For Green Bay fans who just tuned in…
No, you have not had a bad dream.
You have not done the ultimate mannequin challenge only to find yourself in the depths of Hell, or worse, Minneapolis.
This is the world you now live in, the Packers 2016 season has officially become a disaster, most recently outmatched by the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans, teams not confused with the NFL’s elite.
Let us start at the top. Mike McCarthy defended himself this week, he referred to himself as ‘a highly successful coach‘. The resume shows support with a 108-60-1 record and one Super Bowl title in 10 1/2 seasons.
It should have been two Super Bowl appearances except for Brandon Bostick cementing his status of Green Bay’s version of Steve Bartman.
The fact that McCarthy has been the Packers coach since 2006 may be part of the current problem. Mike Holmgren is recognized as the coach who helped turn Green Bay fortunes around. By the time of his seventh season in 1998, Holmgren seeked his next challenge and soon headed for Seattle.
Even the legendary Vince Lombardi stayed in Green Bay just nine years. He resurfaced as a NFL coach in Washington in 1969 and would likely had stayed there long-term had he not died a year later.
Only one player has been in Green Bay for the entirety of McCarthy’s tenure, but friction between McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers has bubbled to the surface in recent weeks.
If the Rodgers/McCarthy relationship is indeed on shaky ground as reported by one media outlet, someone leaves and that person is unlikely to be number 12.
Rodgers has taken criticism as well, and the question on whether he has the staying power of Brett Favre or Tom Brady is legitimate. Rodgers also remains on pace to throw for 4,000 yards with 22 touchdowns against just seven interceptions, in line with previous years. But Rodgers’ quarterback rating of 93.9 ranks 16th in the league and his personal lowest since the 2008 season.
Much fault falls on general manager Ted Thompson. Injuries remain a fact of NFL life, but the offense has been forced to navigate the season with zero depth at the running back. Injuries have also ravaged the defense, the team survived an epidemic of injuries six years ago, but most years losing top-line talent such as Clay Matthews and Sam Shields proves fatal.
With a 4-5 record, the only positive news pertains to the Packers location in the NFC North. The Minnesota Vikings have played equally bad football over the last month and the Detroit Lions share the division lead at 5-4. With divisional opponents comprising the final three games of the schedule, the Packers could still claim the division title and then peak come playoff time.
Barring that scenario, McCarthy and possibly Ted Thompson could see walking papers not long after Jan. 2. The 21-0 deficit the team dug this past Sunday represented the first such early deficit since the dark ages of Forrest Gregg in 1986.
As was the case with Mike Sherman 11 years ago, the time has come for changes in Green Bay so the rest of Aaron Rodgers career is not wasted.