No matter when — or if — the Packers take the field this postseason, they’ve hand-picked leaders to represent them.
Coach Mike McCarthy announced Wednesday that the team has chosen six playoff captains, voted on by the players, to represent the offense (Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson), defense (Julius Peppers, Morgan Burnett) and special teams (Randall Cobb, Jarrett Bush), according to ESPN.com.
“I felt the need to give these men the chance to stand up front and take the responsibility that their teammates have placed upon them,” McCarthy said, via ESPN. “That’s the way we’re approaching them. It’s time to ramp it up and make sure we’re playing our best football this time of year.”
That’s all well and good, but Green Bay — sitting at 10-4, second place in the NFC North — is hardly assured of a playoff spot, as crazy as it sounds. They currently hold the NFC’s sixth seed, and will need a win on Sunday plus help to clinch a playoff berth.
“It’s almost playoff time, but for us it kind of is,” Nelson said. “We need to win these games to get into the playoffs and start playing good football. Just trying to be proactive and just making sure guys step up and be those leaders.”
If they have their sights set on the division, the Packers could face a win-and-you’re-in situation in Week 17, when they host the first-place Lions at Lambeau Field.
“This just ups the urgency,” Rodgers said. “Some teams do captains all year long and have the ‘C’ on their jersey. I think that’s a good idea too. Mike has mixed it up over the years. And this year, we’re kind of starting a little early.”
McCarthy’s plan obviously would backfire if his club is on the outside looking in come Dec. 28. He’s likely hoping, by sending this message, to avoid such a fate.