Rodgers Needs to Act Like a Leader – Always

ESPN aired the 30 for 30, “The Two Bills,” this past Thursday.  In it, it described Bill Belichick’s career with Bill Parcells and the Giants, which began for him as the Special Team Coordinator in 1980.   It later included being a Linebacker’s coach at the same time as being a Special Team Coordinator.  Five years after joining the Giants, he became the defensive coordinator.  Lawrence Taylor who was interviewed for the show, at the time lamented the decision because he didn’t see Belichick as being up for the job, in part because he didn’t have a playing background.  At the time, Taylor was upset because he wasn’t consulted on the matter.  Five years after that, Parcells abruptly resigned due to health concerns shortly after Belichick became the head coach for the Browns.  This time, Taylor instead was grumbling that Belichick should have been the head coach of the Giants, to the point that Taylor lost a will to play  Its fair to say Taylor was quite wrong in his initial assessment.

A player complaining about a head coaches staffing decision.  Does that sound familiar?  If you are reading this, you surely have heard the quote from Aaron Rodgers on the same day The Two Bills aired.  In an interview with on ESPN’s “Golic and Wingo,” Rodgers called some of the coaching changes “A little strange,” then went further.  “Well, my quarterback coach didn’t get retained.  I thought that was an interesting change, really without consulting me.  There’s a close connection between quarterback and quarterback coach, and that was an interesting decision.”

The quarterback(s) coach he is referring to is Alex Van Pelt, who left after his contract expired, and at the time McCarthy said, “He desired to be a free agent after this season.  He wants to look at other opportunities.”   A week later he was later hired by the Bengals as their quarterback’s coach.  The full circumstances of his departure are unknown, but it seems Rodgers felt that he could have easily been retained and he doesn’t agree with that.

There is a reason, players aren’t consulted in those decisions.  And look no further than Parcells hiring Belichick.  It’s all about perspective.  Rodgers surely could provide feedback about a coach to their superior, like he can and has about players to the General Manager.  But that is from a narrow focus.  The head coach has a greater view of things, and in turn, can see the whole picture much better, as did Parcells.  It doesn’t mean that McCarthy is right or wrong, now or before, but rather why as a matter of course, the head coach has a much better view of these decisions.

Rodgers has every right to have an opinion and feel however he wants on the matter.  In fact, its impossible not to have an opinion or feelings in a case like this if you are as close to it as Rodgers is.  And he could be 100% correct, that letting Van Pelt go was a bad move.  But that doesn’t matter.  As the leader of the team, the highest paid person in the organization and the face of a franchise, under no circumstance should he be publically critical of the head coach’s staffing choices.

Anyone can relate to this as it applies to any company or organization.  If a highly respected employee of a company trashes on a higher up, in the open and without impunity, the respect that others have for that person is diminished.  Most all of us have experienced this scenario in some way shape or form.  Look at Fortune 500 companies.  There are stories and reports of in-fighting behind the scenes within upper management but rarely do you hear an employee go on record criticizing management.  And for good reason, as it is bad for the organization.

Rodgers will soon become the highest paid player in the history of the NFL.  He knows what his status is within the organization and he has no fear whatsoever.  It’s important for him to step up as a leader and show a united front with the McCarthy, especially with all the changes that have happened and that are to come.

Is this a big deal?  In a vacuum, it’s not. And we may very well forget about this by training camp.  But one has to wonder what he is like behind the scenes if he feels emboldened enough to publically criticize. and if he is a “Locker Room Lawyer.”  My hope is that he needed to be heard and will carry the flag once OTA and Training Camp starts.  If the Packers decide to move on from Nelson or Cobb, Rodgers reaction or lack thereof to Gutekunst’s decision or lack thereof would be telling.

Many in Packers’ circles have taken issue with people taking issue with Rodgers comments.  In other words, they have no problem with Rodgers publically criticizing his head coach but they have an issue with reporters, fans, and bloggers criticizing Rodgers for those comments.  That seems backward.  Its okay to criticize Rodgers.  After all that is a reporter’s job, and we as fans don’t affect how a coach is viewed inside a locker room,  In fact, we all should when its due. We all marvel at his play and no one would trade him for anyone.  And it is because of that.  Becuase he is the franchise, makes it especially important that he be a leader at all times, even in the offseason on Radio Row.



