Why Green Bay Needed to Lose

Before getting into any of Sunday’s takeaways or the next step for the team, I just want to take some time to thank Mike McCarthy for everything that he brought to this team for 13 years. When hired, the team was in a bit of a flux, needing to bridge a change in organizational ideas.

All McCarthy did was come in, help right the ship, develop one of the best quarterbacks of all time and bring this team back to where they belong, earning world championships. While the final few years of his career at the helm in Titletown were not what we as fans wished for, his legacy should always be remembered as one full of promise, results and success.

With that in mind, I am happy he is gone. Let me explain.

The credibility of McCarthy has considerably decreased these past few seasons, leading up to this moment. This season will mark the second consecutive futile campaign that we do not reach the playoffs, unheard of in the NFL.

While the coaching legacy of MM will always have positive (should have at least) memories attached to it, his stay had considerably become worn-out in this football-driven part of the country. Being able to move on from McCarthy now instead of waiting for the season to conclude, it gives Brian Gutekunst and Mark Murphy time to assess the staff, begin forming candidate lists and put a plan together to begin the needed rebuild and teardown this franchise so desperately needs.

This season, multiple times it has seemed that McCarthy had avoided getting the ax because of a closer-than-needed, barely-squeaking-it-out victory that seemed to mostly be orchestrated by Aaron Rodgers and not the man leading the coaching staff. Being able to drop this 100% winnable, blowout-possible contest meant that the last lifeline was used for MM, paving the way to be fired.

While post-game reports describe MM as taken by surprise by being fired directly after the loss, he really should not have been. The writing has been on the wall ever since the season began, and while interim HC Joe Philbin is no world-beater by any means, he will get the chance to bring the team back into relevancy in the final games of the season.

By no means does firing MM guarantee any sort of success for this team as soon as next season, but it provides the team with a chance to start fresh, start new and bring in the needed personnel to help facilitate this about-face.

Sunday’s takeaways

From Sunday’s contest, certain aspects stood out as the lone positives from the debilitating defeat.

Jaire Alexander’s spark in the punt return game was very much needed, an attempt to make the return units finally look top 20 in the league. While one of his decisions cost the team field position (letting the ball drop and get downed at the five), the drive resulted in a touchdown, so his decision did not end up hurting the team all that badly. While this change was much needed, Alexander’s experience in the return game is not quite at that comfort level yet, which hopefully will improve throughout the remainder of the year.

Secondly, our defensive personnel seems to not be accustomed to Mike Pettine’s elaborate schemes yet. While they have had almost a full season, plus a full offseason, to get used to how Pettine disguises both blitzing and coverage schemes, there are way too many noticeable gaps and gaffes every game in missed assignments and blown coverages.

Finally, Rodgers and Davante Adams are on such a beautiful wavelength, it sucks that AR has missed so many deep throws to him that could have resulted in him having at least 15 scores alone. That connection, for years to come, will be one of the better ones in the entire league, with the potential to set league records as the most successful QB-WR combo ever. While this statement is very far from being achievable, starting fresh with a new coach, schematic elements and most importantly a mindset, anything can happen.

What’s next

Speaking to where the team goes next, the possibilities are endless, but Gutekunst has already been taking notes and making a list for new candidates. Leadership needs to look at NFL-experienced candidates, staying away from college coaches looking to make that big jump after riding a recruiting and bowl high.

In a previous article, I listed such names as Josh McDaniels, Dave Toub and John DeFilippo, which all still stand as viable candidates. However, the likes of Matt LaFleur (Titans OC), Pete Carmichael Jr. (Saints OC) and Brian Flores (Patriots DC) are also rising names in the coaching ranks, and although I believe this team needs to go offensive with its next selection, Flores is highly regarded within the coaching community and is another one of the New England disciples that could be looking for its next move.  

Since this week was one that produced many reasons to look ahead to 2019, leave any thoughts, comments and questions in the comments below.


Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23



20 thoughts on “Why Green Bay Needed to Lose

  1. Ding dong the witch is dead… Give me Harbaugh or Flores as HC and bring in Kingsbury as OC. AR would light that offense up!!

    1. This assumes that A-Rod will succeed in another scheme. Many pack fans are aware that we may have gotten too much invested. But we are still confident that A-Rod can be the A-Rod we knew. This next season, and these next few games, are going to tell us about him.

    2. Which Harbaugh? The Ravens are basically contending for the playoffs. That leaves Michigan HC Jim Harbaugh, who would be my clear choice of the two anyway. Jim Harbaugh would be incredible in Green Bay!

  2. 2019 must now become what 2018 should have been: An all-out rebuilding year.

    Shed every large veteran contract that isn’t producing, except those like Perry’s which still carry too large dead money hits. Waste no big money on free agency–this team is too far away to benefit. Either store up cap money for 2020, or extend valuable pieces like Clark and Lowry early–don’t wait for the price to go up.

    BUILD a team, don’t buy it. Treat the salary cap with utmost care, rather than wasting it like we waste timeouts.

    Do I think Gute can achieve this? Yes. Will he? We’ll see.

    1. Whacking Perry still saves over 4M in cap space. I’d say keep the guy except he only plays like 1/2 the games a year, completely made from fine glass, dude has never had the NFL body, and his play has fallen into complete mediocrity.

      1. I don’t disagree at all, but saving a paltry $4 million while giving up a quality run stopper outside…seems excessive. I’d keep him one more year–especially since we’re about to become very, very, very young overall at OLB.

