Aaron Rodgers, 5.23

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Brian Costello, New York Post: What happened that kept you out at practice today?

I just tweaked my calf in the little pre-practice conditioning, so decided to take a vet (veteran) day.


Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Are they going to keep you down awhile?

No, I don’t think it’s too serious.


Dan Leberfeld, Jets Confidential: What are your thoughts on doing those things with the medicine ball and weights and things like that?

I haven’t done it before. I haven’t done it in 18 years, but obviously there’s some science behind it.


Justin Walters, WPIX: What exactly were you doing when you tweaked it?

I don’t know, just running, I guess.


Brian Costello, New York Post: What has the adjustment been like over the last three or four weeks?

It’s been awesome. It’s been a lot of fun. Haven’t been to OTAs in the last couple of years, so it’s been nice to be out here, be in the meetings, speak up about certain things, adjustments in the offense and additional coaching points. Obviously, have a long history with Nathaniel (Hackett), so he gives me a lot of latitude to speak up in meetings and just the opportunity to help out Zach (Wilson) and Tim (Boyle) and Chris (Streveler) in the room is a lot of fun.


Connor Hughes, The Athletic: Speaking up in meetings, is that something you did a lot in Green Bay as well or something you’re doing more of here?

No, I’ve always done that. I don’t know if they’re used to that around here, so just trying to set the standard for really nice open communication in all of those meetings and I think the biggest issue sometimes in the offense is the grey area between the paper football and the actual football, so just trying to bridge the gap between what might say on the overhead slide, but how it actually plays out on the field and then just working in code words and conceptual things for the guys that would be remedial for guys who have been in the offense for three, four, five years, but with the new offense, just some of those things, little cheats in the offense to hit their brain a little bit differently when the play is called thinking about the right stuff.


Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Why was it important for you to do all that? You said you haven’t done OTAs in awhile. Was it just the change or did you want to be here and do everything you’re doing?

Well, I got a great setup out West. I have a great group of trainers, great body work guy, obviously a great setup where I live, super calm and peaceful. When you’re in the same offense for a long time, the offseason is really for the young players, but with a new offense being my first year here I really wanted to be around for at least some of the beginning things to just let them know how I like to do things, like I said, some of the code words, little adjustments, some of the ways I see the game, sparking that conversation. The worst thing you can see in a meeting is a coach up there talking the entire time with no interaction. That might be the standard at some places, but I just never felt that’s been the right way to do things. It needs to be a free-flowing conversation between the coaches and the players, there needs to be feedback, need to call on guys, so I’m allowed to do some of that stuff and I think it’s important so guys are paying attention and they can know at any point that they can get called on to answer a question about something, so just being here with Hackett to help him put the offense in and it’s the same system that we kind of tweaked between 2019-20 and ran in 2020-21 when we had a lot of success, so it’s been fun.


Dianna Russini, ESPN: Since you’re the one setting the standard and the expectations, how do you think it’s been received already?

I think you have to ask the guys, but I feel like it’s been pretty positive, been a lot of good energy around the facility, been fun to interact with these guys and get to know them a little bit, get my number out there, so I’ve been getting text messages from them for meetups and hangouts. Obviously, the first couple of weeks that we were here with all of the New York teams in the playoffs, we got to do a couple of fun things with that.


Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: How has it been getting to work with Nate (Hackett) again?

I love Nate so much. He’s so fun to work with. He has the ability to bring the same type of crazy energy everyday without any stimulants. I don’t think he drinks any coffee, but he’s just the same energetic guy every single day. He’s got a great way of teaching where it is interactive and him and I have spent a lot of time after hours just going back through certain concepts that we like, re-naming a few things, subtle adjustments we might have done that he forgot about and then re-introducing some new concepts that he’s brought back at other places he’s been. He called plays in Jacksonville and Buffalo and obviously worked with not just his dad, but Jon Gruden and some great coaches around the League, so it’s a conglomeration with all of the different things with it based on a west coast offense, so him and I have commonality with the language and stuff, so it’s been great. I love him so much.


Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: We were talking to Robert Saleh before practice and he described you as a kid in an old man’s body just having a blast.

