Nover’s View: What took the Packers so long?

On December 4, 2018, in NFL, by Stephen

By Stephen Nover

Monday, Dec. 3

The Packers finally fired Mike McCarthy. They should have done it five seasons ago after the Packers blew a 16-0 late third quarter lead in the playoffs against the Seahawks. McCarthy’s gutless coaching of repeatedly taking field goals instead of going for fourth-and-one touchdowns cost them that game and a Super Bowl berth. The Packers never really trusted McCarthy after that because he didn’t show confidence in them by settling for chip shot field goals.

Now the Packers have wasted four more years of Aaron Rodgers’ brilliant career.

Making the playoffs isn’t enough in the NFL. Everybody does it at some point, even Buffalo last season.

You have to reach the Super Bowl. Everything else is a disappointment. But to accomplish that you need either a great offense or great defense, preferably both along with having smart, innovative coaching, solid special teams and tremendous passion.

The Packers haven’t had that. All they’ve really had is Rodgers and when he went down the team couldn’t win exposing McCarthy for the mediocre coach he is. The combination of McCarthy and Ted Thompson as the general manager sowed the seeds for Green Bay’s fall. McCarthy by his stale methods and lack of rapport with Rodgers. Thompson with his inconceivable refusal to sign free agents and make trades. Thompson’s poor drafts the previous couple of years doomed the Packers.

Thompson finally was removed from his GM spot last season and the Packers immediately drafted better defensvie players and signed free agents. But they couldn’t stem the tide of bad drafts Thompson had put in motion, which left a talent shortage.

Rodgers hasn’t been his usual great self this season. It may be his poorest season since he became Green Bay’s starting quarterback. Inexperienced wide receivers, an average at best offensive line, below average defense and frustrations with McCarthy all contributed.

Given the right coach, though, the Packers can jump right back into the Super Bowl hunt next season. That coach must be someone Rodgers respects. The Rams, Eagles and Bears all greatly improved by hiring a sharp offensive coach to be their head man.

The cartoonish Terry Bradshaw made another of his many moronic comments when he said on Fox TV this past Sunday morning that, “Rodgers outta keep his mouth shut. That’s a pretty good coach he has up there. They did, as I recall, win a Super Bowl together. Quarterbacks should not be dictating who the head coaches are.”

In the case of guys like Cody Kessler and Josh Rosen he’s right. Rodgers isn’t those guys. Rodgers is a virtuoso. The Packers won their Super Bowl back in 2010. They should have won more with Rodgers. They would have won more if Bill Belichick had been their coach because Belichick would not have dummied down the offense to fit his personnel. His personnel would have to fit his quarterback. That’s the way it always has been in New England with Tom Brady.

Not in Green Bay because McCarthy never figured out that Rodgers is Jimi Hendrix. Rodgers is the music. The surrounding pieces support him. He’s a once-in-a-generation type of rare talent.

That’s why Green Bay should be a highly attractive place for a head coach. If I were in charge of the Packers, the person I would reach out to is Bruce Arians. Look at how bad the Cardinals have become since Arians left.

Arians has passion, an innovative offensive mind and a proven NFL track record with the Cardinals and Colts. He also is astue enough to get along with Rodgers where they both work together in harmony.

You’re not going to make the playoffs in the NFL with dull playcalling, giving carries to Jamal Williams and playing conservative football even if your quarterback is Aaron Rodgers. That’s the lesson McCarthy should have learned, but was too stubborn to change.


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