Aaron Rodgers, 8.16
Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: It seemed like there was a lot of pressure today up front, how do you feel about where things are at right now.
Pressure? I thought we played a lot better up front today. Sorry I cut you off, go ahead, what’s your question?
Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: Where is the o-line at right now?
Well, we’re still missing Duane (Brown), obviously Laken (Tomlinson) didn’t practice today. We had Joe (Tippmann) doing some center stuff yesterday, so it’s a work in progress. I feel like it was Rich (Cimini) maybe asked a question about the continuity of the guys playing together, and I was thinking maybe we’d start to figure some stuff out. Obviously, it hasn’t happened yet. There are jobs up for grabs, so that’s the beauty of camp, but also the struggle. In talking with, a couple of guys, we just need some continuity, I think at some point so guys can feel comfortable playing together. Maybe that’s the end of next week, maybe it’s the week that we have in between the season and the last preseason game, but jobs are up for grabs.
Antwan Staley, New York Daily News: What do you feel like you have seen since now? I mean, just in general, not just the offensive line, but the offense in general?
Well, I think the two main times we practiced, just looking at those two – Carolina and then today, 17 being out there just changes the dynamics of the whole thing because he’s so special, and he obviously had a real good day today. I thought we did some good things. We missed some real easy, easy stuff in the protection, which is stuff we have to clean up, but I think we battled better. Now there were testy moments, but we didn’t back down. Our guys were protecting each other and sticking up for each other, I thought that was good. I thought we made some plays down the field, 17 again had a lot of nice plays, nice one to Cobby (Randall Cobb) in the two minutes, but I felt like we competed better than we did against Carolina.
Connor Hughes, SNY: You talk about the offensive line chemistry, in what ways, because I feel like a lot of people say that all the time, but in what ways specifically do you see the benefits of that on the field?
We have to get to a level of communication in practice, where we can get in a game situation and guys have the unspoken communication next to each other. Some of that stuff, if you play next to a guy forever, obviously, you don’t need to say a whole lot most of the time, but we don’t have that luxury, so we have to get all the communication dialed in now because there’s going to be some tough environments that we play in throughout the season. Where you are not going to be able to have the ability to hear everybody, so they’re going to have to understand playing next to each other. We have been moving tackles side to side, maybe some of that will start to level out a little bit. Just because we need our guys to play next to each other, obviously, look at today. I didn’t mention AVT (Alijah Vera-Tucker), he hasn’t been out there, Laken wasn’t out there, Duane, we’re hoping for at some point. Joe was playing left guard and hasn’t taken a whole lot of left guard reps I don’t think the entire camp, so it’s good for him, especially against that front, it’s a good front, but at some point, Rich you’re right, we need to figure some things out, so we can get guys to at least get a week or two playing next to each other.
Rich Cimini, EPSN.com: What are your thoughts on now that Dalvin (Cook) is official, getting him in? What ways do you think he can help the offense?
Well, as opposed to maybe when I first got into the League, we had Ahman Green and Ahman was a 400 carry a year guy. Now around the League there’s just not many of those guys, everybody has a one-two punch. Breece (Hall) obviously, is coming off a great start to the year and then he hurt himself, he’s a special player. I’ve been teasing him about when he’s going to practice, but he looks really, really good and it’s good to see him out there. Dalvin has done it for a long time at a really high level. Unfortunately, running backs are not valued anywhere near where they were when I got into League, maybe not even five years ago, which is a shame because you have to run the ball to win in this League. When a team becomes one dimensional, that’s when defenses usually have the upper hand, so we need to multiple guys to get it done. Dalvin has got it done for a long time at a high level, he’s motivated, he wants to win a championship. Obviously, he made it well known to me during the process he wanted to play with me and play here, in Jersey, so we’re excited to have him, excited to get him in here. He’s got a little one on the way, so I don’t think he will be with us maybe until next week. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to say that? I can say that? Okay.
Rich Cimini, EPSN.com: Did it require some recruiting on your part?
