Plenty of blame to go around

A General Manger gets the players. A Coach coaches. A player plays. When one of those falls a part, the train starts to come off the tracks. It can be masked if the other two cover up the others mistakes. When all three fall a part, the entire train comes off the tracks and it can set an organization back for years. This what is currently going on in Green Bay. For years, McCarthy and Rodgers covered up any blunders Ted Thompson made in drafting players. Rodgers covered up any mistakes that McCarthy and the coaching staff made. With Rodgers making mistakes, the train is completely off the tracks and there is no one to cover up his mistakes. The entire Packers fan base wants to put the blame on head coach Mike McCarthy. Yes, McCarthy deserves some of the blame. But guess what, the front office deserves blame and so does the one guy no one wants to blame, and that is Aaron Rodgers. All three are currently part of the issues happening in Green Bay.

Brian Gutekunst is in his first year as Packers GM. He has tried to upgrade the talent on this team in a short period of time. Aaron Jones and Jamal Williams look like good running backs. The secondary featuring, Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson, Kevin King and Josh Jones is young and emerging. Blake Martinez is good and is all over the place on defense but there is only one of him. The wide receivers of Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown are good. There is talent on this team; just not enough quality talent. That falls in Gutekunst’s lap.

Now this is only his first year, but he was part of the previous regime that failed the Packers, so he only gets a small percentage of the blame. The big part of the blame is on Ted Thompson. He didn’t keep the cupboards fully stocked. Mark Murphy is at fault but cause he let it go on for too long. When your philosophy is draft and develop, you have to draft and develop players. In that philosophy, when you miss on one entire draft it can set you back a couple of years but can be masked by a good head coach and an all world quarterback. But when you miss on 3 start drafts it will set your organization back for several years and that can not be masked. Out of those three drafts only 3 players remain, 2013 fourth rd pick David Bakhtiari, 2014 second round pick Davante Adams, and 2014 fifth round pick Corey Linsley. There is no one from the 2015 draft on this roster. Not include Jake Ryan because he is on IR for the year. The Packers are being hurt by the previous GM’s inability to draft quality players in those drafts.

This leaves your team very young in some areas and very old in others, and a lack of talents in several positions. The linebacker group has been left by the wayside for years with no quality influx in talent and Clay Matthews is not the same even though the Packer brass and fans want him to be that star. The offensive line got old and quality guards were traded away without quality replacements behind them. Rodgers is left running for his life every game. If you sign a quarterback to a record deal and make him the franchise, you need to protect the franchise, which they have failed to do. Unfortunately, it will take Brian Gutekunst a little bit of time to reload the roster, it won’t happen this year or overnight. The biggest problem plaquing this team is not enough quality talent provided by Ted Thompson and the front office.

Mike McCarthy is the lighting rod that Packer nation and the entire fan base have put all of the blame on. McCarthy coaches the coaches he is given. For those fans that want McCarthy fired right now, news flash, it is not happening. It won’t save the season and that is not on the Packers operate. McCarthy is a highly successful NFL head coach. Fans hate that. They don’t like someone telling them how good they are at there job. If McCarthy is let go at the end of the year, he won’t be on the unemployment line very long, as he will find a job if he wants one.

He will go done in Packer history as the second most successful head coach. As the Browns, Dolphins, and Lions if they would take 8 straight playoff appearances, 3 Conference Championship appearances, and 1 Super Bowl Victory and they all would say yes. McCarthy does have his faults and deserves part of the blame for the state of the Packers. But it is McCarthy’s fault that Morgan Burnett slide down after an interception in the Conference Championship Game against Seattle, because he was told to do by veteran Julius Peppers? Is it McCarthy’s fault that Brandon Bostick jumped to try and catch a ball on the onside kick during that game, right in front on an open arms waiting Jordy Nelson? Is it McCarthy’s fault that Tramon Williams got beat so badly on the game winning touchdown?

Things happen during a course of a game. Players are human and will make mistakes. Coaches put players in the best position possible to make plays. The offense calling timeout after a punt. The play clock running down to 1 second before the ball getting snapped. Having 12 players on the field. Players like Ty Montegomery not listening to their coaches. Not running with the best running back on the team. Poor play calling. Game Management. The list and instances could go on, but those are all on McCarthy.

There currently is no creativity on offense. Fans can guess the play the offense is going to run and if fans can guess it, coaches like Belichick can guess it. What happened to the slants, quick plays, four wide receiver sets, screen plays? They are all non-existent. For the Packers to turn their season around, McCarthy needs become more creativity on offense and keep it moving. They do a decent job between the 20s but are brutally bad in the red zone. That needs to change. Will it save his job? No one knows but Gutekunst and Murphy. Has the message gotten stale? With veterans probably, with the young guys probably not. Sometimes a new voice is needed. If the Packers brass decides to make a head coaching change at seasons end, they absolutely must hit on the next head coach. They can not miss and suffer a couple years of average football or losing in the first or second round of the playoffs. Otherwise, they will truly be wasting Rodgers later years and forever be known as the organization that won 2 Super Bowls with 2 Hall of Fame quarterbacks.

