Packers looking for clean break from McCarthy's tenure

Not surprsingly, there will be mostly new faces on staff heading into 2019

With the news that James Campen will be leaving for Cleveland, Joe Philbin has been allowed to interview in Minnesota and the termination of Joe Whitt Jr's contract, it is becoming increasingly clearer the Packers are looking for a complete reset from Mike McCarthy's program. This, obviously, makes perfect sense for an organization looking to hit the reset button after 13 years. 

I did find this nugget interesting in Jason Wilde's latest

The Packers officially kept Pettine as defensive coordinator on Friday, and two sources said it was not Pettine’s call to part ways with Whitt. Citing a source, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that the decision on Whitt was likely made “by the front office.” Pettine, while hired by McCarthy, came aboard last year.

“They just want to move on from the guys who were with McCarthy the longest,” one league source told the State Journal. “They want to make a clean break.”

I'd love to know exactly who made the call to let Whitt go if it wasn't Pettine. Gutekunst? Murphy? Murphy's mom?

One thing is for sure, there will be lots of new faces roaming the sidelines in official Packers gear in 2019. 

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Comments (56)

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Razer's picture

January 14, 2019 at 09:07 am

... two sources said it was not Pettine’s call to part ways with Whitt...

What sources? Unless we hear Pettine say that he really wanted to keep Whitt, we probably should ignore any 'citings'

If this call was made by Murphy, then this new coach and this organization has more problems than rebuilding a weak roster. Let Gutekunst build the talent and LaFleur build his coaching staff as he sees fit. Anything less undermines the team. You only had to watch Gutekunst during the press conference to see the effect of Murphy's heavy hand.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 14, 2019 at 09:32 am

I liked Whitt, but in all fairness, it's not like our secondary has been all-universe kick-ass for a while. I certainly understand the desire to clear out as many holdovers as possible. LaFleur already kept Pettine.

This is what change looks like. The rain falls on the just and unjust alike.

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Razer's picture

January 14, 2019 at 09:41 am

Totally agree. My only concern would be with 'who is making these calls'.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 14, 2019 at 09:46 am

Well, you have the troika of LaFleur-Gutekunst-Ball under Murphy. I would hope that there was general agreement that this was a good move for the team. If you don't get consensus agreement from this group, then you've got discord.

Nominally, the coaching hires/fires are the HC's domain.

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Hawg Hanner's picture

January 15, 2019 at 12:28 pm

I would have to rate the performance delivered by Whitt's group as totally underwhelming and it's not clear why you would want to keep going with him.

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Turophile's picture

January 15, 2019 at 04:30 am

Everyone seems to take for granted this is Murphy's call, and assuming it with very little hard fact.

These decisions could be largely down to Gutekunst. Russ Ball could have more influence than you might imagine. It could be that it all stems from LaFleur and nothing really gets out about it because upper management want to allow him a clean transition without having weights of opinion dragging him down, even before he gets going. The defensive part could be partly Pettine's call (though I doubt that)..........and finally it could easily be a joint decision where CEO, GM, HC and maybe others have got together and brainstormed the whole thing, to work out what to do.

Bottom line is that we are really guessing at this time. It's going to take time for all this to shake out, the results down the road will help tell the tale and maybe later we even get a better handle on who is deciding what, and why. Let it play out.

Also, talk of Murphy's ego becoming obnoxious (see the 'Pack Fan Forever' comment in the next post), it is, well, ludicrous. I often saw TT labelled as having a huge ego as well.......and nothing looked further from the truth, to me. Some people seem confused what 'a huge ego' means and are just projecting some fantasy that exists in their head.

How do you know Murphy isn't doing the best he can for the team (the most likely scenario), changing something that he felt wasn't working to something he hoped WOULD work. Sometimes the simplest explanation is the right one.

I get it that some don't like what they think Murphy is doing, nothing wrong with that as every fan will have his opinions on what is happening in this turbulent (for the Packers) time. But, opinions need a good bit of substance to chew on before they become firm conviction.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

January 14, 2019 at 11:54 am

My thoughts exactly Turophile. People just want someone to blame and Murphy is an easy target. Once the Packers start winning again fans will say we knew MLF was the right choice I said it all along. If the Packers keep losing the fans will come out with pitchforks calling for Murphy's head. Either way the Packers will only go as far as Rodgers takes them that's the way the team has been set up for years.

