The Green Bay Packers’ loss to the Washington Commanders was far from Aaron Rodgers’ fault.
A muffed punt return by Green Bay in the first quarter allowed Washington to put three points on the board. And very little went right afterward, except for a pick-six by Packers LB De’Vondre Campbell to give his team a 14-3 advantage.
There were dropped passes, poorly timed penalties, and injuries, and the game turned into an anything that can go wrong can go wrong kind of day for Green Bay. Week 7 went the worst way possible for the road team as the Pack lost 23-21 to Washington.
Rodgers had every reason to be unhappy with how that game played out, as his squad fell to a 3-4 record. That being said, mentioning that his teammates are making far more mistakes than usual is not a common quarterback practice. That’s not how a QB1 typically approaches their weekly in-season appearances on a program, whether it’s local radio or a national podcast.
The Pat McAfee Show is far from the WEEI show that Tom Brady did while he was with the New England Patriots. McAfee is high energy, creative, and engaging. This former NFL punter does not host a hard-hitting interview podcast, but rather a place where players can feel comfortable giving honest responses knowing that he won’t follow up as voraciously as a traditional journalist. Also, his chumminess doesn’t feel as forced as can from a local sports-talk host. The candid talk is why people tune into Rodgers’ Tuesday appearances where he talks to his old buddy A.J. Hawk and ex-Indianapolis Colts punter McAfee.
If Rodgers’ comments on Tuesday were, at worst, that players who make too many mistakes need to be removed from the field, maybe it would come off like he’s pouting. But the truth would be easier to handle. Instead, when McAfee asked Rodgers how he evaluates the tape after a game like the loss to Washington, and how he felt about his own performance, the Packers’ QB let it be known that no one should blame him at all.
“This was my highest graded game by [Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements],” Rodgers said on the show. “Which people may be surprised to hear, but we probably didn’t execute. A lot of drops. A couple of missed throws, but mean we’re behind the sticks you know. It’s second-and-20, third-and-25, way too many penalties. Way too many drops. Not enough rushing attempts cause we were behind the sticks the whole time.”
As long as he’s not calling out teammates by name, I have no problem with him pointing out that they need to play better. It isn’t even necessary for Rodgers to fall on the sword every week and say, “Everything starts with me. I have to play better.” It’s disingenuous when all know that the best player is not the main problem.
But to take the extra step to point out that your new quarterback coach gave you the highest grade on a game this season came off as smug. Rodgers isn’t the main reason for Green Bay’s losing ways, but the signal-caller isn’t completely blameless for his team’s recent struggles. He is living off of screens, quick routes and shovel passes. Rodgers is famous for buying time and launching the ball like it came out of the world’s most accurate T-shirt cannon. That talent is why some believe that he is the greatest quarterback of all time. Those big plays are few and far between these days from a 38-year-old QB, even if he is not making the same boneheaded mistakes as his younger teammates. If he was playing better, they would be better.
For him to elevate himself above the team the way that he did will do little to curb any perception that he is arrogant. It’s one thing, to be honest, it’s another to wash your hands of a problem and say you’re kicking ass and everyone else needs to get it together.