goal, and the packers lost the game. Mac was a young coach, powerless over a hall of famer that wasn’t all that interested in being controlled. When Mac is fired, our latest diva will be in a similar situation. Do you think he can keep his ego in check and handle it well? Anyone you hire as a new coach is going to be someone that doesn’t have Mac’s credibility. It’ll be a person with a nice resume, but in all likelihood it’ll be a person with no nfl head coaching experience, let alone the credibility to be in control of a legendary qb with an ego that allows him to publicly criticize and air his dirty laundry publicly. And hey, guys talk and it doesn’t matter, right?  Who cares what OBJ says publicly for example? Well, OBJ is a wr, he’s not the leader of the team, and star wrs are supposed to be divas and nobody really listens to what they’re saying when they run their mouth. Hall of Fame Quarterbacks are supposed to be the selfless leaders, ever sacrificing for their team, and traditionally are not divas (at least not in public. Rodgers however, deliberately calmly and methodically…..INTENTIONALLY…criticizing his coach from the podium is FAR FAR WORSE than anything OBJ says, and getting a new coach isn’t likely to put this genie back in the bottle.

 

Nothing good is going to come of this situation. Mac has lost Rodgers and seems unable to motivate the rest of the team. I can’t tell you whose fault that actually is, but he’s the coach and if he can’t fix it he can’t stay. I for one do not think he can fix it. I think Mac could have done a better job, but I don’t blame him or wish him ill will. It is simply his time to go. But if you fire him, you’re going to be elevating a new coach without Mac’s credentials, and Rodgers now even larger ego(which I obviously blame for a significant portion of this problem) is behind the wheel for who knows how many years? Even if you don’t like Mac, this is not a good situation folks.

 

 

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