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GoldenRetriever's picture

January 15, 2019 at 12:13 am

Murphy has muddied the waters by inserting himself in the football side of the organization. It’s natural to blame him because of this.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 15, 2019 at 04:30 am

"Front Office" by definition means not LaFleur, and of course Pettine is mentioned by name. It seems unclear whether Pettine or LaFleur for that matter were tacitly okay with firing Whitt, neutral or against it. I'd be against the FO firing Whitt if Pettine really wanted to retain Whitt. The story just says it wasn't Pettine's call, not that he didn't have input or at least that his opinion was unknown to whomever the actual decision-makers were. I doubt there was a single decision-maker.

That leaves Gutekunst, Ball and Murphy. No one else has the juice. There is probably no way to know. If I were to speculate, I'd say I don't think Murphy would fire Whitt against the wishes of the GM, HC, and DC, and I don't think Ball's opinion mattered much. Ditto for Gutekunst, though that's more feasible.

At any rate, I would not single out Murphy as the impetus for this move.

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Lare's picture

January 15, 2019 at 06:01 am

I think to some extent the front office is taking the responsibility for the Moss & Whitt firings to help out Pettine & LaFleur. I'm sure there are some players who were supportive of them both, and this way there isn't any hard feelings towards the coaches as the front office can come off as the bad guys.

That said, I'm sure Pettine & LaFleur were part of the decision-making process and were supportive of both decisions.

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Pack_Fan_Forever's picture

January 14, 2019 at 09:10 am

On a related issue, Murphy’s ego has become obnoxious. He has no business taking over control of both the coach and the general manager like he has. Bob Harlan proved that was a bad system. Murphy is smiling and smug while everybody seems to give him a free pass for his damaging decisions. Keeping Ted Thompson on far too long. The roster has been depleted by bad drafts and personnel moves. And then extending McCarthy’s contract for a needless year (2019) and wasting $9 million of the organization’s money. McCarthy was on thin ice at the end of 2017. Why extend him through 2019? Zimmer is in his last year this year and the Vikings are not extending him. Let him prove that he should stay around. The Packers should’ve done the same thing with McCarthy. He’s not coaching anywhere this year and hence the Packers are on the hook for $9 million and gettting…Nothing. And that’s all Murphy’s fault. Idiotic. Why does he get a free pass for these dubious decisions? I for one cannot wait until the Packers move onto a different president. Hopefully it will be soon.

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LeotisHarris's picture

January 14, 2019 at 09:22 pm

Hmm, Pack Fan Forever, you write very much like a recently departed prolific CHTV poster. Could it be? Is it possible? The return of...

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 15, 2019 at 04:33 am

There is a qualitative difference between Murphy and Harlan (and the rest of the BOD). Harlan and the BOD didn't know squat about football. I am not that high on Murphy's credentials, but they definitely exist.

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bigGuy's picture

January 14, 2019 at 09:18 am

Heck, I just wish they would start hiring guys. Coaches that are still in the playoff are hiring guys. Are we just going to take who's left. I know they traditionally wait till staff is complete to make an announcement. But this it is starting to concern me that we cant get guys to come here.

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4thand1's picture

January 14, 2019 at 09:25 am

Murphy's name sure seems to popping up everywhere. Seems to me he has to much say, and is acting like he owns the Packers.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 14, 2019 at 09:29 am

Well, he is the President and speaks for the Executive Board.

You have a new GM and a new HC. It's natural and appropriate that Murphy would be more involved than he was under Thompson/McCarthy.

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Hematite's picture

January 14, 2019 at 09:33 am

Jerry Jones reincarnated in Green Bay.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 14, 2019 at 09:38 am

I live in Texas. Most people have given up hope that Jerry Jones is ever going to die. He's going to have his mind implanted in a bionic organism and last forever.

Murphy has a limited term contract. I think that's a pretty big difference from Jerry Jones.

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Razer's picture

January 14, 2019 at 09:39 am

Murphy really needs to step back and let his generals take the stage. Enough of his "bullshit"

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mrtundra's picture

January 14, 2019 at 09:40 am

I think Murphy should stay out of the spotlight and stick to front office duties. Maybe he and Ball could argue salary cap issues in a cubicle, somewhere. Murphy should let Gutekunst and LaFleur have the job of rebuilding this team and making it a winner, again.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 14, 2019 at 09:48 am

I think having a seasoned executive like Murphy being visible is preferable to having a new-ish GM and a rookie HC out in front.