        Besides, I really want to see what happens with a new coaching staff. Guys like Cobb and Matthews have zero role going forward, but Perry could well factor in some packages as more of a DE/LB hybrid. Maybe another coach could get more out of him–$4 million more shouldn’t be asking too much.

        But as for your core thoughts on Perry, I share them. I just hope King doesn’t continue down that made-of-glass road.

    2. haha this is whats wrong with the packers instead of signing guys like Hayward or Hyde they saved there money and over paid guys like Adams, Perry, and Jimmy G. what they need todo is draft two offensive lineman and an ILB and go old school. Draft two Wiscosin lineman and then sign Peterson and run the ball alot more with Jones and Peterson. Take that pressure off of rodgers.

  3. Joe LomBardi, grandson of the great VL and OC with the Saints…a fine choice!

    1. Would try him out as the OC as he is only a QB coach after not doing well in 2014-15 as an HC!

    2. He’s not the OC of the Saints, Pete Carmichael is, whom by the way is one of the names being floated out there. Joe Lombardi is the QB coach in NO.

  4. We have a very expensive 35 year old QB who has a growing history of injury and ineffective play. There is no viable alternative on the roster. That doesn’t change because we fired the coach.

    1. Brady and Brees do their damage standing in the pocket and slinging darts. Rodgers does much of his damage outside the pocket, and age and injury are making it more difficult.
      Plus, Brees and Brady aren’t being asked to learn a new system with a new coach at age 35, and they don’t have Rodgers injury history.
      The people who think Rodgers will be an elite QB in this league again are wrong. He was 4-6 in 2016 until the run-the-table streak. Then he got hurt in 2017. Then he got hurt again in 2018.
      He’s throwing off-target more often, he’s throwing off his back foot more often, he’s being caught trying to escape the pocket more often. These things aren’t going to get better as he gets older.

      1. A new system for Rodgers wouldn’t be a problem, the saints change there system every couple of years and so do the Patriots. the Patriots change there system almost every year. thats why there so good. Change is good in the NFL. Rodgers with a better line and 2 more good WRs will be elite again. Just wait depending on who they hire as coach. But i actually think they should trade Rodgers.

        1. The Oline is rated pretty highly by football outsiders and PFF.

          Every team “changes” every year. The Packers brought in a new OC and scrubbed their playbook. Not the same as changing the entire offensive scheme.

  5. What MM did not help develop rodgers like you say. If he did why hasn’t any of our other Qbs done anything? Rodgers doesn’t need to be replaced what needs to happen is a total cleaning out of coaches. Mcdaniels will never come. If he turned down the colts job with 3 second round picks and a top 5 last year with a qb whos like 10 years younger but still a top 5 qb. if you think he turned that down to come work with a team with a douche a qb and a horrible cast and horrible Defense nooo way. What needs to happen is a full rebuilt draft a OLB/Pass rusher. and then David Edwards from Wiconsin in the first round. Move Bulga inside to RG. helps our line a ton. To draft a TE is totally a waste. Jimmy G is fine. and is getting paid alot to be average. Adams is very overrated. MM was very average who got lucky to have Rodgers carry him into the HOF. Look at MM before he coached the packers he was the OC for the 49ers and how good was the Offense 30th and 28th. Thats not a guy you want running your team. If we had a guy like brady who put team first i would say go after Licoln Riley. But with Rodgers no way does he listen to him. and hes younger than Rodgers.
    Honestly the best idea is to trade Rodgers. This team/ Franchise has wasted his last 4 years. Thank you Ted Thompson for drafting so poorly not even the best qb could make those guys look good. Trade Rodgers to the jags for 5 first round picks or something. Maybe the Raiders are dumb enough to trade all 3 this year and the 2 next year for him. maybe we can con the Rams into trading Goff for Rodgers and there 1st round pick. I wouldn’t if i was them. but who knows

    1. Not to mention his fragility….
      I agree his time is coming, but think it may be prudent to perhaps wait a bit. Baby in the bath water….maybe look at a younger, seasoned, second QB?

      Focus more on getting a quality head coach and O&D coordinators that can quiet the disorder on the field, develop who is left, get Jordy and HaHa back. And find the biggest dudes around for the O-line.

    2. McCarthy absolutely helped Rodgers develop, the QB has said it himself on numerous occasions. As far as the other guys not panning out, part of it goes to them not having the natural, moldable abilities of Rodgers, and part of it goes to the new CBA that limited how much time the coach could work with his guys in the offseason. In 2005-2008, MM could run his QB school for an extended time and work with his guys, including helping Matt Flynn (remember him, decent QB) develop. After the new CBA came up, time was limited for coaches, and MM had a smaller window to work with guys like Hundley, Kizer, and others. So, while his time was up, he had a big hand in developing 12, including completely changing his mechanics.

  6. How about a guy that was overlooked 13 years ago, a local boy with a Packers pedigree, who would love the opportunity. A guy who would be what we need, a Head Coach. A guy that could bring in major O&D coaching talent, and be a true leader of the team.
    Who is the guy?
    The Mooch….think about it……
    I can already hear the crowd as he emerges from the tunnel….”And that’s not ‘Booo’ you’re hearing…”

  7. This season will mark the second consecutive futile campaign that we do not reach the playoffs, unheard of in the NFL.

    This line is patently nonsensical. It’s extremely common for NFL teams to miss the playoffs two seasons in a row. What is it you’re trying to say here?

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