Honestly, not much. He wanted to be here. Listen, there’s always the money component, which it’s a business I respect it and he was going to look into the opportunities, but at the end of the day, if the money was close, he was telling me that he was going to be here.
Ryan Dunleavy, New York Post: What about the other side of that, the recruiting? How much do you think your input convinced the Jets to sign him?
I don’t think I needed to have a lot of input. They were interested, he was interested. Not that I needed to sign off on it, but I was interested. I’ve seen him firsthand for a number of years in the North, so adding another great player to a football team is always a good thing.
Bruce Beck, WNBC: You called Garrett (Wilson) special, he said some flattering things about you today, just wondering how your relationship has evolved and what makes him special?
Well, the talent is really impressive. He makes difficult things look easy and it’s the person that he is too. Receivers are an interesting personality. They are usually the most talented guys on the team, athletically, everybody wants the football, everybody wants to be on the field, everybody thinks they’re open all the time. I’ve had some great ones over the years who are great people as well and he’s one of those guys, he’s a great person. The talent is there, it’s just the communication now, the nonverbal stuff that is starting to come. We had a mishap in the two minute today, which is a good learning experience, but we haven’t made the same mistake twice, which is great. He’s so eager to learn and he’s so talented with the football. I told him I used to have a rule with Davante (Adams) where I’d give Davante a little extra tick because I know if I did that, he’s going to get open, because he is really difficult to cover. I have to give that to Garrett too, because sometimes you give him just a little extra tick, where you’re sitting on him, he’s going to be really open. That’s what he’s earned by his performance in camp and like I said, the biggest difference between going against Carolina and Tampa was him being on field.
Al Iannazzone, Newsday: Offenses always talk about how everybody wants the ball. That is something obviously you have been very good at. You have to make sure everybody is happy, if they’re not, they understand that you’re going to the right person at the right time. How have you been able to manage that?
I tell them the same thing I tell you guys, I throw to the open guy and some guys get open more than other guys do, but I like matchups and percentages and in the end, I’m going to work to the matchup I think is best, to this spot I think is best, then go through my progressions. Every now and then there is a really special somebody running a certain route that you might give us an extra look to, but that’s why this offense has worked over the years because it’s a progression offense about timing, rhythm, balance and space. When it’s going good, everybody is going to be getting opportunities. Obviously, your number one might get a few more than the other guys, but whoever is open is going to get a look.
Steve Serby, New York Post: Aaron, what’s your level of concern with getting this offensive line as cohesive as you need it to be for Week One?
Pretty low. I don’t have a lot of stress, not concerned about things. There are some things that are totally out of my control. Some things I have an input on. Who’s playing left and right tackle every day, I don’t have input on at this point. Don’t have control, so I’m just trying to be consistent those guys with holding them accountable and test them every single day with cadence, with calls, with adjustments, and just the normal stuff we’re going to be doing. Guys that can handle it are going to be in there. Guys that can’t, aren’t, but I have no control over who’s going to be out there with me on a day-to-day basis. I was as surprised as I think Connor (McGovern) was to start practice yesterday with Joe in there, so whoever is in there, we’ll make it work, but at some point, we’re going to have to figure out who those five are and give us at least a week to get used to each other.
Charles McDonald, Yahoo: Going back to Garrett Wilson, he said that you guys are progressing on non-verbal ques. What does that entail?
Just kind of looking at him and then maybe nodding to him and then he knows what I’m thinking, but yeah, we’re going to get to a lot of stuff. We sit next to each other in meetings, there is a lot of conversation around a lot of the ideas that we both have. He’s a creative guy as well and he’s got a lot of ideas about certain ways to run routes and we’re just trying to get on the same page and he’s so talented. I was never worried about getting on the same page and it’s really me just giving him a little extra time to work sometimes.
