19

August

Cory’s Corner: The Bullseye on Aaron Rodgers’ Back Just Got a Little Bit Bigger

Aaron Rodgers - Bigger Bullseye on his back

Aaron Rodgers has a bigger bullseye on his back

In case you somehow haven’t heard, Donald Driver appeared on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” last week and tried to clear the air between the offseason schism between Greg Jennings and Rodgers.

“If a guy runs the wrong route, it’s easy for the quarterback to say, ‘Hey, I told him to run that route,’ than the guy to say, ‘Hey, I ran the wrong route.’” Which normally shouldn’t be a big deal until the 14-year Packer and three-time Pro Bowler dropped this bombshell: “Sometimes you ask Aaron to take the pressure off those guys so we don’t look bad. He didn’t want to do that. He felt like if you did something bad, you do it. That’s the difference. You want that leadership. I think sometimes you may not feel like you got it.”

Those are strong words from Driver, who was considered to be the team’s mouthpiece during his final six years in Green Bay. Everyone knows the Driver comeback story. How he lived out of a U-Haul trailer, got picked 213th overall in the 1999 NFL Draft and coupled that into a Packers Hall of Fame bust after finishing with team career highs in receptions (743) and yards (10,137).

Driver doesn’t have an ax to grind here. I completely believe him.

But that’s the point — nobody cares.

Rodgers’ predecessor enjoyed being liked by his teammates. Brett Favre was the kind of guy that loved hanging out with the guys, sharing a beer and a laugh or two.

Rodgers isn’t like that. He demands ultimate perfection each play and when it doesn’t happen he puts on his verbal boxing gloves. If you remember, he even lashed out at coach Mike McCarthy when things weren’t particularly going his way last year.

Of course, the reason no one is really concerned with what Driver said is because Rodgers produces. He is the all-time career leader in passer rating with an absurd 104.9, he won a Super Bowl in his third season as a starter and he’s got a 5-3 playoff record.

Those things trump any beef that receivers may have with their quarterback when things go wrong. I understand that Rodgers needs to own it, and often does, when the offense just cannot get on track at all.

However, when the receiver didn’t run the right route, why should arguably the best signal caller in the league have to raise his hand and shout, “My bad!”

When Rodgers inked the historic five-year $100 million contract last spring, he knew that he must be even more accountable on and off the field.

Rodgers tries to make every effort to be one of the boys. Unlike Favre, who normally did his press conferences in the media room behind a mic in a controlled environment, Rodgers does all of his at his locker. Which of course is a pain in the butt for guys that are three deep in the media scrum and are behind a guy that is renowned for boxing out.

But make no mistake, Driver’s words hurt Rodgers. If Rodgers can be peeved about a simple height joke, putting his leadership into question from one of his top targets for four years might cause Rodgers to look in the mirror and wonder what he can do to up his locker room Q-rating.

However, as far as the Packers go, it doesn’t matter. Rodgers is on the fast track to Canton and the two ways he’s been able to maintain his success are by reliving all the slights against him and by constantly trying to achieve perfection.

Doing the first one is obviously a lot easier than the second.

 

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Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn

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22 Responses to “Cory’s Corner: The Bullseye on Aaron Rodgers’ Back Just Got a Little Bit Bigger”

  1. Dobber says:

    “However, when the receiver didn’t run the right route, why should arguably the best signal caller in the league have to raise his hand and shout, “My bad!””

    Bingo. Accountability. Our world struggles with that, and with the kinds of attitudes that run wild with high-strung wideouts they can be even worse.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 38 Thumb down 0

  2. Stroh says:

    Your wrong about Favre. He hung out a lot w/ Chmura and Winters (3 amigos) but after they left and his drug issues he wans’t that much of a hang out w/ the fellas kinda guy. He had one or 2 close friends but the rest he was kinda standoff’ish about. He had his own lockerroom for christs sake! Longwell, Pederson and a few other chosen ones were the only guys he hung out w/ outside football and even that was mostly about Golf!

    Favre didn’t spend time w/ Driver or recievers or anyone other than his chosen few.

    If Driver didn’t have an ax to grind why the hell bring it up at all? Same goes for Jennings! Driver wanted more years from the Packers and felt disrespected he wasn’t given a legacy roster spot, even tho he was for a year! Jennings was PO’d he didn’t get the contract HE wanted when he wanted it.

    You apparently don’t know Favre of human nature very well.

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  3. Matt says:

    All I can say is, keep pissing off A-Rod! All it does is make him sharper!!!

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  4. Jerry says:

    Looks like Gregg Jennings and Donald Driver have a problem with Aaron Rodgers taking his chosen profession too seriously. The more I hear about this the more I admire A Rod!!!!

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  5. Steve says:

    Both those guys probably blame Rodgers for not being with the Packers because he now demands such a high salary that they couldn’t pay them. May be it should also be CMIII’s fault, I don’t believe he said “My Bad” when they screwed up either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  6. Mojo says:

    One thing about the “running the wrong route” thing. Do the players think the coaches don’t already know who screwed up on a specific play? Or by the QB saying ‘my bad” does that force the coaches to lay off, even though they know it was the receivers fault. Is it just the gesture they’re looking for?

