I was gobsmacked by the Packers’ decision to play Aaron Rodgers against the Jets on Sunday due to injury risk, drop in draft position, and forgoing the opportunity to evaluate DeShone Kizer at backup QB. I hypothesized that Rodgers was pushing to play because he wants interim head coach Joe Philbin back next season. Now that the Packers won their first road game of the year, beating the Jets in OT, Rodgers affirmed that idea.
"Rodgers said after the game that among the motivations was to the players’ love for Philbin — “We want to play for Joe and give him the best opportunity possible” to get the job permanently — and despite the Christmas Eve holiday on Monday, Philbin still had the players in for a morning workout."
After Mike McCarthy was fired, team President Mark Murphy — who is really in charge of the search, because the Packers have a weird structure where the coach and GM Brian Gutekunst both report to him — said that Rodgers was “free to provide input” into the coaching search, but that he “won’t be part of the process.”
Rodgers said that he would “have an interest” in the process, and that he has “always had good lines of communication” with Murphy and Gutekunst.
Rodgers chooses his words carefully, using the language “best opportunity possible” for Philbin. He’s making clear his desire without sounding like he is unilaterally deciding it. Let’s assume for argument’s sake the Packers beat the Lions in the season finale, costing themselves ever more spots in the Draft in the process: The unanswered question here:
- Do Murphy (and Gutekunst) agree with Rodgers and want Philbin full-time?
- If not, would they overrule the desire of his star QB?
- Maybe Philbin is a fallback for them if they go after big names like Lincoln Riley or Nick Saban and get turned down? Who would you prefer, for example: Philbin or, like, Josh McDaniels (assuming he’d take the job)?
We’ll see how this plays out but right now Philbin would be my odds-on favorite to be Packers’ head coach next season.