NFL quarterbacks are passing for eye-popping numbers this fall, and yet Aaron Rodgers’s name is not among them, a fact he has admitted is frustrating.
The Green Bay Packers quarterback vented over his team’s inability to really click on offense Sunday after Green Bay improved to 2-1-1 with a 22-0 victory over the Buffalo Bills, although he did not expressly name names.
“It’s by the plan,” Rodgers answered sharply when reporters asked where the problem lies. “Find ways to get [wide receiver Davante Adams] in No. 1 spots.”
And who is responsible for the “plan?” That would be Coach Mike McCarthy. He and Rodgers have visibly clashed over play-calling on the sideline, and the two seemed at odds after Rodgers completed 22 of 40 passes for 298 yards and a touchdown Sunday. Rodgers has been limited by a knee injury that seemed to have improved Sunday, when he also rushed for 31 yards. Rodgers told reporters that it took “grit” to practice during the week for the first time since he hurt the knee in the first half of the season opener, saying he returned to the practice field because he “felt like we needed a little jolt.”
It didn’t work, at least as far as he was concerned.
“It was as bad as we’ve played on offense with that many yards in a long time,” he said after Sunday’s win. “There was no flow to the game. There was a little bit in the first half, but after that …”
He found the performance especially lacking when compared to the “championship defensive level” he said the team showed. In particular, Rodgers felt that Adams and tight end Jimmy Graham, who scored his first touchdown in his fourth game with the Packers, were underused, as the offense failed to reach the end zone over the final 41 minutes. Rodgers said Adams “should have had 20 targets” instead of 14.
Rodgers has been more vocal this year, appearing to criticize the Packers in his own way for letting quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt, who had been in the position since 2014, go to the Bengals.
“My quarterback coach didn’t get retained,” Rodgers said during Super Bowl week. “I thought that was an interesting change – really without consulting me. There’s a close connection between quarterback and quarterback coach. And that was an interesting decision.”
Offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett is gone, too, and the arrival of Joe Philbin meant a reworked playbook that seems to be not to Rodgers’ liking. Asked if he was getting the input he wanted during planning sessions, he replied: “Coaches put the plan together, I tell them what calls I like, and we go.”
Rodgers has always been praised for being a coach as well as a quarterback on the field, but that has at times caused sideline friction during his 13 years with McCarthy. At any rate, now would be a good time to work this out, with Detroit looming Sunday. The Lions allow the eighth-fewest yards per game in the NFL.