Aaron Rodgers is one of the greatest quarterbacks of the modern era. However, his time in Green Bay seems to be coming to an end after his relationship with the front office fell apart. The summer was littered with endless stories of how he wants to leave and see out the remainder of his career with another franchise. It resulted in a brutal Week One showing against New Orleans that was the worst loss of his career. But why is he headed for doom overall?
We looked at how this came to this and the reasons why Rodgers and the Packers are facing an inevitable doom. On paper, 2021 had the potential to be a glorious season for the franchise. Unfortunately, for Green Bay fans, it’s unlikely to happen that way. Check out the list below via Sportsnaut.
20. Lack of Reps
Nobody expected Rodgers to play in the preseason but there’s no doubt that the lack of reps hurt him. The fact that he missed their minicamp was disrespectful to the team and may have damaged the start of their season (via The Washington Post). Controversial backup Jordan Love received the first real opportunity of his Packers career. This is very similar to Rodgers’ own path when Brett Favre failed to show commitment to the franchise toward the end of his career.
Rodgers returned to practice but he arrived late. It’s not ideal for a franchise quarterback to spend most of the summer away from the training field, but that’s exactly what Rodgers did. This may doom his hopes of winning a second Super Bowl ring. Can it be a coincidence that he put in one of the worst performances of his entire career after such an inconsistent summer?
Since his return from media silence, Rodgers keeps talking. Firstly, he made it clear that he wasn’t happy with the franchise and that they weren’t treating him like an equal partner. Then, they lost on opening day and he tried to limit the damage by saying it was just one game. Nobody sees Tom Brady in front of the camera like this. Rodgers needs to let his football do the talking.
Rodgers insists that he loves the city and his teammates, but his recent behavior doesn’t suggest it (via Yahoo Sports). Of course, he only has a few years left to play so nobody would blame him for being forthright about it. In fact, some Green Bay fans might even give him their blessing after years of service. But there’s no denying he’s gone about this the wrong way and now it looks like he’s heading toward doom.
Rodgers wasn’t wholly responsible for Green Bay’s Week One loss against New Orleans. For all of their prowess on offense, the Packers clearly have defensive issues (via SBNation). The Saints exploited these to great effect with a powerful performance. Their 38-3 defeat was one of the most embarrassing in recent history. Clearly, Green Bay’s new defensive coordinator Joe Barry has a lot of work to do because this was a total disaster.
Dean Lowry was atrocious while Rashan Gary was overly aggressive. It helped that Jameis Winston had one of the best games of his career because he exploited the Packers’ shortcomings. However, this doesn’t bode well for their Super Bowl hopes. If they continue to play this way, they are doomed. Even a happy Rodgers can’t lead a franchise to glory without a decent defense. Just ask Dan Marino.
Every quarterback has a weakness. For example, Tom Brady has always struggled with pressure up the middle. Even Patrick Mahomes sometimes struggles in the pocket as fans saw in Super Bowl LV. Rodgers has always been good at disguising and overcoming his shortcomings. But the Saints made them very clear in Week One. He doesn’t like facing two deep safeties (via USA TODAY).
New Orleans put unbelievable pressure on Rodgers and he wilted. This isn’t going to happen in every game because the Saints have a top defense. But there’s now a blueprint to beat Rodgers and teams are aware of it. The Packers need to adapt to this or face impending doom. When he faces two-high coverage, he becomes perplexed and takes longer to make decisions.
Retired quarterback Dan Orlovsky believes that the Packers’ season is ‘ruined’ because of the Rodgers situation (via The Spun). The ESPN analyst said that the distractions off the field between the MVP and the team are just too vast to overcome. In his opinion their year is ruined unless they remove Rodgers from the equation. He didn’t blame Rodgers entirely because there are a number of parties involved.
However, Rodgers is the key figure in all of this. If Green Bay wants to be a contender they need to get him back on their side or gamble on Jordan Love. But he thinks that all sides should have made their points clearer from the beginning. The lack of compromise and clarity from each affected party was evident. In fact, nobody is a winner in any outcome with the possible exception of Love.
It doesn’t help matters that Green Bay has one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. After a humiliating defeat to New Orleans, they’ll be grateful for a visit from the Detroit Lions, but this is a mixed blessing. The Lions have a new coach in Dan Campbell and there is genuine excitement floating around Ford Field. They’ll travel to Wisconsin without any expectation because Green Bay should win this game.
But if they don’t and Rodgers puts in another poor display, then the pitchforks will come out. Meanwhile, the pressure will increase because they’ve back-to-back tests against the 49ers and Steelers next. They really need to sort out their shortcomings very quickly. Rodgers and his state of mind are key to their hopes of avoiding doom. Otherwise, their season will end before it kicks off.
