They staunchly denied it while Mike McCarthy served as head coach, but they’re admitting it now.
The Packers had grown satisfied, and it was time to rid the team of that feeling.
During Wednesday’s press conference introducing new coach Matt LaFleur, CEO Mark Murphy explained that he gathered information from nine players (one from each position group) regarding what the players hoped to achieve under a new coach.
“They wanted someone who would hold the players accountable,” Murphy explained. “They felt a complacency had set in among some players and coaches. . . . Is there something we could do to shake people up so they don’t have the complacency?”
That’s the key word: Complacency. As in getting rid of it. Which means, obviously, that McCarthy was ultimately responsible for creating it.
It’s no surprise, especially in light of the absence of a traditional owner. Indeed, PFT has pointed out the signs and symptoms of complacency, and the friction it created, over the past several years. During the 2016 season, quarterback Aaron Rodgers complained openly about a lack of energy on the sidelines. Not long after that, he bemoaned the absence of a healthy fear of getting fired if players weren’t doing their jobs.
Both gripes trace to the head coach, and Rodgers’ willingness to openly comment on those dynamics were interpreted by some (us) as a passive-aggressive tug-of-war between Rodgers and McCarthy.
Aaron didn’t appreciate that very much. He didn’t appreciate it perhaps because the arrow hit the bull’s-eye. And Murphy has now admitted it.
It’s a bit stunning that Murphy was so candid, and it’s not a good sign for McCarthy, if as he claims he intends to return to coaching in 2020. Beyond concerns about an overly simplistic (and obsessively rigid) offensive philosophy, McCarthy will (or at least should) have to answer tough questions about how and why complacency descended onto the Packers under his watch.