Jori Epstein, Yahoo: Aaron, at the beginning of training camp, you mentioned those Zooms you were on in 2020. I think it was you, (Nathaniel) Hackett, maybe Luke (Getsy) and Matt (LaFleur) sort of thinking through the offense. Can you talk a little bit more about how those influenced the way you’re playing now and also just the way you view the offense relative to other ways you have prepared in your career?
Yeah, that might have got me in trouble because I enjoyed being in Malibu so much in the offseason that I didn’t really want to leave. Yeah, those are good conversations, a lot of high-level football stuff and people bring in their old scars and wounds to the table and talking about plays they like and didn’t like and reasons why. And in the end, we put together stuff that we liked, that we felt like could work and it just kept whittling it down over the entire year. For me, that year, I went back and looked at some old film of stuff I was doing back when I was a younger player and picked up a few fundamental things that I tried to focus on during training camp, which I felt helped me have a really good season. The other part is after I hurt my knee in (20)18, I kind of rededicating myself to squatting in the weight room. I think has made a big impact on being able to still move around and use my lower half to throw the way I throw it.
Connor Hughes, SNY: You kind of mentioned about the mouths to feed and the open guys are going to get the ball, but is there a certain trait that you look for in a locker room or within players to know that everyone’s going to be signed on and be buying into that plan and you’re not going to have the squeaky wheel, if you will, if the target isn’t going that way?
Yeah, body language. You can see it. How a guy responds when he’s open and doesn’t get the football says a lot about whether you got to worry about him or not because you’re not going to see everything and standing back, I always call it the sideline quarterbacks in practice who are saying, “Ooh, ooh,” back behind you telling you to throw the ball to a certain spot. It’s different when you’re actually pulling the trigger. Receivers can’t see what we see, can’t see the rush, so you’re going to miss some guys that are open sometimes, hopefully not too many times. How do they respond in those situations? And then understand that on the flip side of that, how are you going to respond to a guy who drops the ball or misses a route or adjustment or something, I think is very important with the relationship between that individual person. Each guy needs to be coached differently and probably talked to differently. Some guys you can hold really accountable and be very direct with them. Some guys you got to be a little softer with until they figure out your personality and you mesh your friendship with that person. That’s what the friendship part and the chemistry part is all about. It’s how can I best inspire this person, reach this person, connect with this person? Because that’s the main goal is to be able to have that relationship where you feel close enough that you can have difficult conversations with and understand how to actually get to that person instead of upset them, trigger them or doing something that’s going to put a rift in the relationship.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Aaron, one of the things we have consistently heard from guys since you got here is how different you are than how you are perceived. Curious, do you have any theories of kind of how that public perception got off track at some point for those of us who haven’t been around you in Green Bay that whole time?
I do have a lot of theories, but I’m not going to share them at this point. I’m thankful for all those kind words that my teammates have had. I’m just trying to be authentically myself and hopefully, taking guys in the right spots and they are feeling good about how much I care about being here and how much I value the leadership role. Change is a part of life and embracing that change has been really important for me to feel comfortable here, but I’m just trying to be the best version of myself. I made a lot of mistakes over the years to try and learn from those and do a little bit better this time.
Kimberly Martin, EPSN: I just want to go back to when you were talking about the low concern with the offensive line. Is that because it’s still August, or is that because you’ve been in the League a long time and maybe you’ve seen it take some time in that experience?
Both, good question. Yeah, it’s August 16th, I believe, so we got some time. Also, it’s coming up. So again, I don’t get concerned heavily about things that I don’t have a huge role in yet. Now that might change at some point. I might say, “Hey, I need the five who are going to be in there, to be in there with me for a solid week,” but I don’t think we’re at that point yet because I don’t think there’s five guys that have earned those spots and also AVT (Alijah Vera-Tucker) hasn’t practiced, Laken (Thomlinson) missed today, DB (Duane Brown) is not back yet. So, I’m going to have some patience with that and also trying to encourage and inspire those guys who are fighting for jobs to keep showing up every day because every day somebody notches up, somebody goes down and that’s the beauty in training camp and position battles.