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Aaron Rodgers / Matt LaFleur Relationship Facing One of Its First Tests

As the summer lull drags on, Michael Silver with NFL.com has managed to stir up something interesting in the Rodgers/LaFleur dynamic: audible play calling.

Aaron and I have had some good talks, and we’re going to have to talk a lot more — and one thing we have to work through is the audible thing. We’re running a system I first picked up while working with Kyle [Shanahan] in Houston a decade ago, and we’ve never really had a quarterback who’s had complete freedom to change plays at the line, because that’s not really the way the offense is set up. But, I mean, this is Aaron Rodgers. He’s had a lot of freedom to make those calls, and deservedly so. Now, how do we reconcile that, and get to a place where we put him in the best position to succeed?

This quote by LaFleur seemed to clash a bit with another one by Aaron Rodgers last Tuesday:

It’s a conversation in progress. I don’t think you want to ask me to turn off 11 years [of recognizing defenses]. We have a number of check with mes and line-of-scrimmage stuff. It’s just the other stuff that really not many people in this league can do.

That’s not like a humblebrag or anything; that’s just a fact. There aren’t many people that can do at the line of scrimmage what I’ve done over the years. I mean, obviously, Tommy [Brady] can do it, no doubt. Peyton [Manning] could do it. Drew [Brees] can do it. [Patrick] Mahomes will be able to do it. Ben [Roethlisberger] has called the two-minute for years. There are a few of us who’ve just done it; it’s kind of second nature. And that’s just the icing on the cake for what I can do in this offense.

During his tenure as starting quarterback, Aaron Rodgers thrived in an offensive scheme put forth from former head coach Mike McCarthy. In those 11 seasons, Rodgers has become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, not only during that time but among the top in NFL history. The system allowed flexibility, including changing plays at will at the line of scrimmage. Sometimes with permission, but sometimes without.

Now, in the first time as a starter, the 35-year old Rodgers is under a new system as Matt LaFleur’s first season as head coach is set to kick off September 5 against the Bears at Soldier Field. LaFleur and Rodgers have just under three months to get on the same page and while both are excited about working with each other, there is work to be done to turn around back-to-back losing seasons. There is also a lot of pressure on their working relationship as everyone is going to be looking any minor flaw to report.

New System

A huge difference between the coaching styles of LaFleur and McCarthy is that LaFleur is much more rigid in his play-calling. Although having had only one season as play-caller for the Titans in 2018, LaFleur comes from a pedigree of coaches that don’t allow their quarterbacks much freedom to change at the line. However, working with Rodgers, LaFleur knows there needs to be some compromise.

Still, in the early stages of working together, there will clearly be some give and take that needs to occur from both. Rodgers has the smarts, savvy, and experience to attack defenses, but LaFleur looks for the quarterback to thrive in a system that limits audibles and overall creativity at the line of scrimmage. In his system, there is generally significant motion prior to the snap, thereby eliminated much ability to audible at the line.

The system, according to LaFleur, should be a great benefit to Rodgers by reducing pressure in the pocket and allowing him to get rid of the ball quickly. This is a huge difference from much of Rodgers’ time under center in which he had to use his legs to buy time in and out of the pocket. However, Rodgers does much of his best work in these situations, so there must be some leeway and LaFleur realizes this, which is what must be worked on diligently.

Clearly, the new system will take time to get used to, even for a future Hall of Famer like Rodgers. He’s busy learning the nuances of the system, including the new terminology of the plays. LaFleur has shown the ability to compromise as well, at times changing the terminology to ease any potential confusion in the huddle.

The system LaFleur employs is much the same that the Shanahan’s have successfully used for many years. The battle will be for Rodgers to work well enough in the system, yet still have the freedom to do what he does best and what made him into an all-time NFL great. LaFleur has to figure out how to utilize all of Rodgers’ talents and still to within what has proven to be a successful scheme. The quicker they do that, the quicker the Packers turn things around and return to one of the powers in the NFC.

