GREEN BAY - As the Green Bay Packers dipped to 4-5 in the wake of a blowout loss to the Tennessee Titans, a wealth of criticism was lobbed at quarterback Aaron Rodgers and coach Mike McCarthy, whose job security was questioned in Sunday's postgame news conference. With the team at a crossroads, fans and reporters alike wondered if the Packers were about to fall off a season-killing cliff.
One particular article drew the ire of Rodgers, who held his weekly media session Wednesday. Written by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the story probed the relationship between Rodgers and McCarthy, a relationship described as calamitous.
"Regardless of whether it dates back to the decision of the 49ers not to draft Aaron Rodgers when Mike McCarthy served as offensive coordinator there," Florio wrote, "or whether it has popped up in the struggles since last year’s 6-0 start or whether at some point the quarterback said something that got and stayed under the coach’s skin or at some point the coach said something that got and stayed under the quarterback’s skin, the relationship is dangerously close to exploding or imploding or otherwise-ploding in a way that results in one of them being sent packing.
"And it won’t be the quarterback."
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The article went on to describe Rodgers' alleged "passive-aggressive attack on McCarthy" that played out through a series of barbs in the media.
"After an ugly home loss to the Colts," Florio wrote, "Rodgers declared that the sideline lacked energy, a shot at the man ultimately responsible for ensuring that the players are ready to play. McCarthy said the next day that he thought the energy was "pretty good." More recently, Rodgers took more clear aim at McCarthy after an embarrassing loss to a team that in past years was hard pressed to score 47 in a month, suggesting that the coach doesn’t instill the proper amount of it’s-not-personal-it’s-just-business fear in players that, at some point, failure will get them fired."
Rodgers was quick to reject the assertions and instead spoke highly of his coach. He echoed the statement McCarthy made Monday about being a highly successful NFL head coach.
To Rodgers, the criticism heaped on McCarthy is unwarranted.
"I think it’s ridiculous," Rodgers said Wednesday. "I think people don’t understand how difficult it is to win in this league and win consistently. The success that we’ve had here, it’s tough to do. We’ve set the standard pretty high. But I wouldn’t listen to some of those people out there. I mean they’re not in this locker room, they’re not in the meeting rooms, they’re not in the practice environments. They don’t know what’s going on, they don’t know the type of work ethic that we have here and that Mike has here. Especially guys like Mike Florio. Don’t waste your time reading crap like that.
"That stuff is white noise. I don’t pay attention to that kind of stuff. We set the bar here pretty high and that’s because we’ve had a lot of success here. We’re very proud of that. But we’re trying to win football games right now, and that stuff doesn’t matter."
Added wide receiver Davante Adams: "We 100 percent buy into everything coach Mike has to say. He’s been winning around here for a long time. I think the Green Bay nation kind of gets spoiled. They see a lot of big plays, they see this, they see the flash things. You might go through a little adversity and then everybody’s blaming coach and doing all these things when you have to realize there’s a lot more to it."