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    • Stroh says:

      Its just the gesture and so they don’t look bad in public. That way they can say Rodgers covered for them. Its stupid.

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  7. steve cheez says:

    Don’t recall seeing your byline before, Cory. Good article, and welcome to the club.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  8. Alex Parkhurst says:

    Remember when it was reported everywhere that Aaron Rodgers wanted to keep James Jones. He went to TT and MM and said keep this guy. He was dead right 100%

    Aaron Rodgers did not make any effort that was public that I am aware of to keep Jennings and Driver.

    Now, if you were Jennings or Driver how would you personally feel. Forget the team for the moment – just tell me your feelings about Number 12.

    I think Rodgers nailed it when he made a public effort to keep Jones. We will see about Jennings but think the above is the source of some hurt feelings.

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    • Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

      While I definitely understand how that might have been perceived by DD and GJ, they also have to realize that AR probably reflected on that move as a mistake. Going to bat for JJ was great, but it wasn’t his place… He probably just didn’t want to make the same mistake again.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

      • Dobber says:

        As I recall, Brett Favre’s attempts to play GM didn’t work for him.

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        • steve cheez says:

          about as well as TT’s attempts to play QB would’ve worked out

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  9. chelio says:

    Cory Jennerjohn makes faulty assessments about Rodgers: for example, I just watched a utube video of Greg Jennings comparing Rodgers and Favre over a year ago. to paraphrase he said Favre, being older didnt really have a relationship with Greg off the field, just on. While Rodgers and he had a very good and close relationship both on and off the field. so the idea that favre was such a good-old-boy teammate and friend was growing less true by the year. Rodgers is the one who truly builds relationships in his leadership style.

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  10. Savage57 says:

    Donald Driver’s problem isn’t with Aaron Rodgers, it’s with how he defines leadership.

    A leader first demands of himself before he demands of others. But he demands equally and fairly. A leader then sees ways to reach a goal that remains invisible to others. But he shares that vision. A leader holds himself and others to a standard of excellence that enables that goal to become real. But he excels, with reciprocity his only expectation from those he leads.

    True leadership is an elusive quality, desired and pursued by many, yet only attained by or bestowed upon a very select few.

    Donald, that leader provided you the Super Bowl victory that you will relive for the rest of the days that the God you thank has provided you.

    And sadly now, the debt you will owe him forever has earned interest on your comments.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  11. Mark says:

    The problem I see with Donald’s comments are this. AR is supposed to know, not only his job, but all the receiver’s routes, as well. When he calls a play, in his mind, he has to know where to look and/or throw the ball to where the receiver is supposed to be. DD and GJ were getting paid pretty well to go out and run a specific called route on the football field…millions of dollars, actually. Now, why would I as AR take the blame, per se, for you running the wrong route? Weren’t you given the playbook? Aren’t YOU (DD & GJ) paid millions of dollars to know which route to run when a play is sent in by MM? I believe MM has pushed this issue…accountability…and now these two yahoos want to shirk their own responsibility by wanting AR to say, “my bad, I wrongly looked to the right spot to throw the ball because you ran the wrong route…duh…put that on me…” Yeah, right. I’m not saying AR is not a little bit of a primadonna…aren’t all QB’s?..but anymore, aren’t the WR’s? I mean, Chris Carter’s bust in the HOF better have his whiney face because that’s all we saw when he played, pushing off and blaming the defender for interference… Sorry DD and GJ, shame on you! You both just dropped considerably in my book. C’mon AR, make up for my deficiencies by taking the blame all the time for MY screwups. That ain’t leadership, that’s making excuses and that’s why society is in the shape it’s in…nobody wants to take responsibility for their own actions.

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  12. rory austin says:

    So much nonsense gets analyzed in a ‘slow news day’ preseason…the issue appears to be Driver (who was kept a year past his usefullness, for sentimentality and dancing with the stars) and Jennings were not saved by Rodgers politicing for them, like he did for Jones…. it wasn’t personal to him, just the skill arc each player was on…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  13. Rich Garza says:

    Why are so many reporters such mangine nowadays, I’d rather hear about real football news.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. As I recall the pack made a decent offer to Jennings that he turned down for free agency. I don’t think he got the reception he counted on when he was out in the “real” world. After all it is a business.

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  15. Michael says:

    This is a great article. If Rodgers all the time “takes the pressure off” his receivers, then the receiver will never get any better. Making mistakes is what drives everyone. You learn from, and conquer them. I know Rodgers wants to be one of the guys, but he and the rest of the team have a job to do. Many championships to be won between now and when his contract ends.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  16. toolkien says:

    All this BS tells me one thing. The pack are big news and the media follows the big big cheese teams reporting on such BS. No one cares what a receiver says once he leaves the jags or raiders. The pack are a top tier team anything and everything is news.

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  17. Cory Jennerjohn Cory Jennerjohn says:

    Appreciate all the comments. Enjoy Friday’s game.

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