Rodgers doesn’t escape the blame. It is clear that Rodgers is not playing at 100%. Rodgers is ranked 6th in the NFL passing yards, 4th in yards per game, but 28th in completion percentage and 15th in touchdowns. Not exactly numbers that are deserving of the highest contract in the league. Rodgers is missing the open receivers. Throwing behind receivers. Throwing the football at the running backs feet on a screen play. Delay of game penalties and numerous ground calls. These are not characteristics of an MVP type quarterback.

Communication with McCarthy from the outside seems to be an issue. Has the student become such a master that his ego is getting in the way? Certainly a possibility but one we will never know. Rodgers seems to be looking for the home run ball more often than not instead of taking what the defense is giving him. Rodgers is throwing the football a ton this season, he has 327 pass attempts. He has thrown the ball away 38 teams this season. Now, Rodgers is know for throwing the ball away to avoid the sack or interception but that is a lot of throwaways. He is holding on to the football way too long, which makes the offensive line, which already is not good at pass blocking, block for a longer period of time.

On 3rd and 4, every one watching knows what is going to happen. Rodgers will come to the line, snap the ball with 1 second on the play clock and throw the football 15 yards down field. Is this the play call coming in from McCarthy? That play call is on McCarthy. But its on Rodgers to audible out of it to get the first down. Those routes need to be quick slants. The offense is no longer easy for Rodgers. It appears to be extremely difficult for him and he has become less efficient. Rodgers is so good at throwing the deep ball, it’s like he never learned how to throw a really short pass. He hits more feet than hands. With the offensive line not doing a great job pass blocking, Rodgers and McCarthy need to go with shorter quicker routes to get the offense in rhythm and help Rodgers become more efficient. If this Packers team is going to do anything this season, it will rest with Rodgers.

There are way too many problems with this football that have occurred in all facets. If McCarthy can correct the game management and call more creative plays and quick plays, that will help jump start the offense. If Rodgers can become more accurate and take what the defense gives him, this offense will be more proficient. There is still have a season to go and no one is running away with the division, so there is time to turn the train around. In season, there is not a whole lot that Brian Gutekunst can do but a signing like Bruce Irvin would help a depleted linebacking corps. Gutey will make his impact in the offseason. Time is of the essence for not only this year but also for future years.

Anthony Haag is a writer for He has been a Packers fan since the day he was born and truly bleeds green and gold. He makes annual visits to Lambeau Field and has attended his fair share of games. You can follow Anthony on Twitter at @anthony_haag


7 thoughts on “Plenty of blame to go around

  1. You give Big Mac a pass on his role in the talent acquisition phase of the organization. Did Ted never ask what he thought of Sherrod or Daltone Jones? I find it hard to believe Ted just “made the picK” with no discussion. Mike had no input on a big contract for Matthews? Picking slow receivers? Slower linebackers? If Ted and Mike could not communicate then its on Murphy for not fixing it. My guess is Ted and MIke saw eye-to-eye on what type of players they wanted – and yes the Coach does influence the play on the field…is Belichick’s teams just so much smarter than Mike’s? No – he teaches them and cuts players that screw up…MIke makes excuses…week after week, year after year…then the fans make excuses like “Mike is not on the field”. – “Mike did not draft the players”…HE IS IN THE WAR ROOM ON DRAFT DAY!

    Like so many coaches (except Belichick) he has grown stale…I believe he does not agree with the faster NFL or creative play design. I was to the New England game – a rare chance to see the Pack live…it was clear that NE has a more complex offense more motions – complex pass routes disguising receivers – and trick plays to Green Bay – its like NE was three dimensional and to ours one…Roger often threw the ball away with no safety value available – EVER! One throw to Cobb was just stupid – he was covered and Cobb was not going to win the jump ball.

    No slants, No RB screens little Graham on short routes – the fourth down run by Rogers was stupid when the hand off would have gained good yardage- at least try an end around with MVS…try anything then dropping back and throwing it 15 yards to a covered receiver…they just looked bad on offense.

    So please Mike is in on the draft, Mike designs the offense (completely revamped this off-season – NOT), Mike coaches the plays day in and day out to make the right decision, he coaches the clock management, he oversees the special teams that year over year stink (like every kick off I am worried will get returned) – he calls the plays and sets the personal on every play…

    If Mike had it he has lost it – either that or the game has changed and he has not… nor does he look to maximize player skills – case in point – Belichick clever used of Cordell Patterson -setting him up deep in the backfield so he could use his speed and size to be successful and to get a TD.

