The Packers have one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history in Aaron Rodgers suiting up under center, but they have a 4-6-1 record, and that’s not even close to cutting it.
And the worst thing about it is the 34-year-old Rodgers isn’t getting any younger, and the team’s championship window is a lot smaller than it was a few years ago. The window continues to diminish in size with each passing year, and the Packers, right now, appear a lot closer to the “losing” side than the “winning” one.
As such, it’s time to make a change. And by that, we mean head coach Mike McCarthy must go. The team elected to “clean house” this past offseason, and nearly everyone on the coaching staff — including both coordinators — as well as a few people in the front office, were fired. Most notably, Brian Gutekunst also took over for Ted Thompson as general manager.
McCarthy, to his credit, had some good years in his tenure as head coach, having been with the team since 2006, but the team is on track to miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season. That’s not going to cut it with Rodgers on the roster.
MM’s early success came during the beginning of the “air raid” era in the NFL, where pass-heavy gameplans, and limited use of analytics, were effective. But it’s a new day and age, and creatively mixing in the run is vital for a team to be successful. That’s something McCarthy is terrible at, as we saw from Sunday’s pivotal fourth-and-inches play in the third quarter, where the play call had the Packers bunched in tight, allowing the Vikings to play a 10-man box and stop Aaron Jones’ predictable run with ease. This play essentially served as the turning point in Sunday’s 24-17 loss.
McCarthy’s reluctance to stick with the run game plagued the team during most of the season, but he did a better job of getting Jones involved on Sunday, with 20 total touches (17 carries and three catches). Still, the run plays are fairly simple in design, and it isn’t long until the opposing teams catch on and make adjustments — which is exactly what the Vikings did on Sunday, essentially holding the Packers to three points in nearly the game’s final three quarters.
And his in-game decision making has really been the team’s undoing this season. His use of timeouts late in games seem to come during curious downs and distances, although that’s not a huge deal. What is, though, is punting the ball on fourth-and-two in an opponent’s territory — something McCarthy elected to do on Sunday, as well as in their previous game (a loss to the Seahawks). It’s rare that McCarthy catches an opposing team by surprise, and the offense just doesn’t have the wrinkles it used to. As a result, big plays — something we’ve become used to seeing during Rodgers’ career — are lacking.
Green Bay needs more of a players’ coach. McCarthy’s odd “punishments” to discipline his team are just plain weird. Check out what he once did to the Packers in a past year, in hopes of getting them to win a road game. Are old, smelly hotels really the key to success? Or is proper rest and getting one’s body right to play in a football game? We favor the latter.
The Packers still have a 3 percent chance of making the playoffs, so it’s unlikely that they’ll fire McCarthy this week, especially with an extremely winnable game against the Cardinals on deck.
As for McCarthy, his time with the Packers is running thin. The Packers fell to 0-6 on the road this season on Sunday, so don’t be surprised to see him out some time around Black Monday — possibly even on that very day.