Today, the Packers are 2-2-1 heading into week five with future HOF QB Aaron Rodgers at the helm. It seems as if the Packers always have a chance to win when Rodgers is at QB. For the most part that is true. As long as Rodgers has played to his own standard, the Packers have been just fine. Rodgers has lead this team for a solid decade, and while he only has one Super Bowl appearance, it’s like Packer fans always have the privilege of knowing their team could be playoff bound. What holds back more Super Bowl appearances is that each and every time the Packers have made it into the playoffs, one way or another the defense or special teams finds a way to fall apart, crumbling those chances.
What if the Packers are without quarterback Aaron Rodgers, what good is this team without him?
Clearly, last year’s team (without Rodgers) could barely win a game, almost losing to the historically bad Cleveland Browns.
So, if Mike McCarthy does not have a future HOF QB at the helm, how good of a coach is he really?
In McCarthy’s defense, this team is entirely built around Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is the keystone (the stone that holds an arch together) of the Packers’ squad. Without Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers have no identity, no flow, and frankly, become a below average team.
With that said, how does McCarthy rate?
If McCarthy was fired today, he would be picked up by another team as soon as possible.
Whether it be as a head coach, offensive coordinator, or a quarterbacks coach, the “highly successful NFL Head Coach” would have no issue finding a job. McCarthy’s experience in Green Bay would have other teams chomping at the bit to hire him. McCarthy has a record of 123-72 as Head Coach for the Green Bay Packers.
In his first two seasons, the Packers went 8-8, and 13-3 as HOF QB Brett Favre led the team. After Favre’s dramatic departure, the Packers went with the quarterback from California.
Rodgers’ first season was understandable, going 6-10 in the regular season. In his second season, the Packers went 11-5, 10-6 in the third (won Superbowl XLV), and 15-1 in the fourth.
Clearly, the better Aaron Rodgers played, the better the team did. How about when Aaron Rodgers didn’t play?
In 2013 when Rodgers broke his collarbone, QB’s Matt Flynn, Scott Tolzein, and Seneca Wallace all tried playing to the same level as Rodgers and did so unsuccessfully. The Packers went 8-7-1 that year and made the playoffs by winning the NFC North. Why? The Packers struggled to put together a solid offense without its all-star QB.
Last season when Rodgers broke his other collarbone the Packers ended the season 7-9 and missing the playoffs for the first time in almost a decade. Again, the Packers could not put together a solid performance around an average quarterback in Brett Hundley.
Mike McCarthy controls the offense and has been calling the plays (except for a period of time in 2015) ever since he became the head coach. It is essentially, his offense.
This is not to bash on the offense completely, the Packers defense has given up big plays time and time again in the playoffs. The 2014 NFCCG is a great example of a defense and special teams breakdown, a moment every Packer fan will always remember.
Sure, Rodgers is the keystone of the Packers offense and if that keystone falls so does the arch taking the rest of the stones with it, but teams have found success after losing their quarterback before.
The best example in recent history is the Minnesota Vikings. First, the Vikings lost their promising QB Teddy Bridgewater to a gruesome knee injury. Then, they lost QB Sam Bradford to a left knee injury. Finally, their third-string quarterback Case Keenum had the opportunity to play. He absolutely blew expectations out of the water and led the Minnesota Vikings to an NFC Championship game.
Point being, it is up to the head coach to coach a team to success. It is not impossible for a team to lose it’s starting quarterback and find success.
So, should a team build itself around the quarterback position, or build a team and find a quarterback that can play just well enough to have success?
As long as Rodgers stays healthy the Packers have a shot, but if he gets injured again, how far will this team make it?