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This is something no one in Green Bay is going to say because one simply does not tug on Superman’s cape: It’s Aaron Rodgers’ fault, too.
There. It’s out there now.
We’ve all been watching this week as the Packers have had an almost daily soap opera scripted by Rodgers. The four-time MVP has not been happy with the performance of his receivers, particularly the young guys, in practice.
Rodgers on Tuesday told reporters some of his pass-catchers, especially the young ones, have had “a lot of drops, a lot of bad route decisions, running the wrong route.”
It was a cry from Rodgers because, as he noted, “we’ve got to get better in that area.”
Well, if Aaron Rodgers is complaining in Green Bay, somebody’s hopping to attention and trying to make things right. That’s what happened Wednesday morning when the receivers were asked to report for a meeting in the quarterback room.
According to multiple local reports the receivers met with the team’s three quarterbacks and every coach involved in the passing game.
And, of course, Rodgers had his say.
Aaron Rodgers Calls A Meeting
“It was just really giving us advice,” rookie receiver Samori Toure said. “Basically, letting us know that the Green Bay receiving corps has always been held to a super-high standard. All the legends who have been through here. It’s just about us carrying on that standard and stepping up.”
Toure said all the receivers “definitely took it to heart. The younger receivers are always looking for ways to get better. When the quarterback tells us to rise to the occasion, that’s what we got to do.”
This can and should be understood as Rodgers showing leadership. He saw a problem that affected the entire passing game from top to bottom and is trying to address it.
But there are problems here.
Forget for a minute that Rodgers complained publicly about the issue instead of simply handling the matter internally. That’s a team issue that I wonder whether coach Matt LaFleur appreciates or not.
The greater point is Rodgers is complaining about a problem he basically helped create.
It’s a situation he didn’t address in its best timing.
Consider: The reason the Green Bay receiver corps is under so much pressure to develop young receivers such as Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs and Toure so quickly is primarily because the Packers are without Davante Adams.
Adams basically forced his way out of Green Bay by demanding a trade to the Las Vegas Raiders.
And do you know why Adams wanted out? Because, ultimately, he was uncertain how much longer Rodgers was going to play.
The Davante Adams Issue
Rodgers spent so much time near the end of last season and into the offseason discussing the possibility of retirement that Adams decided he needed some certainty about his quarterback in the years to come.
So the NFL’s leader in touchdowns, receptions and receiving yards the past four seasons joined friend Derek Carr in Las Vegas.
That’s not all.
After the Adams trade was done and the Packers got about the business of restocking the receiver corps it became clear that beyond incumbents Allen Lazard, Juwann Winfree and Randall Cobb, the group was going to be practically new.
Even veteran Sammy Watkins, signed as a free agent, would have to acclimate to his new team, system and quarterback.
“It’s about doing the little things, the details the right way to where if a critical situation comes up, I’m going to do it right and make that play,” Watkins said.
Rodgers Needs To Look In The Mirror
You know when a lot of receivers and quarterbacks begin to work on those “little things” to sharpen chemistry and skills so that they’re comfortable with each other’s abilities and expectations once training camp begins?
In the offseason.
Teams have offseason conditioning, followed by OTAs, followed by multiple camps only one of which is mandatory.
Rodgers, who signed an NFL record $50 million per year contract in the offseason, spent all but that three-day mandatory camp absent from the Packers and his receivers.
And, by the way, there were no reports of Rodgers and his receivers meeting in Florida or California or the Bahamas to work out together — maybe because it didn’t happen.
And now Rodgers complains all his new guys are not exactly on the same page with him without, you know, looking in a mirror and finding part of the reason first?
Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero