Greg Jennings Is Wrong About Mike McCarthy (But Also Right)
Today, Greg Jennings is participating in his seemingly annual hobby of joining a national TV or radio show to say something mildly negative about the Packers.
Previously, he’s called out Aaron Rodgers for being a poor leader and weighed in on the Packers’ locker room tendencies. This year he has a non-player target: head coach Mike McCarthy, who he claims is holding the Packers back.
Appearing on Fox Sports’ Undisputed, Jennings said McCarthy is the reason the Packers haven’t won another Super Bowl with Aaron Rodgers in part because of his conservative play calling.
“If we had a lead, our issue wasn’t the defense, our issue was Mike McCarthy,” Jennings said. “He would cuff us … When you watch New England play, when they have a lead, they go for your throat, they don’t relax.”
Jennings may have a germ of a point, but it’s also probably true that the Packers have lost for plenty of reasons out of McCarthy’s control, play calling foibles or not.
But I don’t want to argue with Jennings' logic. What is interesting to me is how Jennings unintentionally points out something about the Packers almost wholly unique to the team: their most important personnel have been around so long that it’s almost impossible to get an honest read on them.
The Packers Are What You Want Them To Be
General manager Ted Thompson, head coach Mike McCarthy, and starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers have been together for more than a decade. Rodgers was Thompson’s first ever first round pick in 2005, and the trio’s fates have been linked since McCarthy came on board a year later.
Since then, they’ve been to the NFC title game four times (with Rodgers riding the pine for one), won a Super Bowl, racked up more NFC North championship than anyone really cares to remember, and posted double digit wins in eight of the last ten seasons. It’s been a good run by any reasonable measure.
But with that long of a tenure, there’s ample evidence for just about any viewpoint.
Think Mike McCarthy is an overly-conservative bum who should be run out of town on a rail? The 2014 NFC Championship is just the game for you.
Believe, instead, that McCarthy is an adept game manager with the right amount of guts and instinct for gambling? Turn instead to the 2016 Divisional round.
Do you think the Packers should have a more veteran presence on the roster and Ted Thompson is afraid to sign free agents? The 2015 losses in Arizona are probably games in your favor.
But do you think Thompson does a great job with draft picks and key signings when merited? Then you probably love the 2014 Divisional game where a rookie receiver and a veteran playmaker (Davante Adams and Julius Peppers, respectively) made big contributions.
And if you’re a Brett Favre truther who thinks Aaron Rodgers can’t live up to the Gunslinger’s legacy, you probably took a perverse joy in his struggles against the Giants in 2011 and against Atlanta in 2016, ignoring his legendary performance as a road dog in Atlanta in 2010 or even his playoff heroics against New York and Dallas in 2016.
If you want to be mad at the Packers, you sure can be. There’s plenty of evidence. But keep in mind that there’s just as much, perhaps more, on the other side.
In an odd way, that’s just what you get when your team is among the best in the league for more than a decade straight.