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GoldenRetriever's picture

January 15, 2019 at 12:21 am

You mean the “seasoned executive” who was so obtuse he didn’t realize his second-in-command, Ted Thompson, had dementia until the Executive Committee yanked him by the collar into their meeting and told him to fire Thompson because he was losing it? Murphy’s power grab is the result of his being caught with his guard down—a CYA maneuver if ever there was one. He’s overcompensating to cover up for his failure to realize that his aging GM had a serious degenerative neurological disorder.

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Lare's picture

January 15, 2019 at 08:01 am

Unlike many others here, I don't have that big of a problem with Murphy being involved in football decisions. He does have a fair amount of experience at many levels of football (maybe even moreso than many GM's) so I'll have to trust his judgement until proven wrong.

That said, I think it's well known that TT was slipping the last few years. But what we don't know is how much (if any) decisions he was making at that point. Even if the NFL is a big business Green Bay is still a small town franchise, and many businesses and even government protect their leaders and cover up for them in times of health issues.

The draft gurus can provide much more insight than I can, but to me the drafts in 2014 & 20115 showed a serious decline in decision-making abilities. But then things seemed to change in 2016 & 2017, both drafts that still have a number of fairly productive players on the team.

TT's health issues didn't happen overnight and I'm sure that everyone within the organization knew about it. If I had to guess, I'd say that Gutekunst, Wolf, Ball, McCarthy and Murphy were making many of the GM decisions the last couple years and were just hoping to find a way to ease TT out without embarrassing him. Then, the camera shot of him in the booth happened and we all know what's happened since.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 15, 2019 at 04:36 am

Yes, lots of truth in this comment. Other than introducing LaFleur, I don't think Murphy has said anything about Whitt or Campen. If his name popped up in those contexts, it wasn't due to any overt action on Murphy's part.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 14, 2019 at 09:26 am

I don't know all the inside stuff, but I liked Whitt and thought he did a good job for the most part.

I'm going to add this decision to other Gutekunst decisions that I didn't agree with, from extending Rodgers to dismissing Nelson to not fortifying the offensive line or drafting Lamar Jackson.

Gutekunst is either going to win....soon...or he's going to be gone. That's the way of the jungle.

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Jonathan Spader's picture

January 14, 2019 at 12:02 pm

Nelson didn't look great with the Raiders. Do you think he was worth the contract the Raiders signed him to? Jordy is one of my favorite Packers and a great guy but I think it was time to part ways for both parties.

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Patrick Helms's picture

January 14, 2019 at 01:44 pm

Lack of loyalty within an organization speaks volumes. So what if an aging player has one or two more years left. Let him retire with the team he loves and gave all he had to give. What happened to Favre, Sitton, Woodson, etc has reflected very negatively on the whole team and a heavy price has been payed by the loss of veteran leaders with skills and knowledge to pass down to younger players. It's ok to keep some of them around and possibly later on after retirement as mentors and assistants. Without loyalty, moral suffers monumentally.

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Swisch's picture

January 14, 2019 at 02:19 pm

It's a such a delicate balance with veteran players.
I prefer to error on the side of loyalty. As well as being the right thing to do, it does set a tone for the other players that they matter as people. Loyalty goes both ways.
However, keeping an aging players who isn't all that good anymore isn't really fair to the rest of the team, or to the fans. This is all the more true if an aging player is getting paid too much money and putting forth too little effort.
I wasn't sure about Jordy. He had a good long run in Green Bay of nine years (and not counting his injury season) -- so I don't think it was necessarily disloyal to let him go.
I'm also not sure what's best regarding Cobb and Matthews.
I just hope that management takes into account the human factor when making these decisions. The veterans can add a lot that goes beyond statistics.
I like keeping our guys on the Packers as long as possible, but also realize that they can't stay forever.

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Free agent's picture

January 14, 2019 at 02:50 pm

With blind loyalty and poor drafting of players you’ll end up with a 6-9-1 record. Don’t resign Cobb or Matthews. Cut Your loses with Perry. All 3 of these players are not worth the money, besides they will miss the majority of the games next year due to some injury.

