At the risk of repeating some of the content that Adam Czech posted earlier, I felt it necessary to weigh in on the continual questioning of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ leadership. Point blank: it needs to stop.
For this piece, I am going to depart from throwing stats and calculated theories and just speak off the cuff.
What more do we expect from Rodgers? Yes, it would be nice if the Packers were in a conference championship game and appearing in Super Bowl after Super Bowl, but that’s just not how it works in the NFL. While the quarterback is the most important position on the field, this is still very much a team game.
I didn’t play on an organized football team until my senior year of high school, which was 20 years ago this year. I was even more under-sized than I am now and I barely saw the field. I was, however, fortunate to have a great head coach who is the reason why I became so passionate about the game.
That man happened to be Tim Beck, who is now offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the University of Nebraska. Beck treated everyone equally and had us doing the most remedial drills in practice. Some of the starters probably loathed it but to me, it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I learned that no matter how much talent you have or how good you are at something, if you can’t do the little things right and be accountable, you are letting the team down.
Today, Donald Driver chimed in with his thoughts on what Greg Jennings has been saying about the Packers and Rodgers. If you haven’t heard or read them, go and check out Adam’s post. As of this very moment, it has not published so I have no hyperlink yet. To me, what it boiled down to is that some guys want to benefit from having a stellar quarterback like Rodgers and what he does for them, but they don’t want to be accountable for their missteps. And somehow because Rodgers doesn’t shoulder the blame for others’ mistakes, his leadership is under review?
I’ll pick on Driver’s example of route running. That is a fundamental part of being a wide receiver and no NFL wide out is going to succeed if he can’t run proper routes. But if a paid professional screws up and runs the wrong route, Rodgers should cover for him? I’m as disappointed in Driver as I have ever been. Should I be worried that squeaky-clean Donald Driver is going to continue to throw subtle barbs at Rodgers too? I doubt that he will. There can only be one Greg Jennings in this world but this incident further solidifies my contentment with Driver’s retirement. Stick to dancing with the stars, Quickie.
The Green Bay Packers, all 53 of them and the coaching staff, need to be accountable for their actions or lack thereof. Without that simple piece of culture in place, they will struggle to find high success. In continuing to hold his teammates (even the “cool kids”) accountable, Rodgers is a leader. In responding to repeated questions about others’ questions about his leadership in a collected and professional manner, after all that he has accomplished, Rodgers is a leader. For being a catalyst for his teammates to help him be an All-Pro quarterback, win a league MVP, a Super Bowl championship, and a Super Bowl MVP, Rodgers is a leader.
The man is in the middle of the pre-game huddle more often than not. On NFL Network’s Sound FX, Rodgers can be heard calming his teammates down in a pressure situation on the road in a loud stadium. He’s on the sidelines collaborating with head coach Mike McCarthy at every chance during a game. Why? Because he wants to succeed and he knows he needs everyone around him at their best to help him do it. He wants to win and when the Packers head into battle, it’s always Rodgers who stands in front. If Aaron Rodgers is not a leader, then this team has never had one in its storied history.
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: