The Packers’ season ended with an NFC championship loss to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. It has been a full decade since Rodgers and the Packers last played in a Super Bowl, and time might be running out for the future Pro Football Hall of Fame gunslinger.
The Packers’ latest move — or rather, lack of one — is yet another event that should have Rodgers very concerned about the team’s chances of winning a Lombardi Trophy next season.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are stuck in neutral
Much of the last decade has represented Groundhog Day for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
More often than not, the Packers are one of the NFC’s top teams. Since the 2011 season began, the Packers have won the NFC North Division seven times.
Green Bay also made the playoffs as a wild card team following the 2015 regular season. Despite having Rodgers at quarterback and numerous other star players like Clay Matthews and Davante Adams, the Packers haven’t reached a single Super Bowl in that span.
Green Bay has reached the NFC championship game four times since 2014. Two of those losses were by six points or fewer.
Jim Leonhard turned Rodgers and the Packers down
After parting ways with defensive coordinator Mike Pettine following the NFC championship game, the Packers had their eyes on a local fan favorite.
Wisconsin defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard, a former NFL safety, recently nterviewed for the Packers’ DC vacancy. An All-American defensive back at Wisconsin in the early 2000s, Leonhard played 10 seasons in the NFL.
The allure of coaching in the NFL didn’t sway Leonhard, who opted to stay at Wisconsin. Leonhard explained his decision to Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal, who relayed the coach’s thoughts via Twitter.
“It was me choosing UW. I want to stay at UW. I want to be at this level right now. Extremely flattered. Awesome opportunity. But it was not the right time for me to go back to the NFL.”
It is worth noting that Leonhard played under the now-fired Pettine on five teams from 2008-14. That stretch included the first three years (2009-11) of Pettine’s time as the New York Jets’ defensive coordinator.
Aaron Rodgers should be very concerned right now
If Jim Leonhard would have been a home run hire, the Packers’ reported second option is a strikeout on three pitches.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur is “leaning more toward” hiring Chargers linebackers coach Joe Barry as the Packers’ new defensive coordinator.
That hire would be bad news for Aaron Rodgers’ chances of winning a Super Bowl. Barry has been a defensive coordinator twice in his career, and his first time — serving as the Lions’ defensive coordinator from 2007-08 — is one he’d probably like to forget.
His second season with the Lions ended in them allowing a then-franchise record 517 points and posting the first 0-16 season in NFL history.
Barry held the Redskins’ defensive coordinator position from 2015-16. Although Washington posted winning records both years, the defense also ranked 28th in total yards allowed in each season.
If this is who the Packers intend to hire as defensive coordinator with time running out in a championship window, then LaFleur may as well name Aaron Rodgers a player-coach and give him the title.