The recent comments from Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers regarding the reaction to his criticism of the team’s young receivers included one specific message that could be interpreted in multiple ways.
“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,” Rodgers said Monday. “So I did it.”
So here’s the real question: Who else did he expect to do it?
Chris Simms and I addressed the topic during a recent episode of PFT Live. Simms thinks that Rodgers was referring to other players, specifically the defensive players whose effort to learn how to handle certain offensive attacks was undermined when young receivers failed to properly do their jobs during the “carded” period. I think it’s more reasonable to interpret the comments as aiming elsewhere, to the people whose job it is to criticize a bad practice. (Indeed, if it falls to any player to call out other players — specifically receivers — it’s the starting quarterback.)
Yes, this quickly could become a reprise of 2016, when we pointed out that Rodgers seemed to be engaged in a passive-aggressive battle with coach Mike McCarthy, and Rodgers responded by saying, “Don’t waste your time reading crap like that.” But how else could Rodgers’ remarks be interpreted?
Phrases like that get used all the time as a reference to someone failing to do what they’re supposed to do, forcing someone who ordinarily wouldn’t be doing that thing to do it. That’s ultimately Rodgers’ point; someone else should be calling out these players who aren’t performing the way they should be.
It’s definitely not the job of any one player to call out another player. It’s the job of the coaching staff and, ultimately, the head coach. So his comments can fairly be interpreted as calling out those who should have been calling out the receivers for their piss-poor performance at practice.
Which actually makes Rodgers’ more recent comments more intriguing than the original remarks.