The Green Bay Packers are in danger of missing the postseason for the second straight year after losing for the third time in four games on Thursday, and tensions are starting to mount between the team's head coach and starting quarterback.
Speaking on NFL GameDay Morning on Sunday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport said the Packers' record isn't the only reason why Mike McCarthy's future in Green Bay is in jeopardy.
"Mike McCarthy is certainly now on the hot seat for Green Bay," Rapoport said. "He needs to close strong, it feels like, to keep his job in Green Bay. Obviously, one of the longest tenured coaches in the NFL and that is all in doubt.
"And there's a couple reasons why. One of them does involve the disconnect with Aaron Rodgers -- the tension there regarding the direction of the offense. Rodgers has been pretty vocal about his frustration with play-calling and the lack of creativity was there on Thursday night. That, of course, is something [Packers] CEO Mark Murphy will have to make a big decision on at the end of the year."
It was clear during Thursday's 27-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks that the Packers offense isn't running to its full potential. The team struggled mightily on third downs and in the red zone. Rodgers' habit of holding onto the ball too long made him an easy target for drive-killing sacks.
While it's debatable to characterize Rodgers' struggles as a byproduct of what has been a bland and often overreaching offensive strategy orchestrated by McCarthy, the bottom line is it isn't working -- and Rodgers won't be the one leaving if it doesn't get fixed.
This isn't the first time this season that there have been reports of tension between Rodgers and McCarthy. In October, Murphy told Rapoport there was tension between the two, but added he didn't believe it was an issue that would hurt the team. Murphy expressed confidence the Packers would resolve any problems and turn things around.
Murphy's optimism came immediately after the Packers' 2-2-1 start. Sitting at 4-5-1 with a big game against the Minnesota Vikings next on the schedule, Green Bay likely will need to win the vast majority of its remaining six games to have a shot at the playoffs.