Image credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

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Ed Rooney

Just a guy with too much free time trying to help out.

    1

40 Comments

  1. Kato June 18, 2019

    Clearly, Rodgers is reaching a point in his career where he is going to have to make the majority of his plays within the pocket. That isn’t to say he can’t “ad lib” anymore, but it would be more beneficial to the offense and his health if he did less of it. An offense predicated on making quick decisions seems like a good thing.

    To expand further, Rodgers will need to trust his coach. A coach will not be perfect in his playcalls, and there will be times the offense will be in a disadvantagous position to execute the play when they line up across from the defense. LaFleur will see that and likely support the use of an audible. However, changing out of run plays with regularity will be detrimental in getting the offense in a tempo and keeping the defense off balance. There should be some give and take there, Rodgers has experience, but also should respect the coaching and playcalling.

  2. PF4L June 18, 2019

    Well….ummm…listen….i’ll take a Big Mac, no pickles and a med. fry and one mcnugget happy meal for my boy.
    Please try to make it snappy as i’m racing the clock here.
    *
    I was hired to meet Aaron Rodgers and i have a 3 hour consultation with him and i’m running late. It was explained to me my objective is to try and get through to him on identifying what his playing and personal flaws are. We will have honest and open discussions focusing on self improvement both on and off the field. Focusing on how to be a team player and respecting other people’s feelings.I will use all means at my disposal, watching films of the 22’s, showing him what he “should have been doing”. Basically i’ll be teaching him how to think like a winner. If that involves shock treatment and water boarding, then so be it. I’m tired of watching Rodgers undeniably destroy this franchise through the years. Make no mistake about it, i will reprogram his mind to the point where we might be able to bring back to life this once proud franchise he’s destroyed.
    *
    Who knows, maybe under my tutelage and expertise as a Packer fan, i can turn Rodgers into an MVP, maybe win a Super Bowl, set some NFL records….? Dare i say….maybe even become a Hall of Fame player? Under my guiding hand, the sky’s the limit people
    *
    This could happen, under my guidance. It’s time to get excited Packer Nation, TRUST ME….as a Packer fan and someone who watches most of the games, i have the experience, qualifications and knowledge necessary to turn Rodgers into a winning NFL QB.
    *
    Stay tuned

    1. Stiggy June 19, 2019

      Rodgers got a new innovative offense like he wanted. I feel like if the offense is any good…he wont need to audible nearly as often. He may have stockholm syndrome when it comes to his former offense.

  3. Mitch Anthony June 18, 2019

    At the recent paint ball / team-building event Aaron Rodgers was heard to say something to the effect of, “Too bad the Summer help went gimpy on us. I was kind of in a John Wick state of mind (but in a paintball way).”

  4. Deepsky June 19, 2019

    Rodgers is always going to think of himself as the smartest football guy in the room. Maybe he is, who knows. Problem is, he doesn’t have many years left to be able to tank entire seasons in order to get the coach fired. I hope LaFleur’s azz kizzing succeeds.

  5. Howard June 19, 2019

    I would expect that a rookie head coach with one only one year of play calling experience and an elite veteran QB would have this type of give and take during the first 90 to 100 days of OTAs. I believe it is called implementing and fine tuning an offense to fit your players abilities. You can guarantee there will be more adjustments as training camp and preseason progresses.
    I hope and expect those adjustments to the offensive system by both QB#1 and LaFleur will continue through out the season and seasons to come.
    This give and take including adjustments during OTAs does not bother me, it should be expected. I would expect that you will also see LaFleur make quicker game to game, and in game adjustments than MM. How LaFleur is going to make the in game series to series offensive adjustments and still pay attention to being the head coach of the entire team during games is one of the things I’m interested in seeing during the preseason games.
    Maybe I just don’t like the guy since the article he produced after the Rams game about Montgomery and the Packers, but I would reduce as much as possible the amount of time I let Michael Silver around the team. This story by Silver is not bad on its own, but it appears to be the setup for a future article by Silver after the first game the Packers offense and Rogers struggles. You can guarantee those offensive struggles will occur and you can guarantee Silver will be there with the big scoop.

