Aaron Rodgers had arguably the best season of his career in 2020, and it came after many wondered if the Green Bay Packers were in the early stages of giving up on him. In order to play as well as he did, Rodgers says he had to free himself of that narrative.
The Packers decided to use their first-round pick in last year’s draft on former Utah State quarterback Jordan Love. In an interview with Michael Silver of NFL.com this week, Rodgers said one of his most important tasks last offseason was pushing away negative thoughts after the draft.
“You know, especially after the draft, it was important for me mentally to get to a place of freedom with that — freedom from bitterness, freedom from expectations, freedom from future thinking — and I feel like I did,” Rodgers told Silver. “It gave me a really good peace and calm about the season and to be able to focus.”
Rodgers said he had to remind himself that certain things are out of his control. He added that he holds no ill will toward anyone in the Packers organization over the Love pick.
“I’m not fighting against it, and I haven’t harbored any angst or frustration with anybody in the organization,” he said. “I’m really content with where I’m at, and I feel like it’s helped me to be very clear-minded all year.”
This is not the first time Rodgers has admitted he was bothered by the Love pick. That is hardly a surprise, as any quarterback still playing at a high level would prefer that his team use a first-round pick on a player other than his potential replacement.
Rodgers threw for 4,299 yards, 48 touchdowns and just five interceptions this season. His 121.5 passer rating is the second-highest mark in NFL history behind his own 122.5 in 2011. He’s almost certainly going to win his third MVP Award.
If the Love pick motivates Rodgers to win another Super Bowl and keep playing at a high level, it will have been worth it for Green Bay. Tom Brady was clearly irritated after the New England Patriots drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in 2014, and Brady went on to lead New England to three more Super Bowls after that. The 37-year-old Rodgers may be headed down a similar path.
Offensive lineman Jared Veldheer played in a playoff game on Saturday for the Indianapolis Colts. After his team was eliminated, he’ll be playing again this weekend in another playoff game for a different team. Yes, you read that right.
Veldheer, who started for the Colts in Saturday’s loss to Buffalo, has signed with the Green Bay Packers. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, this makes Veldheer the first player in NFL history to play two postseason games with two different teams.
So how is this allowed? Veldheer is a member of the Colts’ practice squad, meaning he is still eligible to be signed by any team. With the Packers in need of offensive line help following a major season-ending injury, making the move for Veldheer made sense.
Veldheer is in his 11th NFL season. He also has some familiarity with the Packers, having played in two games for them in 2019.
Snacks Harrison will be continuing his NFL season after all.
Harrison was claimed on waivers by the Green Bay Packers on Wednesday after the Seattle Seahawks let him go. Though Harrison had indicated he would not report if claimed on waivers, Matt Schneidman of The Athletic confirmed that Harrison planned to join the Packers.
In a reply on Twitter, Harrison indicated that he’d had a shortlist of teams that he would be willing to join if claimed.
It ends a rather strange week for Harrison, who had asked Seattle to release him after he was left inactive for Sunday’s game. The 32-year-old defensive lineman had not been a significant contributor to the Seahawks all season, and it’s unlikely he’ll play a huge role with Green Bay. However, he does land on a contender, which seems like it was important to him.
Aaron Rodgers has not hidden the fact that he was unhappy with the Green Bay Packers’ decision to draft Jordan Love in the first round, and the former MVP does not seem like he has gotten over the move more than seven months later.
During his Tuesday appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show,” Rodgers spoke about the importance of records and milestones and said he does not think he is anywhere close to retirement. He then appeared to take a swipe at the Packers’ brass.
“When it comes to records and milestones, I love them,” Rodgers said. “I do take pride in them. I think they’re more things you look back on when you’re done playing. I don’t think I’m done by any stretch of the imagination, even though some people may have thought so in the offseason.”
Rodgers could claim he was referring to fans and the media, but McAfee’s reaction said it all. Rodgers is a weekly guest on McAfee’s show and the two have a close relationship, and Pat clearly thought there was a lot behind that remark.
