The Green Bay Packers, perhaps more than any other team, must be happy that they can finally play a game.
It has been a long time since a relationship between a quarterback and a first-year coach had garnered as much attention as pair Aaron Rodgers-Matt LaFleur. It is understandable and tiring. At least when the Packers take on the Chicago Bears to launch the 2019 Thursday Night, a game that can be streamed live on the Yahoo Sports mobile app, there will be something new to say.
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Green Bay is a small market, which means the Packers coverage is intense. The Packers are the main topic of conversation 365 days a year in Wisconsin. Everything is dissected. So when there was a question to the Boy Scouts combine in February about how much Rodgers could be audible on the line, it was a story that went on for months.
“You just won’t stop with this audible thing. It’s unbelievable, ”a frustrated LaFleur said on Tuesday. ” What do you want me to say ? “
It has been a long offseason, but that doesn’t mean the problem isn’t important.
Matt LaFleur’s relationship with Aaron Rodgers takes center stage
Rodgers’ relationship with LaFleur is so important because of what happened with Mike McCarthy.
McCarthy was fired last year after 13 seasons as a head coach, and there were rumors about Rodgers’ relationship with him. Next, Tyler Dunne wrote a memorable Bleacher Report story detailing the friction between the two, which could date back to Rodgers being ignored in the San Francisco 49ers draft when McCarthy was their offensive coordinator. The story included stories of Rodgers disrespecting McCarthy and regularly changing parts after they were dispatched.
This story did not help LaFleur. He’s a newbie head coach, and that has a lot of challenges. Add to that trying to manage a relationship with a future Hall of Fame quarterback who is one of the greatest figures in franchise history, and it gets even trickier.
And when everything is in the news, even a trivial disagreement over the validity of common practices, it adds to the tension.
Rodgers could thrive in a new attack
At training camp, Rodgers said he didn’t like joint training, especially the safety aspect of live special team drills. LaFleur, separately, said he liked joint practices. And, in some quarters, this became proof that there was already friction between the two. When you step back and think about the situation, two men disagree on a subject that does not really touch them on a daily basis, it’s crazy that it becomes the sign of a relationship that is already deteriorating. There is no shortage of overreactions when it comes to this story.
That’s why the Packers must be happy to play a game. We can see if Rodgers goes on to a new offense. McCarthy’s offensive had become obsolete. If LaFleur is as good as advertised – and it’s fair to be skeptical about that – then Rodgers could have a big final chapter in his career. If he wins another Super Bowl with LaFleur, there will be a very different take on his legacy, and it will revolve around McCarthy holding him back.
We’ll see the first results Thursday night against a Bears defense that was the best in the NFL last season. If Rodgers and the offense fight from the get-go, we’re sure to hear a lot about it.
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