Aaron Rodgers stands by comments on Packers offense, says no one raised issue with him

GREEN BAY, Wisconsin — If anyone in the Green Bay Packers locker room had an issue with quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ assessment of his offense and who should — or shouldn’t — get playing time, he didn’t address it with him.

Not his teammates.

And not coach Matt LaFleur.

That caused a stir for Rodgers Wednesday, a day after his weekly appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show,” because the quarterback said, among other things, that players “who make too many mistakes shouldn’t play reps.” And maybe guys who don’t play will give them a chance.

Rodgers said it was nothing he hadn’t shared behind closed doors at the team’s headquarters at Lambeau Field.

“If any of these guys have a problem with that, I’m right here and I’d love to have a chat,” Rodgers said. “I enjoy these conversations. I enjoy any kind of conflict because I know that the resolution on the other side will make us a better unit, a better friendship, a better cohesion on the field. But nobody came up to me and said, ‘I have a problem with what you said.’ I think everyone knows, including Matt, that everything has to take a little bit of a step up, needs to get a little bit better.”

Rodgers also didn’t back down from those comments when asked to clarify them.

“I don’t understand why people have a problem with things that are true,” Rodgers said. “I call things as I see them. People don’t think I have to air the stuff, that’s their opinion. But I’m doing what I believe is in our boys’ best interests, and I’ve tried a lot of different things from a leadership perspective this year, and I’ve just shared my personal feelings on the situation. I didn’t call anyone by name. I think we all have to take care of the details and that includes me.”

Rodgers said he is open to additional discussions with teammates and coaches throughout the week to troubleshoot issues. As such, Rodgers, who was not training Wednesday because of his injured right thumb — which he wouldn’t say whether it was fractured or not — shifted his treatment time so he could attend practice and still call games in the huddle. The Packers also moved their regular weekly meeting between quarterbacks and receivers up a day.

On Tuesday, Rodgers told McAfee they had missed assignments or had mental errors in up to 20% of their offensive plays in games this season, including Sunday’s loss to the Washington Commanders, which the Packers lost after a 3-4 to 3-4 dropped -1 start.

“If you’re not doing or performing the things that you’re supposed to be doing, then I’m with Aaron,” veteran wide receiver Sammy Watkins said Wednesday. “If I’m not playing well and I’m freaking out and breaking games, get me out of the game because it’s not helping the team. I think that’s a wake-up call for everyone, a wake-up call for myself. I’m trying to limit myself to having one MA per game and that’s my goal. The goal is not to have one, but things happen in fire. I’m with Aaron, man.

Watkins returned on Sunday after a four-week absence with a hamstring injury, and rookie Christian Watson could return for this Sunday’s game at the Buffalo Bills (5-1) after missing two weeks with the same injury. However, they could be without Allen Lazard, who was absent from training on Wednesday with a shoulder injury.

Having rookie Samori Toure active for the Washington game meant every receiver in the roster got a chance this season. Unless Rodgers was referring to practice team receiver Juwann Winfree (who had a catch for 17 yards in the three games he was lifted from the practice team) or journeyman Travis Fulgham (who has never been in a game played for the Packers). then it’s unclear who he thinks should play more.

“I think it’s just that we have to get our best 11 out on the field and if that means going into other staff groups, then we have to do that,” Rodgers said. “But we can’t have the same double-digit mental errors of more than 15 and expect to move the ball efficiently.”

LaFleur gave no indication that he had a problem with Rodgers’ comments.

“We have to be honest with each other,” LaFleur said. “Sometimes the truth hurts. … I don’t think he called individuals publicly, I don’t think so, I haven’t sat and listened to the whole thing, so I just think you need to get to the root of the truth.”

Green Bay opened as a 10.5-point underdog and late Wednesday the line at Caesars Sportsbook was up to 11.5. Rodgers has never been more than an 8.5-point underdog in his career, according to ESPN Stats & Information. His 234 career starts (including regular season and playoffs) are the most by any quarterback never to be a double-digit underdog in the Super Bowl era. Rodgers counts 0-4, including playoffs, as a touchdown or rather underdog.

“You can be a dangerous team when you feel like you have a lot to prove and when you’re sort of counted out,” Rodgers said. “That’s why I welcome the fact that we’re being counted as far as possible. I’ve always enjoyed that feeling. And for these guys who have a lot to prove, hopefully they’ll embrace it. It’s time to make your mark in this league and plenty of guys will get opportunities on Sunday. On national television, with millions upon millions of viewers — a great time for some of these guys to step into the spotlight.”

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34885151/aaron-rodgers-stands-comments-packers-offense-says-raised-issue-him Aaron Rodgers stands by comments on Packers offense, says no one raised issue with him

Emma Bowman

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