If the Love pick motivates Rodgers to win another Super Bowl and keep playing at a high level, it will have been worth it for Green Bay. Tom Brady was clearly irritated after the New England Patriots drafted Jimmy Garoppolo in 2014, and Brady went on to lead New England to three more Super Bowls after that. Rodgers has admitted he wasn’t thrilled when Green Bay drafted Love, though he is not holding anything against the rookie.
One Packers legend believes it is only a matter of time before Rodgers leaves the team. That may or may not happen, but it would stand to reason that Rodgers’ relationship with Packers executives is not on the most solid ground.
Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller has been one of the biggest names on the trade market heading into Tuesday afternoon’s deadline, and there have been multiple reports that the Green Bay Packers are interested. A deal is starting to sound unlikely, however.
ESPN’s Dianna Russini reports that there has been disagreement among the Packers’ front office about whether or not acquiring a top wide receiver as a potential rental would be worthwhile.
Fuller is set to become a free agent after the season, so price could be an issue for Green Bay. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, no deal between the Packers and Texans is imminent because Houston wants a “very high pick, maybe even a second-rounder” for Fuller.
The Texans are 1-6 and nowhere near playoff contention, so it makes sense that they are taking calls on one of their best offensive players. Fuller himself sent a funny tweet on Tuesday as the deadline approached.
Fuller has 31 catches for 490 yards and five touchdowns in seven games this season. His biggest issue in the past has been health, but the 26-year-old is on pace to set career highs across the board if he can avoid a significant injury.
Tom Brady seems like he was never going to let Antonio Brown sign with a team other than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the troubled wide receiver still drew interest elsewhere. According to one report, Brown may have turned down an opportunity to catch passes from Aaron Rodgers.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter said on “The Pat McAfee Show” Monday that the Packers called Brown when he was a free agent to gauge his interest in playing for them.
“Green Bay made a call to Antonio Brown. I think they checked in,” Schefter said. “I don’t think it ever went anywhere, but they did check in to see if he’d have any interest in going to Green Bay. I think if you’re Antonio Brown you’d probably rather go to Tampa than Green Bay.”
The Packers have arguably the best wide receiver in football in Davante Adams, but they have very little in the passing game beyond him. Allen Lazard underwent core muscle surgery and has been out, while Marquez Valdes-Scantling has been inconsistent for years. Rodgers would certainly benefit from having another talented receiver to throw to.
Of course, none of that matters now. Brady was so determined to have Brown as a teammate again that he has made living arrangements for the Pro Bowler. In hindsight, Brown probably was never going to sign with any other team.
Week 8 is finished, meaning we’re just about halfway through the NFL season. Some teams are beginning to realize that their championship dreams aren’t going to be coming true this year. Others can look forward to the second half of the season with optimism if their teams are sitting well-positioned for a possible playoff run.
Amid all that, some players and units just aren’t performing the way they need to. Here are five big ones that disappointed in Week 8.
Lamar Jackson, QB, Ravens
Jackson wanted to step up and do better in big games this year. This was not a performance to back up the rhetoric. Jackson completed just half of his passes, throwing two poor interceptions as the Steelers held the star quarterback in check for most of the afternoon and won 28-24. As gifted as Jackson is, the fact that the Ravens seemed to actively avoid the pass in the second half is an indictment of where they’re at right now.
Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns
Every time the Browns appear to turn a corner, something like Sunday’s game seems to happen. The Browns were held to six points against a lackluster Raiders team, with Mayfield again looking like his worst self again. He completed just 12 passes for only 122 yards, lacking weapons and accuracy. He had five touchdowns last week and none this week. Mayfield needs to be more consistent if the Browns are going to get where they want to be. Odell Beckham’s absence didn’t help, but this was ugly.
Los Angeles Chargers
Serious questions must be asked of any team that holds a lead of at least two touchdowns in four straight games and fails to win any of them. That’s where the Chargers are at, challenging the Falcons for the title of who can blow more big leads in a season. This week, the Chargers gave up 31 points to the Broncos, who aren’t known for having one of the league’s best offenses. The Chargers have to be wondering what on earth is going on here, but the fact of the matter is, their season is going down the drain quickly.
