GREEN BAY, Wis. — When Aaron Rodgers reported to training camp virtually precisely a yr in the past, he aired a lot of his grievances with the Green Bay Packers throughout a information convention that lasted 32 minutes.
The reigning two-time MVP’s temper was fairly completely different Wednesday after the first practice of this yr’s camp.
Rodgers poked enjoyable at former teammate Davante Adams, joked that with out the star receiver the Packers are actually a defensive staff, mentioned he performs the sport for “love” and shared an anecdote that illustrates simply how a lot issues have modified within the group.
Adams, who was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders in March at his request, lately mentioned his transition from Rodgers to quarterback Derek Carr, telling CBS Sports: “Anytime you alter quarterbacks from Hall of Famer to Hall of Famer … it should be a little bit little bit of an adjustment.”
So when Rodgers was requested about Allen Lazard presumably changing Adams because the Packers’ No. 1 receiver, he mimicked Adams’ latest feedback.
“Yeah, I imply it is all the time robust going from Hall of Famer to Hall of Famer,” Rodgers mentioned, earlier than pausing to attend for the laughter to subside. “From Davante to Allen, it should be a transition, however he is able to lots.”
Rodgers additionally joked that “we’re a defensive staff now” with out Adams, however he made certain to make clear that his remark was tongue-in-cheek.
“I like our defense on paper for certain,” Rodgers mentioned, referring to a unit that completed ninth final season and with the staff’s two first-round picks having been used on defensive gamers Devonte Wyatt and Quay Walker. “But offense nonetheless wins video games, and we will need to be environment friendly offensively.”
Rodgers was fast to level out how efficient the offense was Wednesday in the course of the 90-minute practice with out pads. He accomplished a number of passes to Lazard in staff durations, together with one which seemed lots like Antonio Freeman’s “Monday Night Miracle” catch in 2000.
“I felt coming into camp, to be sincere, we had been going to get our butts kicked most days as a result of our defense is proficient and deep and athletic,” Rodgers mentioned. “It’s the most effective defenses on paper that we have had, however I informed these chumps, ‘1-0 offense.'”
Rodgers, who practiced solely twice throughout your complete offseason program, seemed as sharp as typical. He’s not anticipated to play in any preseason video games, so his practice reps are all he’ll need to prepare for the season, all whereas ensuring he retains his arm from getting sore.
“I feel that is one thing that we all the time type of monitor with all of the quarterbacks, simply when it comes to the variety of throws they get,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur mentioned. “Certainly we did final yr, and we’ll comply with the same protocol as we’ve up to now.”
Rodgers returned for his 18th NFL season (fifteenth as a starter) armed with the three-year, $150 million contract extension he signed in March and with 4 MVPs below his belt, together with every of the previous two seasons. When requested why he nonetheless performs, he mentioned: “Love, most likely.”
“Just tapping into the love of this recreation, the love of my teammates,” he added. “That’s what will get me up within the morning, coming in right here and loving what I do, and having that gratitude for this chance. Because at some level, the journey goes to be over. So having fun with each step of the best way.
“Obviously we need to win a Super Bowl, and particular person accolades are nice. But being current within the second I feel is actually essential, particularly for an older participant, as a result of every second is just a bit bit extra particular.”
Rodgers additionally mentioned he has seen vital adjustments within the organizations up to now yr since he expressed his dissatisfaction. He mentioned there’s been a extra private contact from the highest down and gave an instance of the way it was once.
“There’s humorous tales — not humorous, really — about Kenny Clark coming in on minimize day and any person pondering he was a distinct man who was going to get minimize, and so they informed him, ‘Grab your playbook and head upstairs,'” Rodgers mentioned. “And Kenny’s like, ‘What? I used to be a first-round choose. I’m getting minimize? It’s my third yr.’
“You know, stuff like that simply cannot occur in a company that is run properly as a result of the relationships are a very powerful factor on this recreation. That’s what fuels the chemistry — the chemistry fuels the cohesion of a staff, and that makes a distinction in these crunch-time moments when the sport is on the road. And it begins at the highest.”