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Swisch's picture

January 14, 2019 at 03:44 pm

While loyalty is a good thing, blind loyalty is not.
Signing free agents is also risky, as we've seen.
Perhaps there can be common agreement among fans that these decisions need to be made on a person-to-person basis.
I would be glad to hear arguments for and against keeping Cobb, Matthews, and Perry -- I would lean at this point to not keeping any of them -- but the general principle of considering human factors should apply to all players.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

January 15, 2019 at 04:50 am

Loyalty is a good thing, but it's a two-way street. If the player has lost it, perhaps he should retire rather than expect the team to use a roster spot on a player who can't perform anymore. I understand if the player wants to earn another few million, but it's asking a lot to get paid for past performance.

I don't know if GB offered Jordy a roster spot to go with that low pay, and we don't know how low it was. There isn't too much loyalty being shown to Bulaga, who has been a warrior over the years, playing through pain all the time.

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mrtundra's picture

January 14, 2019 at 09:31 am

David Raih is also gone from the GB coaching ranks. Another MM guy bites the dust.

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Lare's picture

January 14, 2019 at 02:23 pm

I went into Packers.com this morning to look at the list of coaches and see how long Campen had been with the team and the entire coaching staff including Philbin was still listed there.

I just went in a couple of minutes ago to the same page and the only ones there are LaFleur and Pettine, nobody else.

It looks like the housecleaning is pretty well completed.

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Razer's picture

January 14, 2019 at 09:36 am

Maybe I am giving these guys too much credit BUT you'd think they would have anticipated the coaching staff fallout of hiring Matt LaFleur. Joe Whitt had been promoted to pass game coordinator, Campen to run game coordinator and Philbin apparently showed up unprepared. New coach who doesn't have need for McCarthy's structure would naturally be asking these guys to step back so these departures shouldn't be a surprise.

The bigger question should be if Matt LaFleur had a list and a plan for his new coaching staff going into the interview. I would be totally disappointed if all this turnover is by surprise and Murphy and the new guy are winging it.

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Leatherhead's picture

January 14, 2019 at 09:42 am

During the peak of the Fire McCarthy Fever, it was pointed out here by several people that it wouldn't just be McCarthy. But it didn't seem to matter.

This is what change looks like. The rain falls on the just and unjust alike.

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Razer's picture

January 14, 2019 at 10:38 am

I have no problem with the changes. I only hope that the new top people foresaw this and had plans accordingly.

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Pack12's picture

January 14, 2019 at 10:02 am

It's not like the Packers secondary were world beaters under Whitt and if the Packers had wanted Campen they wouldn't have let him walk. LaFleur deserves to have his own coaching staff. The talk about Murphy being the one pulling the strings sounds ridiculous. This happens all the time when a new coach is hired.

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Pack12's picture

January 14, 2019 at 10:02 am

It's not like the Packers secondary were world beaters under Whitt and if the Packers had wanted Campen they wouldn't have let him walk. LaFleur deserves to have his own coaching staff. The talk about Murphy being the one pulling the strings sounds ridiculous. This happens all the time when a new coach is hired.

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Since'61's picture

January 14, 2019 at 10:12 am

We were 6-9-1 with MMs staff we can be 6-9-1 without them. Everyone wanted MM and his staff chucked at the end of the season, now posters are complaining that the staff is being let go. I never thought that Whitt was that good. The middle of our secondary was always wide open and our safeties were often out of position.

Let Gute and Lafleur do their jobs. The results will show up on the field. This is time for patience.
Thanks, Since '61

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Lare's picture

January 14, 2019 at 11:00 am

Everyone is applauding the Browns for signing coaches, but the ones they've hired so far all seem to be from losing teams. I have no problem with LaFleur taking his time on assistant coaches and checking out guys on winning teams that made the playoffs.

As to Whitt, it may have just been another move to remove complacency. Some of the biggest complainers on the team (HHCD & Randall) seemed to have been DBs. Also wouldn't be surprised if Whitt had something of an attitude problem lately. He was touted as possibly being the next Packers HC but now he's been passed over for that as well as the DC position twice in the last year.

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Free agent's picture

January 14, 2019 at 11:10 am

No complaints here.... Take the “ scrub brush” to this roster and MM’s coaching staff. Sould be a very exciting offseason! Watch and learn Ted Thompson.

