Sports fans can easily become spoiled when teams and players exhibit certain levels of excellence over an extended period. The Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers are excellent examples of this, and the level of expectations he’s set over the years. Rodgers is a four-time league MVP and reigning back-to-back winner of the award.
Green Bay is 3-1 and tied for the NFC North lead with Minnesota, which isn’t anything new for the Packers. But after dropping the season opener and winning three straight since, Green Bay is viewed as having a slow start to the season and not looking the same offensively. It’s fair to say that any offense would look different after losing a playmaker like Davante Adams. The amazing part of all this is Rodgers stepping up and seemingly attempting to be viewed as more of a leader.
From the moment Rodgers became the Packers starter in 2008, there haven’t been many opportunities for criticism on the field, especially in the regular season. At least not anything that lasted more than a week or two. And we’re talking about on the field. Rodgers took a big hit last season when it was discovered he’d lied or blurred the lines on his vaccination status. The main issue with Rodgers that continues to resurface is the lack of leadership. Sometimes that manifests itself in different ways.
It’s been talked about for years, and many times we’ve seen Rodgers deflect or show irreverence toward younger Packers wide receivers. For the most part, it’s been someone else’s fault in the past when Rodgers and the Packers have failed to play up to their usual standards. Even if that’s true — and it has been at times — the team leader is expected to fall on his sword more often than not. Obviously, A-Rod is not a subscriber to that way of life.
That line of thinking from Rodgers seems to be gradually changing, as seen during his most recent appearance on the “Pat McAfee Show,” where the future Hall of Famer handed out compliments to two of his young receivers: Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson.
“...I think they both have opportunities to be really, really good players in the league,” the QB said.
Both rookies are trying to navigate their way through being thrown into the fire immediately with one of the greatest QBs to ever throw a pass. That would be a tough transition for any receiver but even more so for two guys that weren’t first-round picks and played at smaller college football programs.
Rodgers isn’t typically known to give many compliments, especially to rookie wideouts. Watson had a bad drop in Week 1, which got him shunned by Rodgers, who didn’t look his way too much the remainder of that game. Watson is slowly working his way back into Rodgers’ good graces, which is evident by Aaron giving him praise on McAfee’s show.
If Rodgers hopes to make another run at a Super Bowl, he will need Doubs and Watson to play huge roles. Dropped passes suck, but they’re going to happen. Some of the greatest receivers have dropped a pass or two. Rodgers needs to build chemistry with these guys the same way he did with Adams over several years. The same goes for old friend Randall Cobb. Neither of those veterans came in right away and led the Packers in anything. It was a long process for Rodgers to become comfortable with them, just like anything else.
Patience is the key here, and while Rodgers probably doesn’t have many years left, the route he’s decided to take could be the one that leads back to the top of the mountain.