Sunday afternoon, the Green Bay Packers fell to 4-7-1 on the season. They’re this close to entirely missing the playoffs for the second straight season. But they didn’t just lose on Sunday afternoon. Aaron Rodgers and his Packers lost to the then two-win Arizona Cardinals. Afterwards, team President Mark Murphy made the decision to fire head coach Mike McCarthy. After nearly 13 seasons, one Super Bowl title and numerous playoff appearances, that’s it. But if you ask Rodgers, he swears he didn’t see it coming.
And he hopes he’s not the reason why.
“I was as shocked as many of you were, I’m sure,” Rodgers told reporters on Monday. And again, a lot of people are pointing to the disconnect between him and McCarthy. He doesn’t see it that way, however. Instead, he thinks they had a very healthy relationship. Sometimes the butt heads, but that’s normal. Nobody gets along with another person all the time, right?
“I hope that’s not the reason,” Rodgers continues. “I think him and I, like any relationship, we have our amazing times, we have our times when we butt heads. But the basis … was built on mutual respect and communication.”
Now, from this week on until the end of the season, offensive coordinator Joe Philbin takes over as head coach. And as of this writing, he apparently has a legitimate chance at keeping the job. In three-plus seasons as head coach in Miami, the Dolphins went 24-28. Not once did they finish with a winning record, going 8-8 in consecutive seasons between 2013-14. So we’ll see what Philbin brings to the table during the final month of the season.
For what it’s worth, I believe the Packers will look elsewhere for their next head coach. Then the question becomes: can Rodgers handle a new offensive scheme? Will he be able to adapt to a new coach, possibly one who has to tell him ‘no’ from time to time?
He doesn’t think it’s going to be a problem.
“I think my football aptitude, I’m able to adjust if we need to. I’ve been in the same system for 14 years, so obviously I have a lot of comfort in this, but whoever they bring in, I’m sure will be somebody with their own ideas and we’ll adjust accordingly when we get there,” Rodgers adds.
And no matter what — the ups and downs, the frustrating times — Rodgers will always respect McCarthy. They truly did have many memorable moments over the years.
“…As much as what was made, conjecture about him and I’s relationship, it was always built on mutual respect and communication. We accomplished a lot together. We had some incredible moments.”
Up next, the Packers will take on the lowly Atlanta Falcons (4-8). Matt Ryan and company have lost four in a row. So, yeah, that’s going to be a fun one to view. Or something.