I love working with Robert. It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve had a ton of respect for him over the years, going against him, but I enjoy the way he leads the room and goes about his business in the meetings and like I’ve been telling some people, friends of mine who have asked what it’s like and I really enjoy the freedom of expression that guys are themselves all the time and they enjoy showing their personalities off and he allows for the silliness at times, just the latitude of that personal expression, which is so important to guys feeling comfortable, not too comfortable, which he does a good job of balancing, accountability with the freedom for guys to be themselves, so I appreciate that about Robert and it’s simple, too. This game can get complicated by the gurus who often believe they’ve made up football and there’s a lot of them around the League and they’re all good-hearted people, but at it’s core, this is a simple game and I think Rob does a good job of keeping things simple with us.


Steve Serby, New York Post: Is this rejuvenating for you, this new experience, new challenge?

Yeah, for sure in a lot of ways. It’s fun to get to know new guys and I was just teasing, I didn’t know where the mailroom was and I just walked through the mailroom on the way in here, so just figuring out different places – what this building is all about, meeting new people. Like I said, there’s been a lot of excitement around here and it’s been a lot of fun to be a part of. Obviously, there’s high expectations, which is great. That’s the way you want them, but yeah, I’m definitely rejuvenated. It’s fun being in the quarterback room with young guys and guys that I really love and respect and genuinely want to improve and are eager to learn and listen. This is an offense that I know really well, then you get to work with new guys like Rob (Calabrese) and Todd (Downing) and Keith (Carter) and Taylor (Embree) and Z (Zach Azzanni) and the offensive staff. It’s fun to just have some high level football conversations and for them to have an eagerness to listen to how I see the game. Everything has been a lot of fun. I would like to maybe get out of where I’m living. It’s kind of an extended stay place, maybe feel like home a little bit more, but it’s been a lot of fun.


Connor Hughes, SNY: When you first got here, there were a number of players who talked about when you first arrived there was a star struck kind of mentality like, ‘Wow, this is Aaron Rodgers.’ Aside from giving your number to guys, is there anything you’ve done to kind of show them you’re just one of the guys, you’re another guy on this team?

There’s a lot of different ways you can relate to a teammate. You have certain guys who will come up to you and say something to you and some guys that still look a little timid maybe walking over and saying stuff, but the more you’re around, the more you’re joking with people, I think the more confidence people have to just come over and say hi, speaking their peace. A lot of it is being intentional about those conversations, so going over to one of those guys. The younger generation spends a lot of time on their phone and not as much time actually interacting with people, so you have to be a little more intentional at times with starting conversations up. That’s part of the role of leadership, part of the role of being the old guy in the room and I love that, I love getting to know these guys and where they’re from and what makes them tick because that’s how you understand how to push those buttons and the right way to inspire guys. Motivation, I’ve always felt like, comes from within. You either have self-motivation or you don’t, but inspiration can come from a lot of different places around us. As teammates, we can inspire guys by being intentional with them, let them know you care about them and listening. So, I’ve been trying to find those conversations and get to know guys that way.


Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: Did you have any moment since the Detroit game, so the last month where something clicked where you said, ‘Yes.’ It reaffirmed the decision that you made that you wanted to play and that you wanted to play here?

Honestly, every day has been that for me. Every day I wake up excited about coming to the facility. The commute being two minutes really helps, just rolling out of bed and heading into the facility is nice. I have excitement about coming down Jets Drive. It was surreal, for sure, and strange to look at my locker and see number eight and be rocking Jets gear, it’s a little bit strange, for sure. Every day there’s been something that’s kind of been a special sign or just a cool moment that reminds me I’m in the right place.


Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: What did it mean to see Randall (Cobb) joining you here?

I love Randall. I’m the Godfather to his second. Him and Aiyda have been really special in my life for a long time. Love them, glad he’s here. I still feel like he’s got a lot left in the tank. He’s dealt with some injuries the last couple years, but obviously Joe (Douglas) and his staff really value his character. When you look at the signings they’ve made this offseason, the kind of guys they’ve drafted, they’re high character guys. I think there’s something to that. A lot of times, some of the old guys get kicked to the curb. Quarterbacks have the benefit of not getting touched in the same way, so we often can last a lot longer, but there’s a lot of position groups that kind of get kicked to the curb at some point. I think as long as you can still offer something physically, the character always has to be factored in. There’s that chemistry and winning with good people that’s been a big part of this game and I’ve always believed in. I’m glad he’s here, I’m obviously glad Billy is here, another high character guy. So, I’m just thankful for Joe and Rob and how they’ve worked together and set the framework of this team.


