If actions really do speak louder than words, than the Green Bay Packers management team is shouting that they aren’t willing to bend to quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ will any longer. The NFL Draft being the latest signal that the Packers are head coach Matt LaFleur’s team.
Rodgers says he needs more weapons, specifically wide receivers, to compete with teams such as defending Super Bowl champions Kansas City and NFC Champions San Francisco, who defeated Green Bay in last year’s title game.
The Packers’ first pick of the NFL Draft wasn’t a new target for Rodgers, or even an offensive lineman to protect him. It was his possible successor. What’s more, Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst traded up to get Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with the team’s first pick in last week’s NFL Draft.
Love told ESPN that he spoke to Rodgers and denied any friction.
“Yeah, I was able to talk with him earlier,” Love said. “You know, really good guy. [He was] just congratulating me, and I was just letting him know that I was excited to be able to work with him.”
Love added that he fully expects to be the backup, and is embracing that role.
“It’s a lot of things to be able to learn,” Love said. “I’m just gonna take it step-by-step. Just trying to get behind him, learn everything he’s doing, and understand the process.”
Rodgers Remains Silent, Others Speaking for Him
While Love was polite regarding his relationship with Rodgers, other Green Bay observers weren’t so politically correct. NBC football analyst Chris Collingsworth told NBC Sports that Rodgers should be furious.
“If I were Aaron Rodgers, I would be really mad,” Collinsworth said. “It has nothing to do with the fact that he [Love] might take his place. Instead of getting additional help at wide receiver, at offensive line … they go out and draft for the future.”
Brett Favre, the quarterback who Rodgers succeeded, told a national radio show that he talked to Rodgers. Favre said Rodgers was surprised at the draft pick.
“I think they’ve burned a bridge that’s going to be hard to overcome,” Favre said. “At some point, it will rear its ugly head.”
Still, oddsmakers believe Rodgers isn’t going anywhere, at least in the offseason. Sportsbettingdime has Rodgers staying with the Packers at -850, and leaving at +450.
Run First, Pass Second
LaFleur favors a run-first team. The second-year coach butted heads with Rodgers last year on a couple of occasions regarding the offense. Though the two said it was overblown, LaFleur has made comments about the offense that can’t thrill Rodgers.
“I think as we’ve gone through a full season, we have a much better idea of who we are, of what we do well, and now it’s on us to put that plan in place,” LaFleur said after the draft. “If I look back at our Day 1 install from last season to our Day 1 install that is approaching this offseason, it’s night and day different. We have a better identity of who we are.”
Gutekunst said LaFleur and he discussed running the ball more often, and agree it’s a good offensive strategy.
“I think Matt certainly wants to the run the ball,” Gutekunst said. “I think he’s talked to you guys repeatedly about how much he’d like to run the ball and have the pass work off of that.”