The situation between Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy in Green Bay last season got uglier than most people imagined, and it apparently had a significant negative impact on the development of some of the Packers’ young wide receivers.
In a lengthy feature that examines what went wrong in Green Bay leading up to McCarthy’s firing, Bleacher Report’s Tyler Dunne was told by numerous sources that Rodgers frequently undermined McCarthy’s coaching decisions and play-calls to the point where he made his receivers choose between listening to their quarterback or their head coach. One source close to the Packers estimated Rodgers changed about one of every three plays McCarthy called, and that put rookie receivers Equanimeous St. Brown and Marquez Valdes-Scantling in difficult spots.
On one play during a loss to the New England Patriots last season, Rodgers reportedly told St. Brown to run a post route when McCarthy called a flag. The play was unsuccessful, and St. Brown later had to tell a position coach he was “improvising” so he would not upset Rodgers by throwing him under the bus.
Other sources told Dunne that Rodgers would simply stop throwing to St. Brown and Valdes-Scantling when they made mistakes. When Valdes-Scantling began running the routes that were called from the sideline, Rodgers supposedly started freezing him out of the offense. Valdes-Scantling chalked it up to the MVP quarterback simply not liking him.
Regardless of what Rodgers said about his personal relationship with McCarthy, it seems clear that their working relationship became extremely toxic. Between Rodgers freezing out rookie receivers for listening to their coach over him and the opinion he reportedly held of McCarthy’s football IQ, it’s no surprise the Packers decided the coach-QB combo could no longer coexist.