As Mike McCarthy’s time in Green Bay came to a close this season, rumors grew of increased tension between the former head coach and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The once seemingly perfect duo — who reached the playoffs eight times together and won a Super Bowl — reportedly started butting heads this season as the Packers struggled. Rodgers even apparently started calling his own plays on the field, completely ignoring McCarthy’s play calls at times.
The Packers eventually fired McCarthy in December after 13 seasons, and finished the year with a 6-9-1 record while missing the playoffs for the second straight season.
Though a lot of the details of the reported feud between the two may never surface, Packers tight end Marcedes Lewis did say that what he saw in Green Bay this season wasn’t like anything he’s seen in his 13 years in the NFL.
“I think all of that stuff that happened towards the end in Green Bay all came from the top,” Lewis said on Yahoo Sports’ “Mostly Football” on Thursday. “I feel like Aaron had his own set of things that he wanted to do, then obviously McCarthy had his things that he wanted to do. I just think there was a little disfunction.”
Lewis had just three receptions for 39 yards this season in Green Bay — his first with the Packers after spending 12 with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He did, though, have a front row seat to the growing beef between Rodgers and McCarthy.
Former Packers tight end Marcedes Lewis detailed more disfunction between Aaron Rodgers and former coach Mike McCarthy on Thursday. (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
He even detailed one instance in a game where Rodgers blatantly ignored the play that McCarthy sent into the huddle, simply because he didn’t like it.
“One time I really saw it for the first time, we were in the huddle. I guess McCarthy called in a play, and Aaron was kind of like, ‘Nah,’ ” Lewis said. “He gave a direction and a protection to the line, and went. It was a four-minute offense, he threw a 40-yard bomb for a completion. I’m like, ‘What’s really going on?’ I’ve never seen anything like that before in my life.”
Rodgers does have one of the best football minds among active players in the NFL, which is why it makes sense that he calls his own plays and runs the offense from time to time. However, it’s incredibly hard to find true offensive success when the head coach and quarterback are never on the same page. A relationship like that won’t last very long — especially if the team isn’t winning.
After hearing Lewis’ account, it’s clear the disfunction in Green Bay was as bad as it sounded. It’s going to be interesting to see how Rodgers works with whoever the Packers hire to replace McCarthy full time next season — especially when he undoubtedly calls an audible and strays from the offensive game plan that coach puts in place.