    1. Jason Parker June 19, 2019

      There is no doubt in my mind that the first few games at least are going to be a bit of a clusterfuck.

  6. PF4L June 19, 2019

    As usual, Howard steps up with some voice of reason.There will also be adjustments during the season, and next season, and the season after.
    *
    LaFleur doesn’t exactly carry the clout of….this is my way and this is the way we’re going to do it. But he doesn’t need to, nor should he want to. This is a collaboration between Rodgers and LaFleur. Exchanging idea’s and learning from each other with the common goal of creating and implementing a top 5 offense.
    *
    As Howard states….the marriage between Rodgers and LaFleur is on a natural progression of first… getting to know each other. Creating a new offense from scratch with a new team, new QB, with a first year head coach at the helm. So some writers and fans think there might be growing pains? (Well no shit).

    But to think and/or write this early about a demise in this relationship is one step below pathetic. Like seriously pathetic. Like get a life pathetic.

    This is all new, they are teaching, learning, building from the ground up. How about giving them more than a few weeks of voluntary camps and a short mini camp, idk….maybe a padded practice before judging a relationship or someone’s professionalism based on a quote here or there. That seems to be more born out of scorn for someone than anything of substance. Grow up.

    How about……letting them do their jobs, get the offense installed, more importantly getting all the players to understand the new offense, terminology, etc.

    In other words….how about seeing the product on the field in actual games before we start getting into a frenzy and losing our shit over speculation because some writer wants to feed the sheep and publish it to get his name out there.

  7. KILLER June 21, 2019

    This is already hilarious and promises more to come.

    So, no one else had pointed this out, so I will. Rodgers says this is “not like a humblebrag”. He’s right! It isn’t a “humblebrag. It is, in fact, a brag. Nothing humble about it. A humblebrag is a modest or self-deprecating statement meant to draw attention to something someone is actually proud of. He is saying there is something not many people in the league can do but that he can. Zero humble. Pure brag. No modesty. No self-deprecation. All brag.

    So, is Rodgers dumb or does he think (know) Packers fans are dumb? Which is it?

    Did you notice how he followed up his “humblebrag” that is not a humblebrag with listing himself with the best QBs in the league and then finishes off with this incredible little “humblebrag” : “And that’s just the icing on the cake for what I can do in this offense.” How insecure is this guy? The ones who brag are the very most insecure.

    As far as audibles last time I checked, yes, they all happen at the line of scrimmage as Rodgers says and,while Rodgers says not many people can do that, and he is technically right, but as far as QBs pretty much all of them can and do. Quick, give me a list of QBs who can’t and NEVER audible. Wow, that was fast! Of course, with only zero names on the list….

    Rodgers indicates Big Ben can do it but only in the two-minute drills and that Mahomes will be able to do it but, apparently, no one else can. Even though we see and hear them do it every in season Sunday!

    Was Rodgers drunk? Was it a gag? To see who would fall for it?

    What next? Only Rodgers, Brees, and Tommy can throw passes, Peyton used to be able to throw, and Big Ben can throw passes in the two minute offense and Mahomes one day will be able to throw passes?

    1. Deepsky June 22, 2019

      Just a friendly reminder that the Vikings took not one but TWO first round busts in the 2005 NFL draft before the Packers took Rodgers.

    2. PF4L June 22, 2019

      Lol….If you’re going to start reminding The Lonely Boy of all the Queens failures, you have to start long, long before 2005. You might want to start back in the Jimmy Carter administration and work your way to present day.
      *
      The problem isn’t finding material. The problem is finding enough time and give a fuck to document said material.
      *

    3. Cheese June 23, 2019

      Don’t worry, the research has already been done. You just have to fill in the past few years, which have some pretty classic failures in such a short time span.

