Packers admit 'complacency had set in among some players and coaches' under Mike McCarthy

For the first time since 2005, the Green Bay Packers are coached by someone not named Mike McCarthy. After firing McCarthy in December and temporarily replacing him with interim coach Joe Philbin as they stumbled toward their second straight sub-.500 season, the Packers officially replaced McCarthy with Matt LaFleur this week -- a move that was met with some skepticism given LaFleur's level of experience (limited) and most-recent work as the coordinator of the injury-riddled Titans offense (not great).

On Wednesday, Packers team president Mark Murphy explained how they went about selecting LaFleur. In doing so, Murphy revealed that nine Packers players -- including Aaron Rodgers -- told him that they felt complacency set in under McCarthy.

"I think they wanted somebody that would hold players accountable," Murphy said, per ESPN's Rob Demovsky. "And the other thing that, and Brian can speak to this as well, he was there, [the players] talked a little bit about how they felt a complacency had set in among some players and coaches. So in my mind, that was something that as we went through the process, was kind of in the back of my mind, is there something we can do that can kind of shake people up so we don't have the complacency."

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During the dying years of McCarthy's reign in Green Bay, we spent so much time dissecting and breaking down and tearing apart his antiquated approach on offense, we apparently overlooked a just as serious issue. To be fair to McCarthy, who won a Super Bowl and nearly 62 percent of his games with the Packers, it's difficult for any one coach to last with one team for as long as he did. Even Andy Reid got chased out of Philadelphia. Long-time Seahawks coach Pete Carroll got rid of a whole host of mainstays last offseason and two of those mainstays, Michael Bennett and Richard Sherman, later implied that Carroll's routine had grown stale with them. 

The point being, it's difficult for a coach to be effective in one place for a long period of time. Perhaps it's actually good news for McCarthy that he didn't get the Jets job -- the one job he wanted this hiring season -- and he can now spend a year away from coaching before jumping right back on the carousel a year from now, refreshed.

After hearing those nine players talk about accountability and complacency, the Packers went out and hired LaFleur, which is a little bit surprising given LaFleur is young (39), inexperienced (two seasons as an offensive coordinator, but only one as a play-caller), and is coming off a disappointing one-year run with the Titans. That doesn't make him a bad hire. It just makes him an unknown. 

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It's not impossible to understand why the Packers picked him. LaFleur worked under Sean McVay in Los Angeles in 2017 and Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta from 2015-16. Rodgers is 35. There's no time to waste. For as much of a problem as complacency might've been under McCarthy, an antiquated offensive system was almost definitely a problem. While LaFleur didn't find much success with the Titans, which can at least be partially explained by all of the injuries they dealt with over the course of the season, he's widely considered one of the bright young offensive minds in the NFL. But as Murphy's quote above demonstrates, there's more to coaching than scheme and play-calling. It also involves handling a locker room. It remains to be seen how LaFleur will handle both aspects of the job.

What is clear, however, is that the Packers needed to move on from McCarthy for both schematic and motivational reasons. 

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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