Aaron Rodgers has only known one NFL franchise since being drafted back in 2005. And after signing a historical extension during the offseason, it appears as though he will don the Green Bay Packers’ green and yellow for his entire career.
However, with each week and each loss, you get the feeling that he is starting to get frustrated with a franchise that is supposed to be one of the best in sports because they have been anything but. Instead, they have opted to take Rodgers for granted and waste the superstar quarterback’s prime.
Almost everytime the camera cuts to him now (on the field or sideline) you can tell he’s frustrated, fed up, and ailing in some physical pain. There’s just no excitement on his face. He’s frustrated because the front office hasn’t done their duty in surrounding him with a Super Bowl-caliber roster.
He’s annoyed that Ty Montgomery and Aaron Jones fumble footballs in key, potentially game-changing, situations. He’s frustrated that the front office drafts offensive linemen, develops them into Pro Bowlers, and then lets them walk, leading to continuous beatings for Rodgers. He’s annoyed that he always has to deal with a new crop of young receivers (behind Davante Adams) that are always steps behind him.
He’s most likely fed up with head coach Mike McCarthy, as numerous reports over the years have suggested. The relationship between the two can be described as ‘frosty’ or ‘on thin ice.’
It makes you wonder whether he has any regret about the extension or not, regardless of the money. At this rate, it wouldn’t be surprising if the 41-year-old Tom Brady outlasts the 34-year-old Aaron Rodgers. Lack of adequate talent, an unaggressive front office, continuous beatings, and a stale offensive scheme can do that to a guy. Rodgers is on record saying that he wants to play till he’s 40, but his mind can easily change if he has to continue to live through this year in and year out.
You can bet that he will want things to change, and it’s not hard to envision wanting a split from the Packers down-the-line (even if it’s not his preference), as crazy as that sounds. But, the Packers will do anything else before splitting from the future Hall-of-Famer, and it needs to start with moving on from longtime head coach Mike McCarthy.
As previously mentioned, Rodgers and McCarthy don’t have the best of relationships, no matter what they both continue to say to the media. And the speculated friction returned this season following an indirect, passive-aggressive shot at the coach from Rodgers during his complaint about the game plan in a 22-0 victory over the Buffalo Bills.
And maybe the relationship has run its course. Not every relationship is meant to last forever. The two have worked together for 13 seasons, and it’s easy to see why there was an expiration date on it. It’s ‘California cool’ (Rodgers) vs. ‘tough, gritty, and blue-collar’ (McCarthy).
You can argue that the tension started all the way back in 2005 on Draft Day when the San Francisco 49ers took Alex Smith number one overall over the hometown kid and superior prospect, Aaron Rodgers.
Who was San Francisco’s offensive coordinator at the time? Mike McCarthy. A point that many may overlook, and one Rodgers would make sure to bring up to McCarthy in team meetings as former Packers receiver Greg Jennings mentioned on The Herd last week. Whether they were playful or passive-aggressive jabs, only Rodgers knows. But we can assume that it was the beginning of a doomed relationship that wasn’t meant to be.
The Packers need to move on from their coach after the season, regardless of the outcome (a Super Bowl is highly unlikely at this point). Some define insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results,” and it’s clear there is a cap on this team as long as the 54-year-old is at the helm.
McCarthy is nowhere near a bad coach; not even close. He’s a very good coach, among the best in the league, who will immediately find another gig.
He’s just not a ‘great’ coach like a Bill Belichick or Sean Payton and isn’t quite the offensive mind of an Andy Reid. Heck, people would probably take youngbloods Sean McVay and Kyle Shanahan over McCarthy.
He’s simply not the coach for Rodgers. And when you get tired of another person, it’s hard to continue to listen and buy into that respective person and his messages, which is what we are seeing.
We all know Rodgers was smart, but after his interview with ESPN’s Mina Kimes, you can tell he’s extremely intelligent and wants to be intellectually stimulated. And McCarthy’s schemed does anything but. It’s non-innovative, boring at times, and fails to take advantage of Rodgers’ strengths. It’s the opposite of progressive.
We can only imagine how great Rodgers would be under a scheme like Payton’s, Reid’s, McVay’s, Shanahan’s, or Belichick/Josh McDaniels’. The new front office regime owes it to the soon-to-be 35-year-old to give him an exciting new offensive mind to deal with.
Someone who can further optimize the game’s most gifted quarterback, and bring a breath of fresh air to the franchise. The team will only go as far as Rodgers will take them. That’s the type of talent he is, and how the roster is constructed. Rodgers at his best is the only way to win another title, and a new hiring would get that out of him.
Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley is the hot property right now, and the Packers should make a run at him. Minnesota Vikings’ offensive coordinator John DeFilippo is another guy to look.
Chiefs’ offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy is a popular candidate because he is another impressive coordinator from an excellent Andy Reid coaching tree. And Reid’s last two offensive coordinators (Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy) are finding success in their new gigs.
One is a Super Bowl-winner, and the other has led the Chicago Bears to a 5-3 record while revitalizing the offense with fresh creativity. Bieniemy is a rising star on that side of the ball who has Andy Reid’s complete trust, which isn’t a small feat.
The options are out there. It’s time for the Packers to make the tough decision and move on from McCarthy for the sake of optimizing the back nine of Aaron Rodgers’ career.