15 thoughts on “Rodgers Needs to Act Like a Leader – Always

  1. You’re article is well written but wrong. You point out Rodgers being the leader, yet you contradict yourself when a leader speaks out. Bush league to me. The article should of focused more on McMike and his lack of leadership and ability to change or improve others, which he hasn’t. Perhaps McMike should look in the mirror first!!

  2. Agree with Dennis. If a leader can’t speak freely about something he thinks is wrong it will never be corrected. Bottom line is if the Packers value Rodgers as much as they say they do than they would have consulted him or at the vey least explained to him why they were making the move. They screwed up and need to learn from it if their communication, which they say needs to be improved, is ever going to really get better.

    1. Even if they should have explained it to him or there was a communication breakdown, Rodgers shouldn’t have aired his grievances publically. And yes, leaders can and should speak freely about such matters, but again not in public for the world to see and hear and thus hurt the Head Coach’s standing.

      1. Jason, a leader, by definition, is a public figure. Therefore making this known publicly was fair. If you’re going to call him a leader then let him act like one. If they keep calling Aaron one of the best, of not the best QB in the game, then why in the blue blazes would you get rid of his QB coach and not even think to invite him into the decision making that went into it BEFORE doing it? Perhaps even ask his opinion on the new hire as well?

        1. Kinda like when LT was the most dominant player in the league and Parcells didn’t consult him when hiring a defensive coordinator? I wish they had and maybe B.B. would have remained a position coach forever. You only say it’s fair because you agree with his statement.

      2. if not of. Maybe by making this public the front office will learn not to make the same mistake again. They talk about the huge need for improving communication then they do something like this. It only shows that they don’t get what effective communication really is. This is a wake up call that in the long run might benefit the way they do things in the future.

      3. I think McCarthy and the front office hurt their own standing by NOT sharing this news with Rodgers BEFORE they did it.

        1. Maybe so, and A rod just poured fuel on the fire. Hurt their standing more

          1. Disagree, again. If Rodgers would have said, “No comment” that would have been more inflammatory then answering honestly what he was asked. I personally would rather have an athlete answer questions instead of give us a worn out cliche. When the front office and McCarthy come out and say they want better communication, then they do this, well, you can just keep having the problems or bring it out in the open and hopefully realize you (management) screwed up and learn from it so it doesn’t happen again. I’d like this team to get better, not worse. If there is a problem you can sweep it under the rug and it gets worse. Or you can bring it out in the open and figure out the right way to fix it. Ignore or deal with it. You chose.

  3. i don’t blame Rodgers. MM should have at least consulted the best QB in the league about the future of his QB coach and his perspective on the issue. i feel like the Packers didn’t go far enough in cleaning house by retaining MM. a lot of his decisions on and off the field are very questionable in my mind.

    1. Even if you are correct that he should have. He Still shouldn’t have said anything publicly.

    2. And whether or not they should have fired MM is totally beside the point. If anything, since his job appears tenuous it’s even more important for ARod to not diminish him further.

      1. We agree to disagree. I see it one way, you see it another. But we saw how Rodgers basically was carrying this lame team early this season and when he went down they collapsed without him. His injury exposed the lack of depth, the lack of a back-up QB with talent and the coaching staff, particularly Mike McCarthy, for being so stubborn that he wouldn’t even try Joe Callahan even after Hundley failed in EVERY home game. So you have a guy that deserved to be respected and they totally dissed him by not even informing him that they were firing HIS position coach. When you get disrespected like that and no one listens, you put it our there to get their attention and let it be known that this can not be the way it is done. I did not say that Rodgers should have been in on the decision. I said he should have been at least informed that this is what they were going to do and why. The Packers just don’t get it yet. You call him your make or break player and you leave him totally out of the loop. I truly believe that by coming out with it in public Rodgers is saying, we need to be more open as a staff.

        1. I just don’t get how you can’t see that not even telling your franchise player about a move of this magnitude diminishes him.

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