    Could MVS run more slants? Screens to Jones? Quick hits to Graham? Maybe an option play with Cobb a former QB…maybe keep Tramon Hill who is a versatile tool on New Orleans…maybe tell Ted that Bret Hundley was not NFL ready – the QB guru did know that? I would have fired him for think Hundley could fill in…Foles could fill in, Keenum could fill in, Hundley stunk – not NFL ready and we all give Mike a pass.

    My guess is Mike does not like a “new” or “troubled” player on his team and discouraged free-agency – sign “his” safe players while Belichick supplements his team with former first round pick that find new life on the Patriots (oh I forgot only Ted made those team decision never talked to Mike – right!). And did I mention that the Packer’s special teams stink – ever hear the phase “holding on the receiving team’? Like every week…

    So in summary…Mike has to go please stop making excuses for him. He has failed to be prepared every week and it is reflected in every aspect of the Packers game. TIme for a bright young coach to compete in a faster paced NFL…

  2. how about proof reading these articles before publishing?, That was painful to read.

    1. I know you get what you pay for, but I’ve never seen so many typos in one article in my life.

  3. This organization has been on the downward spin since the Seattle NFC title game. You can say Morgan Burnett did this or Brian Bostick did that, but who put them out there. When Ty Montgomery went rogue, was he told before the play by Zook to take a knee. I believe it was assumed. It all starts with Mark Murphy who should take the blame. He has set this team for failure. Ted Thompson was left with too much power for way too long. When is the last time this team has drafted an impact player on defense? 2009. Heis poor drafts and refusal of adding personal has left this team short on talent. Mike McCarthy will be gone this year and should be. Aaron Rodgers seems to have no fire in him like before. I think he is just running plays called to ultimately get a new head coach. Rodgers can never be blamed for this. McCarthy has not changed with the game like others. He always relies on his players to win their match ups, and this clearly doesn’t happen consistently. See Andy Reid. Where are the Screen passes with offensive linemen getting out front? How about a Jet sweep to MVS or ESB? Or how about do a jet sweep once and set up a play action fake off it. Quick slants, nah! Picking a featured back and run him 20 times a game to get into a rhythm. Why do that with Aaron Jones, he is only averaging 6 yards a carry. How about on 2nd and 4, stop throwing bombs. Trick play for a defense to consider when playing the Packers. Defenses have figured out how to contain Rodgers, why not run the ball and give Rodgers higher percentage completions. Rodgers is an extremely intelligent player and I believe he is going through the motions until a head coach change is made. Here is your answer. Hire Ken Whisenhunt as our next coach. I watch the Chargers and they do an incredible job of utilizing all of their offensive talent. Why is Ron Zook still the special teams coordinator. The Packers special teams looks worse every week. No punt return, no kick off returns, too many penalties, and lack of communication. This falls on Mike McCarthy as well. Call me crazy, but if Mike Sherman was the coach, I believe the Packers would be in the top 5 in rushing yards and top 10 in total offense. The Packers would be at least 5-3 under him. He ran Ahman Green into the ground and ran great screen passes. Even Samkon Gado had a nice run under him. Run the ball get back to the basics. MM is just to stuburn.
    Here is what the Packers need to do:
    1. Fire Mike McCarthy and hire Ken Whisenhunt
    2. Get rid of overpaid players and strip down next year. Cobb, Matthews, Perry, Buluga and Crosby(5Mill too much money for a kicker)
    3. Draft 2 Pass Rushers with first 3 picks and sign a starting caliber veteran pass rusher .
    4. Draft an offensive Tackle in first 3 rounds and another by the 5th.
    5. Sign an impact/physical safety. Blew it by not signing Eric Reid.
    6. Sign a faster Inside Linebacker or draft one. Martinez has been a bright spot, but realistically he is a back up special teams player.
    7. Fire Zook
    8. Bring in a specialist punt returner/kickoff retruner
    9. Bring in a Run stuffer like Jonathon Hankins.
    10. Have another strong draft

    1. Lare: You’re correct. Rodgers is yo blame too. Accuracy and seeing field is off. Danica having an affect in him. But, Murphy and MM certainly deserve a great amount of the blame. They are both stuck in 2010.

  4. Draft and develop is old school now. You draft too players to start and make an immediate impact. Develop is for the practice squad , not for the 53. I still feel a great deal of blame is on our scout teams. They visit, watch, study a lot of game film, and recommend. It starts with their recommendations after reviewing a great deal of data. I think we need better scout teams!

  5. Article makes some very valid points. All said, MM dies NOT inspire or ready the team with his gameplan. When that happens players and coaches lose confidence and trust. When those things are lost it’s over. We will see if the the gameplan, inspiration, urgency, and will is there Thursdsy night. A lose spells the near end of our season; enjoy watching other teams in the playoffs again. Sickens me.

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