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Since'61's picture

January 14, 2019 at 12:40 pm

Absolutely agree Free agent. Let Gute and Lafleur succeed or fail with their own people. Otherwise the results will be attributed to keeping someone too long or allowing the holdover to subvert the new coach and his vision for the team. Thanks, Since '61

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Packers0808's picture

January 14, 2019 at 10:14 am

LaFluer and this Gute fellow are going to turn out to be major flops and mistakes. And Rodgers had better be reined in or you will see another disaster as he created about McCarthy. Rodgers is not a God!

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 14, 2019 at 12:19 pm

"Rodgers is not a God!"
"LaFluer and this Gute fellow are going to turn out to be major flops and mistakes."

But you must think you are since you apparently know the future.

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Packers0808's picture

January 14, 2019 at 05:30 pm

Just wait and see! Way too much optimism here. Remember where you read it! Just look how poor the team did with Rodgers full strength and really lousy FA from Gute! Just saying!

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Samson's picture

January 14, 2019 at 01:24 pm

0808 is better identified as '0000'.

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Free agent's picture

January 14, 2019 at 02:37 pm

@ Samson..... LMAO!

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Packers0808's picture

January 14, 2019 at 05:35 pm

And the Hackett hire is going from the Packers were to where they will be again. Where is the improvement, remember Rodgers was hurt as Bortles was and what did our Offense do, nothing just like Jaguars. And I bet the Fast A-- will take a long time to laugh off!

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Packers0808's picture

January 14, 2019 at 05:31 pm

And you are a twit! Being that is being a -0000000000!

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OldTimer's picture

January 14, 2019 at 11:17 am

I truly hope that Mr Murphy will step away from the GM duties now that he has cleared up the coaching problems we had developed, and let Gute do his job. A house cleaning was needed, and we have done that now. LaFluer should be allowed to build his coaching staff from the top down, hopefully with fewer coaches overall, and with appropriate input from his new hires in regards to the people under them. Gute should build the roster as he sees fit, with input from the coaches as well, in regards to the positions we need to improve and what type of players are needed in those roles. Actual player selection is up to him. As always, Go Pack, Go!

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Jonathan Spader's picture

January 14, 2019 at 12:11 pm

What has MLF done to build his coaching staff so far? Didn't land Monken, tried to get his brother and was blocked. Am I missing something? How do we know he isn't asking Murphy for help in this regard? Why do people think Murphy isn't allowing Gute to do his job?

Murphy organized a committee of 9 players and they have been letting coaches go based off of feedback from the players. Murphy and Gute sound like they are working cooperatively. Where the hell is the harm in that?

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

January 14, 2019 at 12:22 pm

Some people need to publicly announce a bunch of Chicken Little bullshit so they can fall back on the false vanity in case things don't work out.

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Pack88's picture

January 14, 2019 at 01:11 pm

I am not so sure there is any thing sinister going on at all. I tend to agree with the thought that new voices in the choir were needed. While I was in the camp that liked both Campen and Whitt, sometimes change is its own improvement.

We will be able to determine the effectiveness of the moves next year but we have all been around the block and sometimes the change you resist or resent the most is most needed!

I am looking forward to a dynamic new offense and an even better defense. I expect the corporate side of the Packers to focus their energies there and I expect Gute and the staff to produce a successful football team. Maybe I am the glass full guy but I think these changes will help greatly

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Samson's picture

January 14, 2019 at 01:28 pm

I really can't see how any fan posting here can honestly evaluate an assistant coach. -- Fans have no idea the inner workings of an NFL coaching structure --- so why even guess?

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WinUSA's picture

January 14, 2019 at 02:40 pm

What we really need is a clean break from Murphy. Pretty soon there will be a new team that is ripping apart the NFL and that is the Cleveland Packers!!!!!!!~

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OldTimer's picture

January 14, 2019 at 03:44 pm

If you are not going to trust the people you hire to do their jobs, then why hire them? All that I am saying is they should be allowed and expected to do their jobs. It will be their necks in the noose. Murphy might be a great GM, but that!s not the job he was hired to do. LaFluer has been with us less than a week, and you expect him to have a full staff in place? Getting the OC in place is critical, so take the time to do it right. Monken might not have been what they were looking for, or maybe he didn't want to work here. For whatever reason, that is in the past. A few weeks from now we will know a lot more.

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