    4. PF4L June 23, 2019

      Yea…..but knowing how proud The Lonely Boy is about his queens, i’m sure he will come in here defending his team to his death.
      **
      Probably killing us with details about…..Rodgers gayness, and his choice of women, Hammer us with a story or two how he isn’t a good person. Then when he really has Packer Nation against the ropes, he’ll bring out the big guns and tell us for the 42nd time about how McCarthy got a janitor fired.
      *
      Maybe that’s how he came up with his username. You don’t fuck with an assassin. Tread carefully Cheese, don’t make The Lonely Boy angry.

    5. Cheese June 24, 2019

      Lol, good points.

    1. Kato June 24, 2019

      Lol. That’s exactly it though. He was not put in a position to be an overly productive player by the coaching staff. Also keep in mind that he had a shoulder injury that may or may not have limited him last year. I am not overly concerned. He has some weaknesses to his game for sure, but NFL level coaching may bring out his best

  8. PF4L June 24, 2019

    What does the entire entity of the queens franchise and Jared Lorenzen have in common?
    ****
    Nothing….Lorenzen has a Super Bowl ring.

  9. Savage57 June 25, 2019

    One article per week.

    Must have been a little too optimistic putting that acquisition pro forma together for content.

    1. stiggy June 25, 2019

      he said anyone who wants to contribute can. Just send a note and submit an article. Also… its dead season in NFL. only news this time of year typically involves Dallas Cowboy Super bowl rings… (handcuffs if you dont get the joke)

    2. PF4L June 25, 2019

      Batter up Stiggy….You’re up first batting lead-off.
      **
      There is always something to write about Stig. The only confines are a lack of imagination.
      **
      Hell Stig….i’ll even help you out with a Title….”Nowhere To Go But Up”. Not too G D bad, amirite?

  10. Kato June 25, 2019

    The Packers don’t really have much going on. No ongoing contract conversations, which is kind of surprising given Blake Martinez is entering the final year of his contract. Kenny Clark should be considered a priority even though he has a 5th year option. I am guessing that will be a next spring thing.

    Nothing about the Lions TE? I thought it was kind of funny that the organization thought he would pass a physical with them after failing one with the Patriots.

  11. PF4L June 25, 2019

    Again…doesn’t matter what’s going on. Other than you might have to use your mind. I understand it’s harder than regurgitating and switching some words around from another article, but it’s possible.
    **
    You could write about what Favre said about Rodgers at the AM FAM Open. You could write about expectations, or expectations of certain players. You could write about what other ex Packer players are doing, with another team, without a team, looking to be signed? etc. You could write about 1st year expectations, you could compare Pettine’s first year results against Capers first year,.
    You can look ahead at Capers 2nd year results and discuss whether Pettine can match it or come close. You could write about the Browns turnaround with half of the Packers front office. Blah blah blah……plenty
    **
    That’s a couple minutes of idea’s off the top of my head. There is plenty to write about. Yes…..it isn’t as easy as rewriting someone else’s article. But you either do….or don’t do. You are simply just trying to create discussion. Hell…Mordecai did it, anyone can do it.

    1. Stiggy June 25, 2019

      Heres the most packers related news item…

      Bengals first round pick jonah Williams already shelved for the year with….. a torn labrum.

      Will he and rashan Gary be rehabbing together this year? Probably not because the packers will wait till week 8 to ir him with labrum surgery and William’s will be well ahead on his rehab schedule while it costs Gary 2 seasons… season 1 of riding the bench playing 1 armed… and season 2 rehabbing the shoulder.

    2. PF4L June 25, 2019

      Stig is starting to get it. Clearly Rashan Gary’s development will be a top story citing his draft slot while considering the intangibles. I don’t want to neg on him and give him that bad mo jo. But there are a few people who damn well better be right about that pick.

      Worse case scenario….Gary and Spriggs become pretty good friends.

    3. Kato June 26, 2019

      I would rather not read another Mordecai TMZ article

  12. Mike Ditka's Cat June 25, 2019

    You’ll all be begging for McCarthy to come back by week 2, chanting to fire Gute by week 3, demanding Rodgers ask for a trade by week 4 because the Packers are wasting his prime. Admit it, you secretly want the Packers to tank so you can say “AHA!! TOLD YA SO”!!

