For other NFL teams, Aaron Rodgers’ six-touchdown performance Sunday night perhaps shouldn’t be the part that concerns them most.
Such that he didn’t previously, the Packers quarterback has his edge back, and that makes his team dangerous.
From his post-game message to critics through NBC’s Michele Tafoya (“Sshhhhh”), it was evident that Rodgers took the Packers slow start, and the criticism thereof, personally.
“I ain’t never seen him that focused. He was extremely focused today. You could see it in his eyes. You could see it when he talked to us,” Packers wide receiver James Jones said via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
“You know, he calls us up before every game, and he was just like, ‘I’m going to be the lead dog. Follow me. I’m going to make some plays. I haven’t been playing that well. I’m going to make some plays.’”
There’s a bit of revisionist history at work on Rodgers part, as he wasn’t exactly Brady Quinn the first five weeks. He did throw 10 touchdowns and had a passer rating of 97.0.
But whether the criticism he used as fuel was real or imagined, and whether that makes him a little touchy, it worked.
“Of course, I heard it,” Rodgers said. “It wasn’t like I paid a lot of attention to it, but people, whether it’s good stuff or bad stuff, friends of mine, they like to tell me what’s being said out there. I’m not somebody that watches a ton of TV or puts a whole lot of worth into some of those comments, but I feel like I’ve always played with a chip on my shoulder. It helps when people give me a reason to have that chip.”
He and all his teammates played as if they had something to prove, and now they’re back to 3-3, perhaps not coincidentally the same record they had after six games in 2010, when they went onto win the Super Bowl.
“I said it this week: There’s not any quit in that locker room,” Rodgers said. “It’s almost better when people are doubting us a little bit, I think, and we kind of band together.
“People tried to pull us apart this week and we stuck together and found our motivation within.”
That’s the scary part, that they feel like they have something to prove now.