Murphy: Rodgers injury may have helped spur Packers' housecleaning
Green Bay Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy believes the season-derailing injury to quarterback Aaron Rodgers might have happened for a reason: It exposed weaknesses in the organization and paved the way for wholesale changes.
“That’s a great question,” Murphy said in a radio interview Friday when asked if the same overhaul would have occurred had the Packers been in the playoffs this weekend. “And I hate to speculate, but um, yeah um, you know, I’ll give you, maybe not as many (changes) as we made. And that’s where — you hate to say it — but sometimes things happen for a reason, and sometimes you can have blessings in disguise. And I think this did really focus all of us, force us to really focus on what do we need to do to ensure that we can continue to compete for Super Bowls.”
Murphy, speaking with 105.7 The Fan in Milwaukee, also confirmed the hiring of Joe Philbin and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.
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“I know nothing has been officially announced, but I’ll say it: I’m excited about Joe Philbin and Mike Pettine,” Murphy said. “I think we’re in really good hands with both of them. I’m excited to see the team next year. I think the expectations here are high, and I think we legitimately will be able to compete for a Super Bowl in the near future.”
While Philbin’s role remains undefined, sources told the Journal Sentinel it is expected to consist of coordinator-like responsibilities alongside coach Mike McCarthy, who parted ways with offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett last week. Philbin previously worked for the Packers from 2003-11, and during that time he spent five years as offensive coordinator.
Pettine comes to the Packers after spending one year as a consultant with the Seattle Seahawks. His last full-time coaching job came as head coach of the Cleveland Browns in 2014-15.
“I’m excited to see what we’re going to be able to do this year,” Murphy said. “I don’t want to put too much (pressure on it), but you look at when Mike and Joe Philbin were together, we had some pretty good offenses. I think that’s exciting. And Mike Pettine, you look at (his resume), his track record is pretty good in terms of defenses that he’s coordinated. So it’s pretty exciting to think about what could happen.”
Murphy, who made the decision to transition general manager Ted Thompson to a senior adviser role, was also asked why he retained McCarthy in an offseason when change was clearly necessary. His response served as a ringing endorsement for the head coach.
“Well, first of all I have a lot of confidence in Mike,” Murphy said. “I think, you know, he’s proven himself. He’s an excellent head coach in this league, and I don’t think he’s stale. I think he does a great job every year evaluating what changes he needs to make, and this was a difficult season in a lot of ways. I give him credit, he made the changes that he felt were needed, and those are difficult."
NOTE: Former Packers quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt, whose contract expired after the 2017 season, will fill the same position with the Cincinnati Bengals, ESPN reported.