Source: Bleacher Report via Twitter
The Green Bay Packers have cleaned house following their failure to reach the playoffs in the 2017 season. Almost all of the coaching staff other than head coach Mike McCarthy have been fired, while Ted Thompson will no longer be the club’s general manager. The NFC North outfit were left exposed by Aaron Rodgers’ injury, which contributed towards their run of eight straight years of reaching the post-season coming to an end.
Even with Rodgers, the Packers have underwhelmed in recent seasons. With arguably the best quarterback in the NFL, McCarthy’s men have not reached the Super Bowl since their triumph in the 2010 campaign. The club appeared to be on the path towards a dynasty after lifting the Vince Lombardi trophy in Dallas, surging through the field in 2011 with a 15-1 record. However, their defeat to the New York Giants has gone on to epitomise their struggles in January.
Defensive coordinator Dom Capers saw his unit undone time again – whether it be at the hands of Eli Manning, Colin Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, Carson Palmer or last season Matt Ryan. Capers’ departure has been long overdue, although there are no overwhelming in-house candidates to replace him in the position. Surprisingly the offensive staff have also been removed as offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett and quarterbacks coach Alex van Pelt have also been fired.
From the moment Rodgers went down against the Minnesota Vikings, the Packers’ reliance on the two-time MVP was revealed. Brett Hundley had his moments, but largely struggled in relief of Rodgers. Green Bay now have the possibility of watching their NFC North rivals go on to win the Super Bowl, with the Vikings backed in the latest NFL betting odds at +450.00 to claim the crown on home soil.
With a complete overhaul of the coaching staff comes pressure on McCarthy to deliver results. He has not been blameless in the Packers’ failure to maximise their potential. His side have failed in crucial situations – none more so than their dramatic collapse against the Seattle Seahawks in the 2014 NFC Championship game. Hammerings have also occurred in playoff matches against the Giants, San Francisco 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons.
Source: 670TheScore via Twitter
Rodgers’ displays last season covered a lot of flaws, especially in their win over the Dallas Cowboys in the Divisional Round. The 34-year-old made astounding throws to put his team into the NFC Championship game almost single-handed. However, the defense wilted in the Georgia Dome against Ryan and company as not even Rodgers could muster enough points to match Atlanta’s potent offense on that day. The flaws covered by the All-Pro quarterback were put on full display in his absence, with their only victories coming against appalling opposition.
The Packers face a crucial off-season of rebuilding. Davante Adams and Corey Linsley have already signed contract extensions, which will keep the offense intact. Aaron Jones displayed promise in the running game and could be the answer the club need to ease the pressure on Rodgers, providing relief not seen since Eddie Lacy’s rookie campaign in 2013.
Defensively changes will come with a new coordinator. Green Bay have failed to develop their secondary as Damarious Randall and Quintin Rollins have not progressed, while the decision to allow Casey Hayward to leave has been made to look extremely foolish. Linebacker Clay Matthews has a large cap hit, which could see him have to take a pay cut or leave Lambeau.
The underachievement has to end in Green Bay. Changes have been made, but the club need to strike on their replacements to get back to the Super Bowl in the very near future otherwise McCarthy will follow his former assistants out the door.