What’s next for the Green Bay Packers?
By now everyone in Packers News has read the article posted by Bleacher Report’s Tyler Dunne, detailing the problems that have been growing over the past 10-plus years in Green Bay. Was it difficult to read at times? Yes. Was it necessary to read? Some could say so. Was it information that a majority of fans had a sense of? Absolutely.
This article shouldn’t be new to anyone. The only thing new that it brought forward were the underlying reasons as to why things have gotten so bad for the Green Bay Packers. Anyone with a pair of working eyes could see the disdain on Aaron Rodgers’ face to Mike McCarthy over the past three or four years. It grew bigger and bigger every week.
We knew Ted Thompson was falling asleep behind the wheel managing one of the greatest sports franchises in the world. We knew Rodgers tends to rip into his wide receivers, demanding more from them, it’s only natural to do so as a competitor. That might be too much for some people to handle in today’s day and age though.
We know Mark Murphy essentially sees himself as the owner of the franchise that does not have a true owner. Murphy has dollar bills flying through his brain like a bird in the sky, but he does have the best interest for the organization at heart.
Last January, ESPN’s Seth Wickersham wrote an article that sure seemed to be the nail in the coffin for the Robert Kraft, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick dynasty. Spoiler alert: it was not. That’s essentially what Ty Dunne’s article is.
The truth is this: Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy broke up. Ted Thompson and Mark Murphy broke up. All-in-all, it was an ugly breakup between the ‘core four’ of the organization. Both relationships were clearly past due.
It was like watching one of your friends date someone and all they do is bicker at each other every other week. Everyone involved knows it won’t work out in the end, yet they still try to power through. Ultimately resulting in a vicious cycle in the end. It is tough to stick with the same group for five years, let alone 13 years.
Matt LaFleur comes in as a first-year head coach and if he thought all the eyes were on him before, then he better get used to what is to come over the next four-and-a-half months. He now has the greatest, but toughest job in the NFL: Coaching Aaron Rodgers.
Over the past few days, Rodgers has been led to be perceived as a villain or even a “head coach killer”. Though things ended terribly for Rodgers and McCarthy, Rodgers will not let this new opportunity slip past him.
For the first time in his career since being named the starter, he has a fresh start. A new offense, one that will scheme around him and his play-style. McCarthy’s offense grew stale beyond its years and everyone in the league caught on. The NFL is ever-changing, if you do not change with it then you get left behind. The thing is, Rodgers was changing with it, but his head coach was not. That is simply a testament of how intelligent Aaron Rodgers truly is.
Being a first-year head coach, growing pains are to be expected for LaFleur and company. But if he can control Rodgers even the slightest and bring a much-needed jolt to the Packers offense, then that is a tremendous win for him and the organization.
Many believe LaFleur’s age may be a potential problem for the new head coach/quarterback duo, which it very well may, but it is all about coming in and setting the tone. No matter how old the coach is, if they do not come in and set the tone from day one, no one will take them seriously.
LaFleur has to come in with fire and intensity; the fire to return this franchise to its winning ways, to silence his own critics and to return Aaron Rodgers to his MVP ways and prove that the quarterback can indeed be coached.
In Year 2 of Brian Gutekunst as general manager, he broke out as someone who is not afraid to dish out the cash. In the middle of March, Gutekunst threw money faster than a Josh Hader fastball at outside linebackers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, safety Adrian Amos and offensive lineman Billy Turner.
Excitement coursed through the veins of every Packers fan. Signing an actual player in free agency was somewhat new to everyone. This free agency truly solidified what Gutekunst’s number one priority is: bringing the Lombardi Trophy back home to Green Bay as soon as possible.
He is well-aware of Rodgers’ age, he knows the window is closing rapidly for his star QB, which is why the “draft and develop” technique must take the backseat. The goal is to win now, not five years down the road with Rodgers in his 40s.
Are all of these moves too late when you look at the grand scheme of things? They could be, but at least they were finally made. The moves provide hope and excitement moving forward, two emotions that have not been felt by Packers fans in nearly three years.
A new head coach who brings a new-age type of offense to the table and a GM who isn’t afraid to risk it all on proven players. Aaron Rodgers is still Aaron Rodgers, the offense is full of young talent that has not even come close to reaching its full potential yet. This team is nothing like the 2011 Packers, that team was a once-in-a-lifetime team, but, this team is not even like the 2015 Packers.
These are the 2019 Packers, a team that has the chance to create its own identity for the first time in years. A team who enters the season with an unprecedented chip on its shoulder. Everyone has something to prove, that goes from the practice squad all the way to the man who makes the team go: Aaron Rodgers.
The team and fans are still waiting for that “galvanizing moment” Rodgers spoke of last year in the middle of November. Maybe Tyler Dunne gave this team just that.