Some of the Packers’ young receivers took Aaron Rodgers‘ comments about them last week as a challenge. But the quarterback said Monday he wasn’t trying to send a message when he called their effort “piss poor” after a practice.
“I hope we’re not that soft,” Rodgers said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN. “I hope we can hear comments or read comments and not get offended by things. It’s a professional environment; it’s not a personal environment. The things I’m saying, I don’t have some vendetta against any player. I care about winning, No. 1, and I’m going to say and do the things that I feel like can advance us. It’s going to be tough at some points. It’s not a popularity contest all the time. Obviously, as a human, you like being liked and appreciated, but I’m trying to win games because that’s my job.”
Rodgers worked with the young wideouts on the scout team last week since he wasn’t going to play in the first preseason game. He didn’t name names but showed his distaste for the sloppiness both during the practice and afterward.
Fifth-round pick Marquez Valdes-Scantling said after making five catches for 101 yards and a touchdown against the Titans that he took Rodgers’ criticism to heart. Rodgers reiterated that wasn’t his intent.
“Again, I don’t feel like when you make a statement like that that there needs to be some big response or feelings hurt or offense that somebody takes with it,” Rodgers said. “If they do, they’re taking it the wrong way because this is a professional environment. Like I said, I’m doing things that I feel like are in the best interest of the team from a leadership standpoint, and if no one else is going to stand up and criticize a bad practice, then maybe I need to be the one to do it. So I did it.
“I talked about the carded period that we had. The guys played well in the game, made some plays. It’s been a good week of practice, I think. It’s been hot, but the guys have been competing and making plays. I don’t think that’s a response to anything I’ve said. Now maybe it is for a couple of them, but it shouldn’t be. You get to this league, and to stick around, you’ve got to be self-motivated. So as a leader, you try to inspire, but the motivation to change and to improve has got to come from within.”
Rodgers expects to play this week before sitting out the final two preseason games, which are on the road.