The Green Bay Packers began their coaching search after firing head coach Mike McCarthy on Sunday. Should Aaron Rodgers be able to help select McCarthy’s successor?
The head coach and quarterback are the two most important people on any NFL team. For the Green Bay Packers, former coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers had one of the longest-standing relationships between player and coach in history.
The two men spent nearly 13 seasons together, so it could be argued Rodgers may have a tough time transitioning to a new system. Speaking to the media at his locker on Monday, Rodgers stated (via Packers.com), “We accomplished a lot of things together and will have a lot of things to talk about down the line.”
Rodgers later added, however, that he’d be willing to learn a new offensive system and would even welcome a younger head coach. He pointed toward the success of head coach Sean McVay’s relationship with Los Angeles Rams left tackle Andrew Whitworth, whom Rodgers states is a “close friend”.
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Whoever the Packers end up selecting, though, Rodgers likely won’t be a deciding factor in the final decision. The possibility of Rodgers helping select Green Bay’s new head coach was thrown out the window during Monday’s press conference with Packers CEO Mark Murphy and general manager Brian Gutekunst.
"“Obviously he’s free to provide input and talk to us, but he’s not going to be a part of the process.” Murphy said of Rodgers. Murphy also said Gutekunst would be “actively involved in the selection process”, but that the final decision would ultimately fall on his shoulders."
When asked whether he has the prerequisites to select a new coach, Murphy pointed to his relevant football experience in his playing days with the Washington Redskins, his time as an athletic director at Northwestern, and his time as Packers President/CEO.
You can view the entirety of Murphy and Gutekunst’s press conference below:
Clearly Murphy was serious when talking about who has a strong word in the coaching selection process. But shouldn’t Rodgers be able to have a say in which coach he’ll be working with?
Sure, the Packers aren’t going to hire a coach that Rodgers wouldn’t want to work with. That’s a given. But seeing that the relationship between coach and quarterback is of utmost importance, shouldn’t Rodgers be given at least a small cut of the decision-making pie?
Rodgers is entering the back-nine of his career, having just turned 35 years old on Dec. 3. Even though he says he wants to play into his 40s, nothing is promised. It’s absolutely paramount that the Packers’ front office spends some sort of time going over their final decision with Rodgers, because if they strike out, it’s back to square one. And at this point in Rodgers’ career, time is of the essence.
If the Packers want to form a cohesive relationship between coach and quarterback — something that clearly wasn’t there between McCarthy and Rodgers during the past couple years — then Rodgers should absolutely be consulted on before the final decision comes in.