I can’t believe I have to continue to be a public sucker for this team’s playoff hopes. I was finally a completely irrational angry fan after the team was inspiringly uninterested in the Arizona Cardinals defeat. I always love to dream of not caring to an elite level, but unfortunately, as that game pointed out, you probably can’t get it done based on talent. It has to remain a dream, or at least confined to 13% percent of my life.
Mike McCarthy was fired, many around the league (media/ex-players) had the Packers organization on the hot seat for the early dismissal of their super bowl winning coach. ‘The man deserves more respect!’ That didn’t surprise me, you’d think Tony Dungy and Terry Bradshaw (plus almost everyone in front of a camera) would agree with that sentiment. I mostly agree, but I didn’t want to watch four more Arizona Cardinals level games to end the season, either.
Which brings me to the other side of the new’s cycle regarding the Mike McCarthy firing. Every national analysts, which as we know, talk outta their ass for a living, went after Aaron Rodgers. It’s something I normally just shrug off, Colin Cowherd is trying to put on a good show, he could care less about being right. You don’t want to mess with Stephen A. Smith, so I don’t know how you show him some game tape that would help his show.
So yes, the national analysts attacked Rodgers leadership ability, his personality, whether he got his coach fired, even going as far as to say, will the best coaching candidates even want to put up with him. (haha, not too concerned about the last gripe).
Normally, I would just shrug it off and say, “Get those ratings Colin! You’re as talented as they come in your profession, Jerry Seinfeld respects you.” Unfortunately, there was a lot of evidence from that Cardinals game, that was really nice tinder for the fire.
The team had absolutely no rhythm outside of Aaron Rodgers frequent eye rolls. Well perhaps I’m being unfair, Rodgers just gunning the re-creation of the 2016 Divisional Playoff hailmary downfield with the attitude of ‘eh, not my fault’, had a certain smoothness to it. Now is that rhythm, this white man is not to decide.
We can all see that Rodgers cared much more about trying to pull off the miracle in the playoffs, then lead this current team to the playoffs.
Well, maybe I’m wrong, he showed more glee heading back to the sideline against the Cardinals a couple weeks ago. Getting people fired is so much fun in 2018, he just had to get in on the fold.
I understand not being able to make it work with a coach. Hell, I respect that you have to be a crazy man to be as good as Aaron Rodgers, but I do not understand not doing your best to win the game. Well actually, I get that too, I was a Junior shooting guard on Division 4’s finest Boscobel Bulldogs varsity basketball team. I could shoot a basketball, our coach ran the same inbound plays throughout the whole program, from 7th grade to Varsity. Needless to say, the rest of the conference had a solid scouting report on us. I was the in bounder for these plays, it wasn’t too hard to figure out what One Down meant. I was going to lob it between the three point line and halfcourt (shout out Bo Ryan), then I was heading to the corner for a quick “open” look.
My coach was getting frustrated that I was lobbing the inbound pass, because my outlet had to jump for it, giving the defense plenty of time to find me before my teammates could catch the ball and move it. He told me to start line driving them to my teammate, giving them less time to react. We had a minor spat in practice, where he told me to listen to him. (I voiced that it’d create turnovers).
Well as it goes, next game, we’re down three points with 45 seconds left or so, he calls one down. Our NON CONFERENCE opponent knew exactly what we were running, and were fronting my outlet man. So my only play was to lob it over the top like I had always done, just to get the ball inbounds. Well in defiance, I decided to line drive this pass, and no surprise, we did not maintain possession of the ball. Oh did I have an Aaron Rodgers smirk in that moment – maybe that play doesn’t work at all coach!
I felt horrible after the game, making a decision that purposely hurt my team to make a point to coach, who at practice next day said, “I know what you were trying to do, just didn’t execute it.” He….he did not know, making my point even more worthless.
So I can completely understand how Rodgers played against the Cardinals, but he deserved all the criticism he received after that game. I’m not proud of my decision, although it does give me a little fuzziness in my chest, I’m sure Rodgers feels similar. A mix of dread and pride in yourself for being insubordinate.
Moving forward, Mike McCarthy is gone, Joe Philbin took over, and the playoffs were a dream for next season. Then, the Packers looked like themselves again against a sub par Atlanta Falcons team, the NFC just continued to lose all weekend, and just like that the upcoming Chicago Bears game matters. We still have a shot at the playoff berth, and we shouldn’t. When the team fired McCarthy, the team had essentially given up on the season. What’s more rejuvenating than being out of the picture, and all of a sudden having a chance to dream big.
The energy around the team against Atlanta seemed incredibly more loose. Joe Philbin was smiling and just looked happy to finish out the season as coach. The Packers were without 3/5 of their starting offensive line, so the ball was getting out of Rodgers hands quickly, and for whatever reason, he was making the throws.
It’s impossible to predict how this team can stack up against the Chicago Bears, fresh off of stomping the LA Rams. I think Joe Philbin – just being happy to be here guy, actually plays into the Packers hands on Sunday. Rodgers seems to have loosened up, possibly being less restricted by his head coach. The playcalling wasn’t out of this world creative, but it showed a couple changes. Needless to say, it’ll be hard to know exactly what to expect if you’re game planning against the Packers this week.