    1. Cheese June 25, 2019

      Remember when the Packers won the George Halas trophy by beating the Bears in Chicago? I sure do.

  13. PF4L June 27, 2019

    In other News……Pepper Burruss is retiring after 26 years as the Packers Athletic Trainer and a 42 year career in the NFL. He’s stated that when he came aboard in 1992, the Packers training room was two decades behind the times. I doubt any seasoned Packer fan would find that shocking at all. Although i have no first hand knowledge, i’ll assume his retirement is well deserved based on tenure.

    Here’s a fun fact…….Don Nelson (former elite NBA coach including our Milw. Bucks) is currently growing marijuana on fields he owns in Maui. He’s not shy to disclose he tokes it up everyday.

    1. Cheese June 27, 2019

      Burruss said that the training room was two decades behind when he came aboard. I wonder how far behind it is now? Should we take over/under bets?

    2. Mitch Anthony June 27, 2019

      Remember Nellie’s Farm Fund? When he drove around on a tractor raising money for farmers? Kind of around the same time as Farm Aid (mid 80’s).

      New wrinkle, he can now do Nellie’s Hemp Farm Fund. I read where he hangs with Woody Harrelson, Owen Wilson (wow), and Willie. So he needs to farm some cannabis just to keep the company supplied. That and, well, toking up everyday seems to be an NBA thing for many those in the league.

    3. PF4L June 28, 2019

      Dude looks like he’s rough book. but then again….he’s 79.
      **
      https://brobible.com/sports/article/don-nelson-smoking-pot-retirement/

  14. Savage57 June 29, 2019

    Someone forgot to put up the “Sorry, We’re Closed” sign.

  15. PF4L June 29, 2019

    Yea lol…..if anyone is looking for a quiet and peaceful place to die, you’ve found it.
    ***
    Holy shit.

  16. KILLER June 30, 2019

    I come hear to relax and meditate….. ooooom….. oooooom…… ooooooooooom……

  17. KILLER June 30, 2019

    Seriously though, there are starting to be some side effects to this “temporary lane closure”. I hear Piffle actually came up from his basement room and even (gasp) went outside. Only for 29 seconds and he did hiss like a vampire when the sun touched his skin. Still, if this shutdown goes on much longer Piffle may soon spend as much as ten minutes outside at a time, No doubt wearing a sombrero and PF 100 suntan lotion.

  18. KILLER June 30, 2019

    By way of explanation as per the risk factor of Piffle exposed to sunlight:

    For those who don’t know, Piffle believes that the darker your skin the worse you are as a person and even the less human you are. As a result of this misguided belief system handed down from his superstitious ignorant family Piffle stays in his basement entirely out of sunlight (normally) in order to obtain a lovely shade of mushroom white. In this way Piffle hopes to be the best most intelligent person. As you can tell from his comments it has yet to work out that way.

    If Piffle continues to go outside, even just for half a minute or with suntan lotion, he will lose that lovely shade of mushroom and darken. From there, obviously, as his skin darkens he will (he believes) have his meager intelligence drain yet further away. Obviously, if he gets dark enough he will (he believes) ultimately lose his humanity.

    Piffle’s humanity is at stake! Open up this web site!

    1. Ferris June 30, 2019

      Confirmation of how lonely you really are. To keep coming back to this site even when there is nothing to discuss…..except the stupidity of you and your team. Yet you still come back. Get a dog…we all know you can’t get a woman.

  19. PF4L July 1, 2019

    OUCH!! See what i mean Cheese…DON’T make the Lonely Boy angry!
    **
    Not sure i can recover from that verbal scathing…lol

  20. PF4L July 1, 2019

    Nobody, i mean nobody accuses me of wearing a Sombrero.
    That one hurt!!

  21. PF4L September 11, 2019

    .