GREEN BAY – Unless they’re both going to let their passion and competitive nature get the best of them again this season, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers consider their sideline argument over and done with – and the coach thinks it wasn’t that big of a deal to begin with.
With 6 minutes, 23 seconds left in the first half of the Packers’ 34-30 loss at Cincinnati Sunday, Rodgers and McCarthy exchanged cross words after Rodgers appeared dissatisfied with the coach’s play-calling. It was unclear whether Rodgers was unhappy with the play calls or the speed with which McCarthy was getting his calls in to him, but McCarthy’s response – captured by FOX Sports’ cameras, along with Rodgers’ initial confrontation with him – when Rodgers confronted him on the sideline wasn’t hard to get the gist of if you’re a lip-reader. It basically was, You do your job and I’ll do mine, only in slightly more colorful language.
McCarthy wasn’t asked about the incident during his 11-minute, 28-second Monday press conference, but he was asked about it on his weekly appearance on SirusXM NFL Radio with Bruce Murray and Rich Gannon, who does color on the Packers’ preseason TV broadcasts and was coached by McCarthy in Kansas City.
“Definitely there was some frustration,” McCarthy said. “We weren’t in rhythm there early. Frankly, the conversation between Aaron and I, I think, is really overblown. Rich, you’ve said worse things to me on the golf course.”
Rodgers and McCarthy were then shown talking on the sideline shortly thereafter, although Rodgers appeared to be doing more listening than talking.
"That was definitely over and done with after we talked on the sideline," Rodgers said on his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN and ESPNWisconsin.com Tuesday afternoon. "Mike and I have been together for a long time and had a lot of success together, a lot of big wins, a lot of fun on the field, in the meeting room, conversing during the week. There's a lot of mutual respect there and a lot of competitiveness and passion on both sides, and every now and then that passion collides. It's something that we talked about later and moved forward together."
Rodgers’ exchange with McCarthy and displeasure with the playcalling we far from his only issues Sunday, when he had his lowest passer rating (64.5) since the 2010 NFC Championship Game and threw a pair of interceptions before having his fourth-down pass tipped at the line of scrimmage at the Cincinnati 20-yard line with a chance to win the game with a touchdown drive.
“It’s frustrating, so you’re replaying the stuff in your mind that you wish you had done, you’re thinking about some of the plays that didn’t go the way you wanted them to, but then you have to start moving on. And that moving on process really starts on Monday when you come in and watch the film and get graded,” Rodgers said. “It’s always interesting to look at the film because the film never lies. There’s definitely things we could all clean up – myself and the rest of the offense and I think you just have to have a continued sense of urgency and focus moving forward. We can’t let games like that slip away from us.”
Rodgers praised left tackle David Bakhtiari for the way he’s played as a rookie fourth-round pick but did say that he had James Jones for the first down on the fourth-down pass that was tipped away by Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson.
“That’s frustrating. We had James there for the first down. He had enough separation and I felt good about the ball placement on that stop route that we ran that we were going to get a first down and get another set of downs,” Rodgers said. “We cut (blocked) them a lot during the game; at various times we cut all those guys or just the outside guys. But they get paid on the other side of the ball, too. They’re very solid defensive ends and they were able to slip David there slightly inside and barely get a fingertip on it to knock the ball off its flight.
“It’s disappointing. There were a lot of plays to be made out there that if we had made them, if I had made them, that we wouldn’t have been in that situation. So, disappointing. You’ve got to be able to convert and not put yourself in those situations.”
The Packers return to work on Monday from their bye week and face Detroit at home on Oct. 5.
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