Welcome to the Wednesday edition of The Cooler, where battles in Green Bay never get old. Let’s get to it:
*The upside for Aaron Rodgers of running an offense that grew increasingly outdated while working for a coach with whom his relationship was reportedly deteriorating was, I suppose, that he had the freedom to do pretty much whatever he wanted on the field.
As things got worse, it apparently only emboldened Rodgers to change even more of former coach Mike McCarthy’s plays at the line of scrimmage.
Sometimes the thing you think is a bug is actually a feature, Aaron.
See, now Rodgers has a bright, young offensive mind in 39-year-old Matt LaFleur as his head coach. LaFleur thinks his offensive system is really good and shouldn’t necessitate the changing of plays. Rodgers thinks he should still have a lot of freedom to audible if he sees a better option. It’s a long way from now until September, but in June this sure seems to be creating some tension across the border.
Per Michael Silver on NFL.com, LaFleur said this recently: “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’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?”
Yes, how do you do that? Well, Rodgers has an idea. Basically: Let me do my thing. Also per the NFL.com story:
“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.”
I have variations on conversations like that pretty much every day with my 5-year-old. In those scenarios, I’m usually LaFleur and Rodgers is the 5-year-old.
In a perfect world for the Packers, the offense will become what both men seem to be hinting at: the best of both worlds, where Rodgers has confidence in the plays being sent in, while LaFleur trusts Rodgers to make infrequent but necessary changes that draw on his experience and elite caliber of play.
In the far-from-perfect world for the Packers, another power struggle emerges — with Rodgers either usurping LaFleur’s authority or playing the role of a system quarterback with half-hearted enthusiasm, and his coach becoming exasperated with either outcome.
*The Lakers are going to have an interesting roster next season, which could very well consist of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and perhaps one more max free agent … and a bunch of minimum salary guys.
*I have no idea if such a thing is searchable, but I have to think it’s pretty rare at least for one guy to have three hits from the eighth inning forward in the same baseball game that either tied or won the game. That was Max Kepler’s night for the Twins on Tuesday.