Aaron Rodgers has always had a little bit of Michael Jordan in him. And that’s not necessarily a reference to how good he is, more of how the Green Bay Packers’ quarterback has always taken criticism personally and used it as motivation.
Jordan was always the best finding ways to motivate himself and throughout his career, Rodgers has been good at that too. He has never forgotten that he was once passed over by 23 NFL teams. Packers’ fans will also probably remember a few years ago when the Packers went to Houston at 1-2 and Rodgers tossed six touchdown passes to beat 3-0 Houston.
The two-time MVP was defiant on that night back in 2012. And for the Packers to get back to their brand of offensive football, they need him to start playing with an attitude again. (Here’s Rodgers circa 2014):
Through two games, Rodgers is off to the worst start of his career. He is completing just 57.1 percent of his passes and his passer rating is just 82.6. He does have five total touchdowns (three passing) and just one interception. But the one interception (on the final drive against the Vikings) was pretty costly.
On Wednesday, Rodgers addressed the media and even though he said he hadn’t been listening to the criticism, it seemed to have gotten under his skin.
“I don’t care about that,” Rodgers said. “I didn’t play as well as I wanted to last week, and I turned the ball over twice, and I can’t do that if we’re going to win the game. So I’ve got to play better, and I’ve got to play more efficiently on offense.”
Yet, the long-time Packers’ quarterback seemed perturbed that his fundamentals have suddenly started getting questioned.
“I feel pretty good about my fundamentals,” Rodgers said. “I’m a two-time USA All-Fundamentals teams. First team. I have the helmets at the house. True story.”
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Rodgers alluded to some “honest” conversations that went on among the players this week, but indicated that he felt those things should remain private. He also addressed some of the criticism head on.
“You guys have a job to do,” Rodgers said to reporters, “So do your job. Make your opinions and scrutinize, but we’re not worried about your opinions. And we’re not going back having sleepless nights worried about what you guys are saying about our offense. Because you guys don’t know what plays we’re running, you don’t know where the execution is, you don’t know where the flaws in the execution lie.”
Certainly, the Packers have spent the week trying to find solutions for an offense that ranks 29th in total offense and 31st in passing yards. However, head coach Mike McCarthy said that despite Rodgers’ poor play, his confidence in his quarterback, hasn’t wavered.
“I have great confidence in Aaron,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “I’ve never trusted a quarterback or an individual as a player more than I trust Aaron Rodgers. His work ethic is at the top of his career, the time he spends in the facility with the coaches and his teammates.”
Even though he said the opposite, it appears that Rodgers is hearing the talk of his decline and hopefully he is, because at this point, the only person that can shut everyone up, is him. And in order for the Packers to get their offense back on track, Rodgers needs that chip back on his shoulder and hopefully, hearing all his critics, has done just that.