Cam Newton, QB, Patriots
Even when Newton plays fairly well these days, something seems to go brutally wrong for him. His passing numbers were still underwhelming — he threw for just 174 yards — but he did add 54 rushing yards and a touchdown. Ultimately, though, this performance will be remembered for this backbreaking fumble in the final minutes that cost the Patriots a shot at a game-tying field goal. It was an absolutely brutal play that won’t have helped his chances of hanging onto the starting job.
Green Bay Packers’ run defense
Dalvin Cook is a quality back, but the Packers were absolutely gashed here. Cook ran for 163 yards and four touchdowns as the Vikings repeatedly got what they wanted on the ground. That was just about Minnesota’s entire offense, with 11 of their 20 first downs coming on the ground. The Packers played fine otherwise — the offense was effective, and the Minnesota passing game was limited. That should have been enough, but it wasn’t.
Bonus: Cowboys-Eagles game
Yes, fans went into “Sunday Night Football” expecting a bad game between Philly and Dallas. That’s exactly what we got. The Cowboys and Eagles took us back about 30 years in terms of passing offenses. Ben DiNucci made his first career start and passed for 180 yards, lost two fumbles, and led no touchdown drives. Carson Wentz wasn’t a whole lot better on the other side, as he turned the ball over four times and is trying to do too much. That was nowhere near the quality of play fans have come to expect from an Eagles-Cowboys clash.
Will Fuller is a player who is generating buzz ahead of next week’s NFL trade deadline, and the Green Bay Packers are among the teams that are interested in the star wide receiver.
While no deal is imminent, Aaron Reiss of The Athletic reports that the Packers have inquired about Fuller. However, the price tag could be an issue.
Teams like the Packers may be hoping they can pry Fuller away from Houston at a discount, as the Texans are 1-6 and nowhere near playoff contention. However, Fuller is now the focal point of Houston’s passing game with DeAndre Hopkins having been traded to the Arizona Cardinals.
Fuller has 31 catches for 490 yards and five touchdowns in seven games this season. His biggest issue in the past has been health, but the 26-year-old is on pace to set career highs across the board if he can avoid a significant injury. Deshaun Watson would almost certainly be upset if the Texans trade his best receiver after they parted ways with Hopkins during the offseason.
Aaron Rodgers is putting together an MVP-caliber season this year, but he could use another weapon. Davante Adams drew 16 targets in Green Bay’s win over the Texans last weekend. He turned those targets into 13 catches for 196 yards and two touchdowns, but adding a talented deep threat like Fuller would open things up even more for the Packers.
Players are often frustrated and upset after their team loses, but that was not necessarily the case for Aaron Rodgers on Sunday.
Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers got smashed 38-10 in a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road. Green Bay took a 10-0 lead in the first quarter and just got steamrolled after that. A couple of interceptions by Rodgers led to Bucs touchdowns. Tampa Bay’s offense also woke up after that.
So was Rodgers angry about getting crushed in the game? Not really. He was actually happy to get a wake-up call.
“I feel like we needed a little bit of a wake-up call this season because things had been so good. … I think we needed a kick in the a– a little bit,” he said.
Rodgers also believes the bad loss was an anomaly.
The Packers were 4-0 prior to the loss. Rodgers likely doesn’t want himself and his teammates feeling too comfortable about things.
Davante Adams missed last week’s game with a hamstring injury, but the Green Bay Packers star appeared to be on track to play against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night. The team is not giving Adams that option, however.
Adams tweeted on Monday morning that he will not be on the field to face the Falcons. He said he did everything he needed to do over the past week and “proved I’m ready but I guess I don’t know my body as well as others.”
The Packers’ medical staff is known for being extremely cautious with injuries. With Green Bay having a bye in Week 5, it makes sense that the team wants to give Adams extra time to heal. Judging by the way he worded his tweet, he felt he should have been cleared to play against Atlanta.
Now that Adams has been ruled out and wide receiver Allen Lazard underwent surgery, Aaron Rodgers will not have much to work with on Monday night. Fortunately, he’s facing a team that made history last week with back-to-back epic collapses.