A quick click over to Packers.com to see the Green Bay Packers’ post-game press conferences shows a tale of two very different individuals following the team’s 31-17 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday night.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who spoke after the game, looked unhappy and agitated when he took the podium to speak to the media, and with good reason. The Packers offense has consistently struggled all year long, and Rodgers has unequivocally been one of the reasons why. Although Rodgers is on a career-high pace in terms of passing yards and is still on a solid pace in terms of yards-per-attempt and avoiding interceptions, his completion percentage on the season is at an all-time low (60.6%), and he has failed to throw 62% completions since week two of this season. Furthermore, he has been inaccurate on throws that he has rarely missed in the past, he’s throwing the ball away more frequently than before, and he generally looks like he is not comfortable on the field.
Ultimately, Rodgers took questions for seven and a half minutes on Sunday night, and as team’s longest-tenured veteran, Rodgers was sure to place most of the blame on himself for making poor reads and throws. When given the opportunity to throw a rookie wide receiver under the bus for a mistake — Equanimeous St. Brown costing the team a timeout because he was lined up incorrectly — Rodgers acknowledged that it was a mistake but said that he wasn’t “pissed,” instead saving those feelings for his own performance. He later said that he needs to get the ball to Davante Adams more often, citing one play in particular where he could have had Adams one-on-one over the middle if he had held the ball a fraction of a second longer.
In short, it’s a good example of how you would hope a leader would respond. He took ownership of his own mistakes rather than blaming others, he was specific about what the issues and possible solutions were, and he demonstrated that he truly cares about fixing the problems without lashing out at his teammates.
By contrast, we have Mike McCarthy’s brief and pointless press conference. McCarthy’s body language was listless, but most concerning was the fact that he took just four questions, leaving the podium at the first notable break in questioning. All told, he spoke for about 90 seconds and generally seemed like he wanted to be anywhere other than dealing with the just-finished game.
Perhaps speculation about his job is getting to him; after all, when a huge portion of a team’s fan base wants the head coach out, it must take a toll on him. McCarthy’s name has also been coming up repeatedly in relation to the Cleveland Browns since Hue Jackson’s firing, and not just among fans on social media. The Sporting News mentioned him as a possibility for the job, but more notable is that NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport included McCarthy as one of the candidates to fill that position at the end of the year.
If one of these two is done in Green Bay at the end of the year, it’s McCarthy who is heading for the door. Rodgers signed his new contract in August, and the Packers couldn’t part ways from him even if he or they wanted to (regardless of Stephen A. Smith’s ridiculous, loud feelings on the matter).
But even if the Packers were in a position to pick one or the other, Sunday’s press conferences should make it perfectly clear which man should stay and which should go.