Andy Vasquez, NJ Advance Media: What has it been like getting to know New Jersey and how has it compared to your expectations?

I’ll be honest, the only Jersey I knew about besides Teterboro was Jersey Shore. I was assured that was not a proper representation of this great state. I’ve had a good time. Everybody has been great. When I’ve seen people out and about, they’re all really kind and enjoyed stopping and talking and pictures and whatever they need. It’s been cool just to be out and about a little bit. Obviously, you have the city close by. With the team being in Long Island for so long, there’s so many New Yorkers who are tremendous fans. I’ve heard from some of them and the media who are outspoken about their fandom and just the guy or gal on the street, the interactions have been really cool. It’s been like a dream month so far.


Connor Hughes, SNY: You’re not a fan of Snooki?

No, I’m not saying I’m not a fan. That was just the only lens I saw Jersey through. I was walking out to practice today and the media are here always doing little videos and different things and the video was, ‘Do your best Jersey Shore impression,’ and I just kind of laughed to it. C.J. Uzomah was walking next to me and he said he’s never watched the show and I said, ‘How can you not watch the show? That’s one of the greatest shows back when MTV used to actually have content on it.’ It’s phenomenal. I’m a fan of all of them. I actually went to Pauly D’s set back in Vegas back when I used to go there a few times a year back in 2011 or something.


Ian O’Connor, Harper Collins: Aaron, over the course of your career, I think 13 times you’ve made at least 15 starts. Is that one of the best achievements in your career, that you’ve been that available to your teammates and played through injuries the way you have?

Yeah, that’s always been something I’ve tried to pride myself on. It’s a different feel, I think the interaction with the training room over the years. When I first got in the League there was, obviously, no where near the concussion understanding or treatment or protocol as we have now. There would be times where guys would maybe get dinged up and go back in. There would be other injuries where guys would just play through it. There was this idea of callus that some coaches still talk about. We obviously practiced differently, we had double days back then. With some unfortunate things that happened, they cut that back to the two and the one and then obviously it’s been much curtailed from that point. I’ve always wanted to be on the field and always had a really good relationship with the trainers, but not good enough on their side where they can tell me not to play because my answer was I’m always going to try to get on the field. I always felt like if my 80% was better than the guy behind me then I should be on the field. I always thought that was a good barometer for every player. There seems to be, in more recent years, some guys looking to be told not to play. My stance has always been, ‘I’m going to tell the trainers when I’m going to play.’


Justin Walters, WPIX: C.J. (Uzomah) had mentioned during yesterday’s practice, there was a moment where the defense was getting the best of the offense and you gave a pep talk. Did you feel that was necessary to check everybody, set the tone, provide accountability?

It’s a time and a place thing, I’m not a big rah-rah type of guy, but I think there’s times you need to speak up and reframe situations. The thing I do stress with those guys and did yesterday was that we need to be intentional and you can’t just come out here, in anything you do, whether it’s a meeting, workout or a practice, especially you can’t come out there and go through the motions and check a box and be so worried about doing something the right way that you turn your brain off and become a robot out there. Everything we do needs to have a purpose and an intention. The attention to detail yesterday was not good enough with the fundamental things, the finish and the ball security, which are two of the most important things in our game. Ball security being number one. I felt like we were really loose with the football at times and then the finish was not quite there. The teams I’ve been on have had some incredible guys who would set the standard. I remember Ryan Grant back in the late 2000s having a specific way he would practice. He would finish every run to the end zone. What it did was set the standard for the rest of the team, so everybody else was saying, ‘This is how we practice.’ Jordy Nelson saw that in 2008 and he became that guy where every time he would catch a pass, he would finish in the end zone. Sometimes he would be running 60 yards, but it was just the standard that he set. Like I was telling the young guys yesterday, I said, “The only way you’re going to make this team is if you show up every single day. How you’re going to do that, you’re going to pop off the film by, one easy thing you can do is finish.” So, every time they turn on the film they say, ‘Oh look at this guy. Every single rep he takes he finishes.’ When you do that, and then you get called out in the meeting as a positive, then what does that do? That makes everybody else in your position group and on your side of the ball go, ‘Oh, I’m going to do that because I want to get called out in front of the team as doing something the right way.’ So, it’s just kind of refocusing some of the little things we do at practice, so it looks the right way because we need to practice the way we play in the game. So, I thought it was important.