Tom Brady’s successful move to the Tampa Bay Buccanneers may doom the Packers’ hopes of retaining Rodgers. The quarterback will look to emulate Brady’s success by moving to another city and enjoying a fresh start. Meanwhile, that change of scene will come with a very lucrative contract, the last major payday of Rodgers’s career. He knows this and that’s why he wants out (via New York Times).
Furthermore, Rodgers would like to emulate Brady and Peyton Manning by leading a second franchise to Super Bowl glory. This won’t be easy but it is possible with a team like the Broncos or even the Saints if things went to plan. No rings are guaranteed but the money will be. The chance of shining in a different market and reinvigorating his brand in a new city are all appealing reasons to leave.
Some commentators are questioning whether Rodgers even wants to play anymore. A lot was made of the quarterback’s appearance as a guest host on Jeopardy in April. Rodgers knows that he’s closer to the end of his career and is looking toward the future. Could he be angling for a life in showbiz? Hall of Famer receiver Michael Irvin believes that these are dangerous thoughts.
Football is a dangerous sport so athletes must show full commitment. A lack of conditioning and dedication can lead to devastating injuries. It’s also unfair on teammates who pour their hearts and souls into the sport. That’s the opinion of Irvin who told TMZ that Rodgers should retire if these are his thoughts. Irvin believes that a player in this position faces impending doom.
The wildest part of all of this is that it’s not new. This feud between Rodgers and the franchise management has simmered beneath the surface for over a year. Football Agent Leigh Steinberg questioned the franchise’s lack of consistency because they should have sorted this a long time ago. Now they have a potential contender on their hands but off-the-field reasons may cause their doom.
Steinberg told Sports Illustrated that the Cowboys always kept Troy Aikman in the loop regarding key decisions. The fact that Green Bay hasn’t taken the same approach with Rodgers is bemusing. But Rodgers and his own representatives must take responsibility for their own contract issues. It’s a messy situation that should have been resolved before it became so toxic.
Jermichael Finley knows exactly what it’s like to play and train with Rodgers. Yet he raised eyebrows when he criticized the legendary quarterback in September 2021. The former tight end accused Rodgers of lacking a work ethic. He said that he no longer had the same commitment as in previous years. This was a wild statement considering Rodgers’s MVP year.
However, Finley believes that Rodgers is just cashing his check now. He believes that Rodgers lacks hunger and that the franchise will drop him for Love in the near future (via Fansided). Admittedly, these are massive takes considering the status of Rodgers in the NFL. But Finley knows the signal-caller on a personal basis so it’s not impossible that he’s right.
All of a sudden the Packers look vulnerable. Nobody thought this before the new season because the mediahyped them up as Super Bowl contenders. It just takes a single Week One defeat to change an entire narrative. Of course, this could be an anomaly and potentially the best thing to happen to their season. If it wakes Green Bay up and causes them to refocus, they could still have a solid year.
There’s so much football still to play but there’s no doubt that opponents won’t be afraid of the Packers until they prove themselves. Lions’ Coach Dan Campbell said that this is the most dangerous version of Green Bay because they’re like a wounded animal (via Yahoo! Sports). But this will give opposition teams the incentive to exploit potential weaknesses. If they can do this, then Rodgers and Green Bay’s season faces doom.
It’s funny how history has a tendency to repeat itself. While the situation isn’t exactly the same, Brett Favre also left Green Bay in an acrimonious fashion. Of course, this came after he retired and changed his mind. But the franchise also had an exciting young quarterback on their books and ultimately decided to go with him. If Rodgers becomes too much trouble, they’ll just start Love. Favre has already warned Rodgers not to leave this way (via Madison.com).
In the end, Rodgers will leave the organization one way or another. It’s simply a question of when. He may be better served by emulating Tom Brady and Peyton Manning and getting a fresh start. Rodgers has made it clear that he wants it, so the Packers should seriously consider it. Obviously, it’s not ideal losing the incumbent MVP, but they do have a replacement in the wings.
The Broncos have a massive amount of cap space (via Denver Post). This puts it at the opposite end of the table to Green Bay because they don’t have much cap at all. The Packers are going all-in in 2021 which is a massive gamble. Rodgers can’t accuse the franchise of backing him this season because they’ve been successful in the draft and preseason. But his tenure is heading toward doom.
Denver may be the best fit for Rodgers because of their quarterback situation. They also may be the only attractive franchise financially capable of making a deal. One way or another, all signs are pointing to Rodgers leaving. The question is where and when. But the Broncos look to have the edge over potential rivals, including the New Orleans Saints. It’s fascinating to contemplate Rodgers’s next stop.
