Tension reportedly growing between Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy in Green Bay

It’s no secret that things haven’t been going well in Green Bay this season.

The Packers boast just a 4-6-1 record so far this year, and have lost five of their last seven games. Green Bay has simply struggled to get much of anything going, and are set to miss the playoffs for the second-straight season, barring a miraculous late-season turnaround and a significant amount of help from the rest of the league.

While there are a number of issues one can point to when looking at the Packers’ struggles this fall, one of the biggest — and perhaps most surprising — comes from quarterback Aaron Rodgers and head coach Mike McCarthy.

Rodgers and McCarthy once had a great relationship — or at least appeared to. The duo have reached the playoffs eight times together in Green Bay, and even won a Super Bowl in 2011. They have long held one of the league’s top offenses thanks largely to Rodgers, who has proven himself to be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL time and time again.

See more of the pair through the years: 

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Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy's relationship
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Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy's relationship
Mike McCarthy, left, and Aaron Rodgers, right, during Green Bay Packers football training camp, Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2008, at Clarke Hinkle Field in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy, right, congratulates quarterback Aaron Rodgers after Rodgers completed a 30-yard touchdown pass during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Lambeau Field on Monday, Aug. 11, 2008, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) talks with head coach Mike McCarthy in the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers of their preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2008 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy talks with quarterback Aaron Rodgers during a timeout in the first half of a NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 12, 2008, in Seattle. Rodgers led the Packers to a 27-17 win over the Seattle Seahawks, breaking a three-game Green Bay losing streak. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy smiles with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2009, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won 48-10. (AP Photo/Jim Prisching)
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy talks to quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) and cornerback Charles Woodson (21) during NFL football practice, Friday, Jan. 21, 2011, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers face the Chicago Bears in the NFC Championship on Sunday in Chicago. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, right, and head coach Mike McCarthy celebrate after the NFC Championship NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 23, 2011, in Chicago. The Packers won 21-14. (AP Photo/David J. Philip)
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy, right, talks with Aaron Rodgers, left, during practice, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2011, in Dallas. Green Bay will face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL football Super Bowl XLV Sunday. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers (12) is congratulated by Packers head coach Mike McCarthy after Jordy Nelson scored a touchdown during the first half of NFL Super Bowl XLV football game Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, left, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers celebrate after beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in the NFL Super Bowl XLV football game Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy talks with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) in the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Grieshop)
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers leaps into the arms of coach Mike McCarthy after throwing a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy talks with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) before an NFC divisional playoff NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in San Francisco, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers, left, talks to head coach Mike McCarthy during NFL football training camp Friday, July 26, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy talks to Aaron Rodgers during the first half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday, Nov. 16, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy talks to quarterback Aaron Rodgers during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015 file photo, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) and head coach Mike McCarthy celebrate after they scored a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif. McCarthy said Monday, July 25, 2016, Rodgers is in great shape as the team starts training camp, and that it's the best shape that he's seen Rodgers in their time together. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 11, 2016, file photo, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) chat on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville, Fla. McCarthy is confident that Rodgers and Green Bay’s struggling offense will get better. Two games into the season, the results have been uncharacteristically ugly. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy, left, talks with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) before an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers smile during NFL football training camp Saturday, Aug 5, 2017, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)
FILE - In this Sept. 9, 2018, file photo, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy looks at Aaron Rodgers as he walks off the field after injuring his leg during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, in Green Bay, Wis. For the Minnesota Vikings, it’s more about whether Aaron Rodgers will have his full bag of tricks while playing with a knee injury than if he’ll be playing at all. Because the Vikings are thoroughly convinced that the Green Bay Packers quarterback will be in uniform on Sunday when they visit Lambeau Field. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer, File)
Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy talks to Aaron Rodgers during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 28: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers talks with head coach Mike McCarthy during the game against the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on October 28, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 15: Aaron Rodgers #12 and head coach Mike McCarthy of the Green Bay Packers have a conversation in the first quarter against the Seattle Seahawks during their game at CenturyLink Field on November 15, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
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That relationship, though, seems to be rapidly deteriorating.

A lengthy Sports Illustrated feature from Kalyn Kahler on Thursday detailed the struggles in “Packerland,” and painted a feud between the quarterback and coach that appears to be growing by the week.

From Sports Illustrated:

McCarthy, like Rodgers, is an alpha male. When people familiar with the two were asked to describe their relationship, most say it is defined by tension. Until this year, it was a healthy tension that lifted both quarterback and coach. In 2018, something has been different.

McCarthy is the play caller, but because Rodgers is so intelligent and such a good improvisational player, the quarterback has the green light to change plays on the field as he see fit. He does, so often that it can be hard for McCarthy to get into a rhythm as the play caller. McCarthy might call the same play three times in a game, without the play actually being run as he called it. And if McCarthy calls a play that Rodgers doesn’t like early in the game, that can sour the mood for the rest of the game. Several sources familiar with the inner workings of the organization say that it devolved into a competition over who can call the better play, and both want the credit when things go right.

Now, Rodgers isn’t having a bad year statistically. He’s completed more than 61 percent of his passes for 3,271 yards and thrown 20 touchdowns this season, all while throwing just one interception. Those certainly aren’t his best numbers, but they aren’t bad by any means.

While Rodgers has one of the best football minds among active players in the NFL, it would still be tremendously hard to run an offense when the quarterback and head coach are never on the same page and are constantly trying to one-up the other.

If things keep trending the way they are currently in Green Bay — and the tension between them is as bad as it appears — it’s starting to look like the McCarthy-Rodgers partnership won’t be around for much longer.

In reality, it could be around for just a few more weeks.

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