Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY

Defiant Aaron Rodgers Vows ‘We’ll Improve’

Aaron Rodgers doesn't care about outside opinions. He knows he — and the rest of the offense — need to get their problems solved.

Aaron Rodgers cares about what coach Mike McCarthy thinks, what quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt thinks and what his teammates think.

He doesn’t care what any of us think.

“You guys have a job to do, so do your job,” Rodgers said at the end of a 13-minute session at his locker on Wednesday. “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 excution is, you don’t know where the flaws in the execution lie. Now you’re looking at whatever you guys are looking at to break down the performances. I don’t know if you guys are doing the Pro Football Focus-type stuff of what not, but even that stuff, we’re not worried about those opinions. We’re worried about what Mike says, what Tom (Clements) says, what Edgar (Bennett) says, what Alex says and we’ll improve and we’ll get better and we’ll execute more.”

Rodgers, the Super Bowl MVP in 2010 and NFL MVP in 2011 and 2014, is off to a dreadful start. Our All-22 video review, not Pro Football Focus metrics, demonstrate the problems. He ranks 22nd in passer rating and the Packers rank 31st in passing offense and 29th in total offense. In a key Sunday night showdown in which the Packers lost 17-14, Rodgers was outplayed by Sam Bradford, who had been in Minnesota for all of two weeks.

On Wednesday, he knew what was coming.

“No offense, but you guys are predictable,” Rodgers said.

“We appreciate the job you guys have to do and the platform you guys give us to get our message out, but we don’t approach the game looking at it the same way as you guys do,” he continued. “And that’s why we have the confidence that we can get this thing going in the right direction. This is not an end-of-the-world-type moment, like everything’s coming down on top of us. We knew what was going to happen when we came in here because we’ve set a standard for so long — myself, our team — of playing at such a high level that when we have a couple of disappointing performances, we know what’s coming.”

While Rodgers dismissed media critiques, he wouldn’t discuss his own opinion of his play.

“I’m sure you would but I’m going to keep that to myself,” he said.

Nor would he discuss his opinion on the state of the offense.

“I’m not going to because that’s an inside-the-locker room opinion and there needs to be a separation between what you guys think about us and what we feel about ourselves.”

Have his fundamentals eroded?

“I feel pretty good about my fundamentals,” he said. “I’m a two-time USA All-Fundamentals teams. First team. I have the helmets at the house. True story.”

The one area that Rodgers was willing to discuss is the timing in the passing game. That, he said, has played a role in the offense’s sporadic production.

“The West Coast offense is all about timing and if your timing is even just a little bit off, you’re going to be miles off at times with your connection points,” he said. “We’ve been working on that throughout training camp and the regular season but it’s a little different when it’s live out there and things are a little bit off based on coverage or protection or anything else that could mix up the timing in our offense. So, we’ve got to get back to finding ways to throw it on time, and that’s only done when we’re at the proper break point at the right time and then you can deliver an accurate ball on time, so you can eliminate some of those times you’ve got to hold it because your guy’s not at the proper break point and you’re putting stress on the offensive line, the protection. That’s something we’re working on.”

As Rodgers goes, so go the Packers. Everyone knows that, including Rodgers. The team’s fate depends on his returning to form.

“I’m going to do my job,” he said. “I’m going to do it as well as I can every week, and everybody’s got to do their job well. I know I’ve got to play better, and I will.”

Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.


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