If there is one man that Rodgers loathes it’s Green Bay General Manager Gutekunst. The pair have no meaningful relationship because of the GM’s many contentious decisions. Even though Gutekunst claims that his connection with Rodgers is ‘excellent,’ the reality is that this simply is not the case (via CBS Sports). Gutekunst was the main reason why the organization drafted another quarterback in 2020.
He orchestrated Rodgers’ doom with that controversial move. It also created a sense of disillusionment. Rodgers felt this because he wanted weapons instead of a replacement. Meanwhile, Gutekunst hired a new head coach without consulting the franchise’s star player. Meanwhile, he traded and released numerous players who had connections with the quarterback.
The world of professional sports is dog-eat-dog. Team sports are complicated because athletes compete for the same starting spots. Meanwhile, players have different statuses within the franchise as well as staggeringly different incomes. There’s no doubt that Rodgers’s behavior has destabilized the locker room. Drew Brees said that he believes the situation threw everybody off (via Fox Sports).
When a team’s star quarterback goes AWOL, it’s clear that there’s going to be a problem. No doubt some of his teammates will take his side. But others will want to get on with business and make their own names. It’s definitely not a strong position to be in and disappointing in a strong roster. His relationship with the franchise appears doomed because he’s like a weed in a flowerbed.
Rodgers doesn’t have a bad relationship with the Packers’ head coach but that doesn’t mean everything is rosy. Don’t forget, he wasn’t happy that he never had a say in LaFleur’s appointment in 2019. The message behind the scenes was that the organization viewed him as just a player. However, this doesn’t fly in an era of increasing player power. Meanwhile, LaFleur is in a difficult position.
If the Rodgers situation gets out of hand, LaFleur must prove who is in charge. If that means handing the reins to Jordan Love, then so be it. That definitely won’t be his first option because LaFleur won 26 of 32 games with Rodgers as his starter (via Clutchpoints). But football is a ruthless business and the team must come first. Only time will tell if LaFleur has to make the boldest call of the season.
Another reason Rodgers could be heading toward doom because he has lost the love of the fans. A significant proportion believes that the franchise bent over backward to accommodate his wishes. Green Bay is a small town and a tightly-knit community. The positive aspect of this is that fans are passionate about their football team. But they believe that a person’s word is their bond.
The Rodgers saga has left the fanbase divided. Some believe that he betrayed the franchise while others think that there is plenty of blame to go around (via Yahoo! Sports). The Packers know that they have to keep the support on their side. It may be wise to remove Rodgers from the equation and install Jordan Love. If he starts well then they’ll have a new young star to worship.
Many casual NFL fans will be unfamiliar with this wide receiver. But he’s one of the major reasons why Rodgers lost patience with the front office. The organization released Kumerow in 2020 a day after Rodgers praised him in public. This infuriated the star quarterback and was effectively the straw that broke the camel’s back. Green Bay has a history of offloading players that Rodgers likes.
Rodgers said that Kumerow was a lock to make the Packers’ 53-man roster (via NESN). However, management disagreed and cut the receiver. It was a strange move because it came against the wishes of the franchise’s most powerful player. The relationship between Rodgers and Brian Gutekunst became baltic. It’s safe to say that the signal-caller lost trust in the franchise after this.
Let’s be real, Rodgers faced his doom from the moment the Packers used a first-round pick on Love. The young quarterback is the Hall of Famer’s heir-apparent. If Rodgers doesn’t want to be there, then it makes sense to throw Love into the mix. Yes, he’ll have early development problems, but why not get them out of the way? The Utah State product has the ability to make a difference and is one of the highest-paid back-ups in the league (via NBC Sports).
He completed five out of seven passes in his debut against the Saints. If Rodgers suffers another meltdown, then Matt LaFleur has a decision to make. It may seem ridiculous after an MVP season but the Packers can’t afford to be sentimental. They’ve already a history of bringing a young quarterback into the fold. Remember when they dumped Brett Favre for a certain young star?
Finally, Rodgers wants to leave Green Bay. As far as he’s concerned, he’s given the franchise the best years of his career and doesn’t owe them anything. Fans may disagree yet there’s some truth to this. After all, Mike McCarthy failed to create a dynasty with one of the most gifted quarterbacks in NFL history. Rodgers’s relationship with the Packers is facing doom because he is no longer mentally there (via Sports Illustrated).
The Denver Broncos are sniffing around and look like a good fit. No doubt Rodgers would have liked a move to the Niners but they’ve already filled their QB needs. However, Denver is a bigger market and John Elway could help to make it happen. It’s also reminiscent of Peyton Manning’s career path. Whatever happens, Rodgers will be out the door by 2022 at the latest.